Melbourne Doula

Welcome to 'Melbourne Doula', the place where I share what birth work is teaching is me, and what I am learning from the wonderful families who have invited me to share this most special season of their lives. Here you will find information about me and the doula services I provide, birth stories from remarkable women and their loved ones, as well as all kinds of resources to enrich your own journey of discovery. And welcome also to BLISSFUL HERBS, the home of beautiful herbal teas and bath herbs to support wellness through every season of life.

Doula Services

As Blissful Herbs has grown and flourished, I have found my life full and busy with attending births, birth activism, continuing study, my brand new website, herbal consultations and of course - looking after my own beautiful family! My 4 are now aged 12 to 24 and their lives are as busy and active as mine (mad, noisy household, come and visit).

Lately, I am available only to attend homebirths within an hour's drive of my home in Warburton. So if you are planning a local-area homebirth, please do contact me.

If you are seeking birth support further afield, for your planned home, birth centre or hospital birth, please scroll down the right-hand side column to find "Seeking a Midwife" and "Seeking a Doula". These private midwives and doulas are wonderful women who are an asset to your birth team. I suggest you chat with several and choose the person you feel most comfortable with.

Please feel free to email  or phone me if you are having any problems finding someone to support you through your pregnancy, birth and post-natal time. I have an email list of midwives and doulas who I recommend and who are available to take clients.

I would also like to introduce to you my fabulous new website:

Blissful Herbs - Julie Bell - Wisewoman Doula - Wildheart Herbalist

This is a range of herbal bath sachets and herbal teas to add nurture and specialness to every phase of a woman's life cycle, from menarche to the child-bearing years to menopause. There's something to add care and nurture to every member of the family.

The Post Natal Bliss bath herbs are especially awesome, I used them myself after Rory's birth, they speed the healing, feel so good and smell divine.

Please come and browse!

Also on this site are all kinds of articles and links to inform and support your child-bearing journey, which are free for you to access, print out, and share.

You can find me on Facebook here and here

And on Instagram at blissful.herbs

Details about my doula services here

What does a doula actually do?

Here one of my clients answers the question

Blissful Herbs products

herbal teas
bath herbs
herbal tinctures
herbal oils
herbal salves
bath salts
essential oils
birth supplies
books and eBooks
gifts & jewellery
birth affirmation cards
cord burning boxes & bowls
lotus birth herbs & placenta bags 
COVID-19 immune support
tea-making accessories

Blissful Herbs Facebook Page here

Instagram: blissful.herbs - see you there!

Umbilical Cord Ties - a lovely alternative to the plastic clips

Here is a montage of photos of mothers and babies enjoying their Post Natal Bliss herbal bath:


Henna Supplies

Cord burning bowls and boxes, hand-crafted by a Bendigo artisan:

Getting the best from your herbal teas

Click here for Sales, News and Specials

Water Birth

Immersion in deep warm water is highly rated for comfort and coping during labour.


You don't have to actually give birth *in* the pool unless you want to. Nothing wrong with using the pool as a labour activity and support measure. You can hop in and out as you please. You can certainly go right ahead and have your baby (and even the placenta) while actually in the pool, if you please.

So here, in one place, is your trove of links and info for all things water birth.

General education:

Water Birth International - Barbara Harper

Waterbirth - from the Gentle Birth Archives

The Evidence on Water Birth - from Evidence Based Birth

Birth, Bath, and Beyond: The Science and Safety of Water Immersion During Labor and Birth (2014)

Where to buy a birth pool:

Pregnancy Birth & Beyond - Jane Palmer 

Birth Afloat - New South Wales 

Simply Birth - Immerse Yourself

Which birth pool? Comparison chart

Things I have learned, from supporting many women during their planned home water births:

* Fill with a food grade hose. Empty with a garden hose. 
* A new liner is worth it.They're like $65.00

* Pump up the pool 3/4 - THEN put the liner in place, then pump up the rest of the way. 
* Giving it a trial run is worth it - mostly so you can figure out how long pumping it up takes and if all the tap attachments and hot water supply are going to behave themselves. Besides, a family spa pool night is fun. Also - the trial run will let you know if anything needs patching. (Once, I had my husband in the kitchen of my client's house, frantically holding the hose in place on the kitchen tap to stop it spurting everywhere - with his back discreetly turned while the client birthed her baby just round the corner ... Yep, pretty much, good to check those tap attachments before Baby Day!)
* Buy a decent pump. I like foot pumps over electric pumps.
* You can fill the pool half or 3/4 in early labour and keep it warm with bubble wrap (or better still, a pool cover) until you're ready to immerse yourself.
* Yes, boiling huge pots of water still has a place at the modern birth.Especially if your hot water service isn't brilliant.
* Have a bucket or two, in case you need to empty out cooler water to replace with warmer water or vice versa.
* Birth soup is not as nice as Bone Broth. So, yes ... invest in that pool emptying suction device.
* Used pool liners have multiple uses in the shed or garden. I cut up an old pool liner to extend the water-proofing around the edge of our yurt.
* Buy a massive army-worthy duffle bag, because you are never getting that beast back in the small freakin' bag they come in.
* When you fold and unfold the pool, do it in a really warm room or after letting it soften in the sun for a little while - it makes it so much easier, and also it will help prevent damage to the pool.
* If you don't use a liner, I clean the pool with gentle soap and water, rinse it well then let it dry in (gentle) sunlight - UV rays kill germs.
* Yes, you will need a pooper-scooper.
* Blood loss - a small amount of blood can make the pool look really red. Scoop some out into a clear glass of water to assess better. Also be aware, if the room is dark and there are large clots sunk to the bottom, there could be more blood loss than you realise. So, be aware of vital signs and how 'with it' the mother feels and seems. And hop out of the pool if you have any doubts or concerns about what is going on with blood loss.
* Ick stuff in the water - best thing ever for baby's micro-biome. If you siphon your birth soup out into the garden, whatever plants in the firing line will be very happy.
* Temperature: if it feels right for you, it's right. I've never used a thermometer. Just have a little hot water ready for baby, because a hard working mama in the pushing stage usually likes the water a tad cooler than a newborn baby, and you can be so besotted with baby-gazing that people might not notice that the water temperature has cooled a little. So, a room heater, warm towels & cloths and a bit of extra hot water at hand can be a good idea, to help both mother and babe stay toasty warm (which is important for those third stage hormones, right?)
* If your budget allows, consider buying something like a Birth Pool in the Box Professional and a stack of pool liners - and then being the local "hire a birth pool" person that other women can rent a pool from. Way to win friends and influence people eh. 


The latest is this one: 

What happens when researchers are able to look at more than 17500+ waterbirths and match them with a control of 17500+ land births? By looking at 80+ confounders, the researchers were able to take the most detailed ever look at all of the factors that affect waterbirth outcomes."
From Uplift Labs/Oregon State University. 

Key findings:

Waterbirth is neither as harmful as some current guidelines suggest, nor as benign as some proponents claim.

Importantly, there was no difference in the number of neonatal deaths between babies born underwater and those born on land."


Ancient Gates - Prayers & Promises for Pregnancy & Birth


 "Lift up your heads, O you gates; 

be lifted up, you ancient doors, 

that the King of glory may come in. ... 

Who is he, this King of glory?

The Lord, strong and mighty.

The Lord, mighty in battle,

He is the King of glory."

Psalm 34:9-10 


Have you ever read these exhilarating, symbolic words and wondered if it could even be a reference to the opening of your cervix during childbirth?

I have!

We know from experience that when we are caught up in the presence of God, aware of His glory all around, childbirth is easier! 

Jesus is Immanuel, the God who is with us, the God who is for us, our Ezer who is our ever-present help in time of challenge.

There is no better time to fix our eyes on Jesus, and no better labour activity than worship.

So here is a brand new resource, created by a doula with decades of experience in supporting parents through their baby-having adventures, who has witnessed the goodness of God and the power of God at births. 

God is with you and He is for you.

                                                                     Shop HERE


 Listen to the instrumental tracks FREE at Mick McIvor, Bandcamp


Ancient Gates is about prospecting for the treasures in the word of God (the Bible) for child-bearing, and laying hold of those promises for your felt, lived experience.

 The Ancient Gates Prayers & Promises for Pregnancy & Birth includes:

- Introductory booklet

- A set of 24 full colour 10 x 10 cm cards

- A wood card display stand

- A Download Card with code to download the 24 spoken meditations set to original music beautifully composed for this project; plus a bonus 18 instrumental-only tracks.

- A USB with track details and high-quality WAV files

- A hand-crafted walnut Keepsake Box for your cards, USB and baby's cord tie

All this for the great value price of $85.00 - and, as an introductory offer, for the first 50 customers ... it's only $79.95 - but seriously be quick because these are selling super fast.

The cards and music lead you on a journey through four movements:

Firstly, "Prepare", with the six cards and meditations for: Breathe, Quiet, Wait, Safe, Soft and Surrender.


The second movement is "Pilgrimage", with the focus words: Trust, Stand, Move, Dance, Open and Joy.

The third movement is "Challenge" with meditations on the words Sing, Cry, Courage, Strength, Deep and Rest. 

The concluding movement is "Celebration" in which we explore together the themes of Peace, Comfort, Bless, Glory, Love, and finally, Thanks.


On the front of each card is the focus word, with a simple blessing or affirmation or expression of faith, along with a real birth action shot from beautiful mothers who contributed to this most special resource.

Turn the card over, and you'll see the corresponding Scripture verse to that particular word.

Then you press 'play' on your playlist, and listen to the prayerful spoken meditations set to the most beautiful, anointed, evocative worship music, each piece especially composed for the 24 meditations.  As you listen, you are drawn even deeper into the presence of God as you mull over the incredible riches of God's Word. Your faith is inspired, and you become aware of God's faithfulness to you and His amazing watch-care over you and your baby and your family.

Then, for times when you may be resting or perhaps going through your pregnancy exercises, there are 18 additional tracks with just the music, without the spoken prayers.

There is a synergy in the incredible talents that have come together to make this project happen.

It feels as if the breath of the Spirit has infused the work, each step of the way.

I sense this is something really special, because each time I work on this project ... I cry!

I would like to acknowledge the wonderful artists who have helped bring this long-gestated project to birth:

Mick McIvor, Won Voice Music

Jacqui Naunton, White Deer Graphic Design

Laura Powell - Laura Emily Photography

Jen Shipton - The Heart of Motherhood Photography

Amy Philp - Amy Philp Photography

Sarah Windyanan - Life & Lens Photography

Cat Fancote - Cat Fancote Photography

Emma Jean Photography

And to the parents who so generously shared their sacred moments:

Tim & Imy Chan, Rusila Sevudredre & Joshua Norman, Jess & Josh Counsel, Hannah & Jacob Weir, Hannah Paulsen and Midwife Maet Pearson.

Special thanks to Mark Rombout for adding the whispers of heaven to the music with his wind instrumentals, as he always has done, each time I've heard him play.

And lastly, thank you to the angel voices you may hear woven into the soundtrack - Bernie McIvor, Sarah Johnson, Rachael Hook, Angela Gorman and my very own angel, Hadassah Boone.

Further reading:

Spirituality & Birth

Praying for Birth

My Birth Stories - testimonies to God's faithfulness


Shop here to purchase the Ancient Gates Prayers & Promises for Pregnancy & Birth