In February, doula Lauren Mishcon’s name hit international headlines when it was widely reported that she would be working as Meghan’s doula during her pregnancy.
According to non-profit association Doula UK, doulas act as birth coaches, offering practical and emotional support in women’s own homes as well as in hospitals throughout the UK.
Mishcon has since denied the claims and opened up about being mistaken for the royal’s doula.
During an interview on the up-coming programme ITV’s Harry & Meghan: A Royal Baby, Mishcon opened up about the media furore when her name hit headlines.
“I was driving home on Saturday afternoon when my phone rang,” she explains.
“It was a tabloid reporter saying that she had it on good authority that I was Meghan Markle’s doula.”
The mother-of-three said that when she arrived home, her son informed her that someone had been at the door asking for her.
“That was quite frightening – we’re ex-directory,” she admits. “We didn’t know how they’d found our address.”
The following morning, Mishcon’s name was printed in news articles around the world.
“My life kind of imploded because once [names are] on the internet, they spread like wildfire,” she adds.
“Actually, I’d just been waiting for my dishwasher to be repaired,” Mishcon jokes.
Unfortunately for the non-medical birth companion, who became a registered birth doula with Doula UK in 2007, friends and family started to question whether she was, in fact, working as Meghan’s doula.
“My own mother rang me on the Sunday night to say that she had worked out that the holiday I was taking in April was obviously a cover story for the fact I was supporting Meghan,” she reveals. “That’s when I thought ‘this is madness’.”
Mischon says the experience made her learn a lot about the media frenzy surrounding the royals.
“To see things about yourself, photos of yourself and your kids on the internet when you haven’t started this rumour and you don’t know where it came from, you feel a little bit out of control,” she says.
“What you realise is that the appetite for anything related to Meghan Markle is so voracious. They can’t get to Meghan so they’ll take whatever they can.”
Despite describing being Meghan’s doula as “nonsense”, Mishcon says she is glad the media coverage has shed light on the doulas profession.
“It is becoming something that isn’t this strange, mysterious word,” she adds.
“Every woman who is expecting a baby deserves to be treated like royalty.”
According to Doula UK, doulas fill a role that new mothers and families have always needed and are "there to listen, give confidence and not judge”.
A doula is usually an experienced woman who has completed some basic training in birthing practice and completed a certification process.
The majority of doulas registered with Doula UK are self-employed and clients pay them directly.
A birth doula associated with the organisation will typically meet with clients several times before a birth and then are ‘on call’ 24hrs a day from 38 weeks until the baby arrives.
As a result, their fee will range from £600 - £2,000, depending on their location in the UK and their level of experience. Expenses and mileage may be included in this package fee or may be invoiced later.
Meanwhile, a postnatal doula with the organisation will usually charge between £15-£30 per hour for their services.
How much a doula charges will vary depending on the area they work in, their level of experience, what they include in the fee and what they feel their service is worth.
ITV’s Harry & Meghan: A Royal Baby will air at 7.30pm on Thursday 18 April.
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