I won't tell you about my own births: my story is mine, and your story is yours. Positive birth stories can be very compelling, especially when in our wider society the way birth is shown does not honour all the wondrous possibilities... Like many major experiences in life, I happened to find my pregnancies and births had their unique challenges and joys!

All life lies on a spectrum of possibility and although
orgasmic births may be rare, it certainly exists! Like climbing a mountain, you will work hard both physically, mentally and emotionally, but when you feel safe, with reassuring company around you and that your decision-making is fully supported, the sense of achievement can be immense, whatever route you take!

Debbie Mitchell

Kind words of clients, friends and colleagues...

"We would give 10 stars if google allowed us. ;) Debbie was the best thing that happened to us for our baby girl's birth! She held the space for all emotions, had great resources at hand, gave herself fully to support. My husband and I are both so glad we had her there with us. Thanks to her we look back with a smile and pride how we managed to overcome fears and actually "enjoy" the day our little nugget came to the world. Don't hesitate to ask her for yours!😉"

Janine & Val Erb

"Debbie was such a great help when I was expecting my first baby, I would recommend her my eyes closed and wish she had lived closer when I had my second baby! She was so supportive and helpful, and after meeting her I was so much less stressed about birth ❤️ she also took really good care of me after baby was born, a real gem 💎"

"She's a wonderful person and I am so lucky I met her, she was a great support before and after baby was born."

Elisabeth Grimsø Boisson

Debbie has been so helpful and supportive throughout my pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum journey. Four years ago I was suffering from recurrent pregnancy loss and Debbie was there to listen to me and help me work through my feelings. Then during my first full term pregnancy she helped me find the confidence to believe in myself and enjoy my pregnancy. She helped me when preparing to give birth and in the postpartum period, and was there for me again during my next pregnancy. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend Debbie to anyone looking for a doula to help them navigate this special but often nerve wracking experience.

Katherine Feignier

"What I appreciate about Debbie is that she is absolutely open minded and knows that there is not the one and only way. And this is from my experience the most important thing when you give birth and start being a family: Listen to your own needs and have someone by your side who helps you finding your own individual way, someone who shows you alternatives and not only gives mainstream “solutions”, someone who listens well and will support you no matter which way you pick, someone who will never judge about the decision you made. This someone is Debbie, especially because she went through all of this herself and knows about this tricky feeling of uncertainty when it comes to pregnancy and babies (even more when you are an expat far away from home and family support)."

Anne-Kathrin Veltin

"I think that Debbie would be a wonderful doula because of her great ability to develop empathy for others, because when she starts something, she invests her entire self - soul, mind and body. 
 Debbie is a people person and she has the rare ability to want to make the world a better place. I know how much she wanted to be a doula and how enthusiastic she was about getting trained.
 I know that anyone having Debbie close when bringing a new life in the world would benefit of her positive energy and her desire to help."

Donatela Cazanacli

"I can't think of anyone who would make a better doula than Debbie. She is a caring, kind and supportive and is extremely open minded and non-judgmental, which is important when it comes to supporting mothers-to-be. She will respect your choices and support you in the best possible way that is right for you. 
 Debbie is a natural fit for this job and is a wonderful gift to the expectant mothers in need of encouragement and guidance." 

Olesya Akhavan-Malayeri

"Debbie is calm, positive and warm and her great drive and determination are all the qualities that will make her a great doula."

Špela Peternel, 

DONA Advanced Doula Trainer

"I can attest to Debbie‘s character that she is a thoroughly genuine and loyal individual. She has a good sense of humour and is a wonderful mother to her two children. I think she will make a great doula not only because she is a supportive friend but also because she is open both to the sensible and the spiritual! She breastfed her children for many years a sacrifice which I admire particularly as I never could imagine breastfeeding for more than 6 months! I think that her support for expecting mothers and fathers in preparing for their baby’s birth would be invaluable."

Penelope Wallenstein

My doula journey

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I'm always working on something and coming up with ideas. I feel that a sense of being in a community is one of the most important parts of life, to develop our sense of belonging and interconnectedness.

I have found an international home as both a Friend and volunteer within the European Doula Network. I am blessed with the privilege of working with many doula pioneers from many countries. I am one of three Core-Organisers, with a number of roles and projects in motion: from supporting refugees to connecting with international organisations of doulas, midwives and doctors.

In my year in the Paris region, I connected with a flourishing local doula community and also attended the Ethics and Positioning training of Doulas de France.

In Versailles I formed and facilitated The Positive Birth Movement group, which met every month to chat about birth. These woman-to-woman peer groups encourage open and non-judgemental discussion focusing on various birthing topics. I also supported a number of pregnant friends who found themselves navigating pregnancy, birth and the post-partum period during the pandemic. This included setting up 'Meal Trains' where local community members cooked and delivered food in the post partum period or during illness.

I have been heavily involved in developing the EDN's Doula Solidarity and Support initiative to help support doulas supporting refugee women, a cause I feel deeply about. I am available to offer pro bono support.

Now I am settled in the Basel region I have been reconnecting with friends and contacts within the birth world: La League de la Leche, Mignon and Magical Café.

Doula-related activities

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I attended my first birth in 2019 in an amazing and rare 'double-doula' scenario with my doula 'marraine' ('god'mother), Dr Špela Peternel (PhD Biomedecine, DONA Advanced Trainer). The hospital was keen to encourage more doulas becoming active through the mentorship of a highly skilled and experienced doula. I found myself captivated during her childbirth education classes, which I attended following the DONA International Doula and Breastfeeding workshops, held in person with Elena Carillo, DONA Advanced Trainer.

Since 2020, during these challenging pandemic years of upheaval and change, I have dedicated a lot of my time to supporting the European Doula Network as an a Friend and Volunteer and now treasurer and one of three Core-Organisers with a number of roles to juggle. I feel blessed to work with amazing doulas, many of whom are pioneer doulas and doula-trainers in their own countries.

In 2020, for World Doula Week, I teamed up with Anita Budak to create and launch the first EDN Doula Survey which had over 600 responses from 21 countries. Summer 2020, in a team of 5 volunteer doulas we created and organised the first EDN Online Conference in September, inviting speakers on key doula topics including racism, disability, refugees, death, doula care and much more.  I am now working with Špela Peternel on the results of our second EDN Doula Survey, which also counts responses from over 600 doulas.

In 2022 I created an EDN focus group committed to doing everything possible to share information to help Ukrainian doulas, some of whom I feel very closely connected with. The Doula Solidarity and Support hub I co-created with Ukrainian doulas helps facilitate local and Ukrainain doula support for refugees located in countries all across Europe. Resources are shared and accessible in the language of the country as well as other languages used by refugees to help doulas and birth workers best support vulnerable mothers-to-be and new mothers.

In 2023 I lead an EDN focus group with the goal of promoting doulas at a global level with doctors and midwives. This project brought around a wonderful collaboration between international doula organisations from Europe and both North and South America: ICEA, DONA International and Red Mundial de Doulas. I was honoured to be co-hosting at the three doula tables at the FIGO Doctor's World Congress in Paris in October 2023 and then taking part in the International Childbirth Initiative sessions. In the same week EDN colleagues were promoting Midwife:Doula relations at Midwifery Today, Badwild Bad, Germany.

I am in regular contact with doulas in France (Grand Est and Yvelines), Germany (Black Forest) and Switzerland (North-West). I am a member of Doula Netzwerk Schweiz. Connecting with other doulas is so important - we learn so much form each other and about ourselves when we come together! Our communal energy helps us provide the best support possible for each other and for the people we care for.

During recent years I have participated in Dreambirth and Hypnobirthing training, as I genuinely believe that there is a power in the harmony created when our mind and body get the opportunity to experience the sadly rare sensation of being one.

I have been working on deepening my understanding and self-awareness through the 'Resiliency for Birthworkers' course and continue to improve my knowledge and practice of using the rebozo through further training. Breastfeeding is an area I have gained personal experience over many years and I am fascinated by learning the latest developments in the study of the infant microbiome. I practice Qi Gong and feel particularly drawn to the sense of calmness and vivid energy this creates. 
I am curious about future training in trauma-informed care and as a Thana Doula (End of Life/Death Doula), being a doula will always be a life-long journey of discovery!

I am certified as a doula with Nurturing Birth.

Doulaing Together

Lara Gomez, my dear friend and doula back up 'buddy' in Basel. 
Here she's demonstrating rebozo techniques on me.

We meet and chat regularly with doulas in Basel and the NW Switzerland region. 
It's a wonderful opportunity to share, connect and learn from each other.

This is the heart of my doula community, I'm blessed to have many inspirational international doulas to share my journey with, many who have kindly mentored me along the way!

Extract of words I wrote and presented during the EDN Madrid conference on Saturday 30th September 2023

The full version is available here in:

When people are in danger, women are in danger, 
when women are in danger, families are in danger, 
when families are in danger, children and babies are in danger.

Where society is fractured, social connections are fractured, people are fearful and when people are fearful they do not thrive. Often, in their desire to survive, they may find it hard to be kind.

Even if we feel we cannot change the world, we can change ourselves, the kindness we send ourselves, we can send to others and kindness has the power to change the world of another individual:

to feel cared for, 
to feel respected, 
to feel safe enough to heal, 
to feel safe enough to trust, 
to feel safe enough to trust yourself and to trust others.

We may all speak other languages, but we can all speak the one language of loving kindness.

We are all one
European Doulas, Global Doulas
Connecting, Supporting, Informing

Sometimes we heal, sometimes we need healing
Sometimes we love, sometimes we need loving.
We are all one.

International doulas represented by EDN, DONA and ICEA in support of the International Childbirth Initiative at
FIGO XXIV World Congress of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Paris 2023.

You can read all about it in
Doula International

Volunteer and Friend

European Doula Network