Episode 10: Honouring the Postnatal Period and Truth-Telling with Nicola Goodall


Nicola Goodall lives in Edinburgh and has supported women during and after birth for over 20 years. She grew up in a diverse community in South London and became a Muslim and a mother by the age of 24. Nicola is passionate about traditional storytelling, sharing and learning amongst women. She is one of the founding members of the Scottish Doula Network and a birth educator.

In this episode, we talked about:


  • What is a doula? “Your ultimate faith-bearer, ready to fill any gaps that might be there”

  • The woman that has that blessing

  • Fully in service to the mother

  • Humility and spiritual development

  • Becoming a doula in her spiritual community

  • Training to become a doula with Michel Odent

  • Earning money from something in service

  • Fair exchange

  • The importance of the postnatal period

  • The impact of the fourth trimester on the rest of life

  • Issues of depletion on health

  • Prioritising well-being in the postnatal period e.g by reducing spending on non-essentials

  • Simple ways of restoring wellness such as stockpiling bone broth, massaging ginger oil into the legs and keeping warm

  • Warmth to retain energy and assist blood flow around the body for efficient healing and recovery

  • Keep snug and wrapped up

  • Science backing up traditional wisdom

  • Medicalisation and the colonial approach to health care

  • Witches, Midwives and Nurses

  • Class and choices

  • Conflicting voices around breastfeeding and other choices

  • The change in postnatal services

  • Cultural competency and woman-centred care

  • Profiting from traditional wisdom and cultural appropriation in the birth world

  • Ancestral memory passed down through the women in the family

  • Instagram culture makes it acceptable for

  • The book: ‘Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People about Race’ by Renni Eddo-Lodge

  • Postnatal ceremonies around the world such as ‘Closing The Bones’, mainly involving women, bathing as a ritual cleansing, anointing by the elders

  • The 6 week check as a remnant of the 40 day laying in period

  • ‘Churching’ where you get blessed in church after having a baby

  • The concept of a death ritual, saying goodbye to who she was and welcoming the new mother

  • The birthkeeper is the storykeeper

  • Facing death and dying

  • The common fear of dads-to-be that their partners might die in childbirth

  • The impact of generational trauma

  • Matching care to their cultural experience

  • The MMBRACE report , which states that black women are 5 times more likely to die than white women, and Asian women are twice as likely to die at birth

  • Postpartum herbs for rebuilding energy and blood

  • Dr Sims and the origins of barbaric gynaecological experiments on slave women

  • Telling the truth of the history of medicine

  • The impact of pregnancy, birth and maternal-baby bonding on the psyche

  • The need for loving care after having a baby

  • Nicola’s article about the ethical consumer and the National Childbirth Trust (NCT), who partner with Clarion, and hold arms fairs





You can find out more about Nicola by going to her website 

 Or visiting Red Tent Doulas 

Nicola’s TED talk