Photo of Kristal with slingMy name is Kristal Rees and I am a wife and a mother of two beautiful sons born in 2011 and 2013.

I graduated from nursing school in 2004 in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada (to celebrate I travelled in Europe and met my British husband hence the move to the UK!). After nursing school I worked on a surgical ward in my hometown before moving to the UK where I worked on a general ward at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford. From here I made my much anticipated move to community working. I worked as a staff nurse within a health visitors office in Oxford before moving back to Vancouver where I worked as a public health nurse for families with children aged 0-5. Now that I am back in the UK I felt like it was time to make a change.

Why make a change now? I have had wonderful opportunities to meet and talk with lots of mothers and their families and to hear of their experiences in childbirth, labour and in the time after the baby is born. Some of these stories made me smile and laugh, some made me cry, but too often it seemed as though the families did not have the support they were expecting. I know, it always seems as though the negative stories stick in your heads more than the positive ones (which is why I am so happy to hear when people are not afraid to share their positive story) but it made me anxious when it came to preparing for my own labour.

To make a long story short, for my own personal pregnancy and birth journeys, I had a supportive team and an amazing husband by my side in a situation where I could ask questions and feel safe and secure leading me to have experiences I am proud of.

After the birth of my first son, I felt like if I was to leave him to go to work it would have to be for something that I am passionate about, so I made a leap of faith to leave nursing behind to become a doula. I am excited to meet with mothers-to-be and their families before the baby arrives to help them have the best birth experience possible, or more importantly, to help them have the birth experience they want. I am excited to be able to help from early on to give the guidance, support, information, or listening ear that a woman may need as she goes through pregnancy.

Photo of Kristal at her niece's birthFirst and foremost, I believe every woman should have the opportunity to have the birth she wants, no matter what that choice is. I also believe that a woman has the right to choose how to feed her baby, and I am happy to help a woman find the breastfeeding resources that she may need to successfully breastfeed, be it for a day or for a year or more or to help her formula feed in a safe way. I have completed a UNICEF course in breastfeeding management and am happy to follow the guidelines of The Baby Friendly Initiative.

Needless to say, being a doula is something that I am passionate about. I am looking forward to helping you create the best birth story possible for you and your baby, as decided by you and your baby.

I took the the Developing Doulas Birth and Postnatal Doula Preparation Course in September 2012 and joined Doula UK in November 2012. I am Oxfordshire Regional Rep for Doula UK.

I also run a Positive Birth group on the fourth Wednesday of every month in Wantage.