My doula journey

My life as an expat-nomad has helped me grow through diverse experiences, improving my personal confidence and capacity to adapt, make new friends, settle our family and build a strong sense of community. I love connecting with people and helping people to connect with others in a positive and mutually nourishing way!

I am especially thankful for a very close friend I've known since school, who has always been an inspiration to me. Funnily, she has lived the life I've gone on to live, after birthing and raising children in different countries, she became a doula and went on to become a community midwife in London. During my first pregnancy she lent me huge bags full of her favourite books related to pregnancy, midwifery, doulas and breastfeeding (which I devoured!). She then booked a flight to be my doula for my first baby, arriving the day he was born and staying for the first 5 days.

I don't think I will ever fully appreciate the long term difference she made by simply being with me. I am, however, eternally grateful: I feel blessed by her wonderful doula magic and have become inspired to carry her doula flame. She has been one of my lighthouses guiding me through periods of my life, and, was the one who subtly dropped me the hint that I too have the makings of being a doula!

My journey through parenthood is proving as fascinating as it is enriching and challenging and I feel lucky to have the unconditional support from friends, doulas and people from all around the world.

A decade later, my doula dream has become a calling, my calling is patiently becoming a reality. I feel it has become a kind of destiny, a part of the whole that is me and I'm humbled to be travelling on this journey with so much to learn and so many amazing people to be inspired by!

One of the key things that motherhood has helped is to empower me: to learn to be gently assertive, open-hearted, to know myself and acknowledge mine and others' imperfections  - learnings quite often acquired through all the times 'mistakes' have been made - true listening is very humbling!

I care about people and believe everyone should be treated with respect and humanity. I think this feeling of being deeply cared for during pregnancy, birth and post-partum is key to how you feel about your experience and in turn how your baby will experience its welcome to the world and the start of your new life-long adventure together. A sense of safety and trust nurtures in you the peace of mind and self-confidence your body needs, easing the way for a potentially fulfilling and positive experience.

As now I have finally come 'home' near Basel, to the place my children were born, with patience and time new beautiful beginnings are arising.

I am fluent in French and Spanish and speak some German.
I am available to assist refugee women on a pro bono basis.

Fundamentally, I believe the language of kindness transcends all!

I also believe that energy is an important force within and between all things and practice Qi Gong and Tai Chi... I feel the sense of grounding and channeling energy through meditative breath and movement has close connections with the birthing experience and can help create calming co-regulation patterns.

I feel immensely privileged and honoured by the encouragement of friends, doulas and women who share their belief that I have the essential qualities of a doula, that reassure me that as a volunteer I already 'doula the doulas', and I look forward to living up to their, and your, expectations. 

I am here, you are welcome to contact me!

I won't tell you about my own births here: my story is mine, and your story is yours, but if we meet I can share and I will invite you to share, if you wish. Story-telling is, after all, a key part of cultural transmission. Positive birth stories can be really very compelling, especially as in wider society the way birth is shown does not show all its wondrous possibilities of birth... 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 birth may be rare, it certainly exists!

Debbie Mitchell

Doula-related activities

I attended my first birth in 2019 in a highly privileged 'double-doula' scenario with my doula 'marraine' ('god'mother), Špela Peternel. I also found myself captivated during her childbirth education classes which I attended following the DONA International Doula and Breastfeeding workshops, held in person with advanced doula trainer and DONA President, Elena Carillo.

Since 2020, during these challenging years of upheaval and change, I have dedicated a lot of my time to supporting the European Doula Network as an active Friend and Volunteer and one of three Core-Organisers. 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.

Now as war and an enormous refugee crisis has hit Ukraine and Europe, I am doing everything possible to share information to help Ukrainian doulas, some of whom I now feel closely connected with. The Doula Solidarity and Support hub I co-created allows 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.

During recent years I have participated in training in Dreambirth and Hypnobirthing, which feed my belief that we are stronger when our mind and body get the opportunity to experience the sensation of being one.

I have working on 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 as a Thana Doula (End of Life/Death Doula).


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 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


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