Volunteer Profile: Morag Riddet

When Morag Riddet discovered Amma, she knew immediately it was an organisation she wanted to be part of.

But having missed the first intake of volunteers, the doula, massage therapist and yoga teacher had to wait patiently before coming on board.

Since finishing her training and stepping into her role as volunteer birth and postnatal companion in May 2021, Morag has attended four births, and supported 13 birthing parents in some capacity.

Volunteering with Amma isn’t a one-way street, says Morag. Each person she has supported has given her the gift of learning.

“Each client is so unique, learning how to support them in the way they would like and what would benefit them the most, that in itself has been a huge learning curve. It’s not about the volunteers, it’s about the people we’re supporting and sometimes you just have to let go. Whether it’s emotional, practical or through challenges, each person has taught me something important."

As an already trained doula, Morag was naturally drawn to the services Amma provide. She said: “I just absolutely love all things to do with pregnancy and birth and I really believe that everyone deserves to have support and person-centred care and Amma really go above and beyond to give that to everyone possible.”

Fitting in her volunteering around her job in a community shop has meant that she sees clients in between shifts, and is grateful to understanding bosses and colleagues who know she might have to dash off when on call for a birth.

She cites the ongoing support by Amma as one of the main reasons she sees herself continuing in the role for as long as she can: “The support we get as volunteers is incredible. Supervision, always being checked up on by managers and mentors and the experience of constantly learning about people, pregnancy and the health care system, there are so many benefits.”

She talks warmly of the community she is now a part of: “Everyone I’ve met who are involved with Amma, staff or volunteers or parents themselves, everyone brings something special. When we meet up, it’s such a joy to be together.

“It’s such a special role but it’s also challenging so having each other is really necessary. And it’s wonderful that parents stay involved through the Amma Family groups, being supported and helping each other, sharing similar experiences and challenges.”

But nothing can beat being during a birth. Morag said: “The absolute highlight is the moment the baby is born – I always cry! Even when you’re tired and everyone’s exhausted, when the baby comes out it’s magical and it’s such an honour to be there.”

And to anyone considering applying to become an Amma volunteer? “Do it. Just do it. It’s challenging and I would recommend talking it through with the people in your life but the training is so comprehensive you don’t need birth experience. I highly recommend it.”