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I've been feeling quite tense this pregnancy, and I knew a lot of it had to do with the fact that both Keith and I took a massive and fundamental knock to our confidence as a result of Alfie's birth which we were now being forced to examine.

We had a row the other day because he made what to him was just a throwaway comment about having to deal with bottle feeding again and what I heard was "you're going to fail as a breast feeder". The only miracle is that we both came out of that particular conversation alive.

So I'm going to let you imagine what I felt like when I drove home from meeting up with Mel knowing she had agreed to be my Doula. No, you can't imagine, you just have no concept of the palpable weight I felt rolling off my shoulders as I started the car and drove home. I was very close to bursting into tears from the sheer and utter relief of having had such an amazing chat with someone who just seemed to be reading my secret mental checklist of what the perfect birth partner should be and then actually agreeing to be that birth partner for me!!

I knew Mel from the NCT anyway, because she is one of our recent volunteers, but I hadn't had a chance to really chat to her alone until now. We talked about our recent births, about the pressures of modern birth practices and the work that a Doula can do to help protect the birth experience for parents. Just hearing Mel talk was like a teeny tiny gaggle of cheerleaders going off in my head because here, finally was someone who I knew was on our side one MILLION percent and who was committed to making this birth a success.

The only way I can describe how I feel right now? I just pulled the ripcord and my parachute opened.

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