The Doula Manda

- make informed choices

Hello!

I am Amanda Leon-Joyce, “The Doula Manda”.

I am a warm, creative, adaptable and open-minded person with a diverse professional background spanning academia, technical theatre and various psychotherapy and mental health roles. I am a mum to three girls, one of whom I gave birth to and two of whom I met when they were a little older, co-parenting in a polyamorous family in Bexley, London.

Until the COVID-19 pandemic I worked in the West End of London as a lighting and video technician as well as maintaining a small psychotherapy practice and volunteering with a number of LGBTQ+ youth groups. During the pandemic, when theatres across the world went dark for over a year, I took the opportunity to retrain in an industry that would allow me a better balance between my professional life and my home life, but that stayed true to my primary passions of creativity, love and supporting people to shine in whatever roles they are performing. For a while those roles were theatrical, now I uplift and light the too-often overlooked work of parenting and caregiving. 

I trained as a Doula specifically because I passionately believe every birth is a life-altering experience and yet many of us are encouraged to spend more time researching and debating which pram to buy, than where and how we want to birth our baby!  If you are married or had a commitment ceremony, think about how much planning you put into that day – I believe the day of your child’s birth is just, if not vastly more, important a ceremony. 

Additionally I saw how many of us, particularly first time parents, yearned for traditional support structures and I wanted to develop a robust set of skills to step in and help families and birthing people at this profoundly important (and sometimes a little overwhelming!) time.

As a member of the LGBTQ+ community myself, and someone who is parenting in a three parent blended family, I am fiercely committed to offering all families non-judgemental and evidence-based information alongside plenty of love, wisdom, and a respect for the profound significance of birth.

In what down time I manage to carve out(!), I enjoy knitting, collecting ideas for new tattoos, contemporary dance, reading science fiction and fantasy novels and deep-diving into my latest research fascination (at the time of writing, the scientific advances in understanding the human microbiome!) 

I am also a deaf/hard of hearing, hearing aid user. I mention this only in passing as it is unlikely it is something you will notice or need to accommodate but is sometimes useful to know. I have a Level 3 ‘professional competency’ British Sign Language qualification and use SSE (Sign Supported English) at home with my own family. If BSL/SSE/Sign Language would be useful to you or your family please mention that when you contact me. 

"My primary passions are for creativity, love and supporting people to shine in whatever roles they are performing. For a while those roles were theatrical, now I uplift and light the too-often overlooked work of parenting and caregiving."