My name is Melissa Russell and I am a Doula, Childbirth Educator and mother of two daughters. My journey in to the world of birth work began when I was pregnant with my first child. My Obstetrician owned and operated the Hawthorn Birth Centre, one the last freestanding birth centres in Melbourne (sadly this has since closed on his retirement). At the time the building was shared by the International College of Spiritual Midwifery (ICSM), and on the way through the building to visit my Obstetrican, I would stop by the ICSM and pick up a few pamphlets. After a few months, I noticed I had a pile of pamplets that were all the same; they were the pamphlets describing how to become a Doula. My journey to become a Doula had begun! It was many years before I decided to attend Doula training with Dial a Doula (a part if ICSM). I supported my sister during her birth, trained as a Breastfeeding Counsellor with the Australian Breastfeeding Association and when my babies were starting to be more independant children, it was time for me to follow my passion which had been growing over so many years.
The way in which I support women depends on their unique situation;
I believe pregnancy and birth is an intense, powerful and unique experience to every woman.
I am passionate about every mother finding her own path. Being provided with good information; having your choices respected and feeling confident in your body and the process of birth are ways to guide and navigate this process. I have an innate trust in birth and understand that your individual journey is the right one for you.
The relationship you have with me, as your Doula, is the foundation of my support. I focus on what is most important to you. As a Doula I aspire to journey with you throughout your pregnancy and birthing experiences; to be guided by you, to listen to you, to respect you and nurture you - whatever your birth choices and however your unique journey unfolds. Drawing on my knowledge and experience about the process of birth and how the maternity system works, I endeavour to 'hold the space' in your chosen birth place, to create a safe and gentle environment for you to birth your baby, and in doing so open a pathway for you to discover your own birthing power.
We want to acknowledge you and your support as a VERY special and important part of such a precious experience. You truly have been blessed with a unique gift.
Diploma of Childbirth Education (Childbirth International 2015) Certificate in Birth Hypnosis Basics (Opening To Life 2012) Practicing Doula (Dial a Doula 2009) Certificate IV Breastfeeding Education - Counselling (Australian Breastfeeding Association 2009) First Degree Reiki (Usui System of Natural Healing 2008) Bachelor of Social Work (RMIT 1996) Current Working With Children Check
As an experienced Doula, I have attended births in hospitals, birth centres and at home. I have supported women in waterbirth, lotus birth, hypno birth, VBAC and VBA2C, caesearen, assisted delivery, women using pain relief and normal physiological birth. All births are unique and special!
"There is a secret in our culture - it is not that birth is birth is painful. it's that women are strong" - Laura Stavoe Harm