Steps To Becoming A Doula
Start by finding an experienced doula to talk to…
Do an on-line search for doulas in your area. You could also use DoulaMatch or go to DONA International’s Find a Doula page to search for practicing doulas. It’s important to speak to a doula in the area you plan to work in. Every place has its own birth culture, its own ways, and it’s a good idea to hear what it’s like to work as a doula where you are.
Don’t expect a doula to spend half-an-hour on the phone with you or to write a long email of answers to your questions. Offer to take them out for lunch or coffee. Most doulas are happy to chat, but are very busy – so make sure you have thought about what you want to know. Do a little research first!
Here are some important questions to ask the doulas you speak to:
- What are the best parts of the job?
- What is the worst part of the job?
- How do you keep a balance between your work and your home life?
- How to you get support from other doulas?
- How do you find your clients?
- What did you wish you had known before you went to your first birth?
- Can you actually support yourself financially doing this work?
Ask the doula the tough questions. Doulas are supposed to be honest, but sometimes they are too kind. Don’t let them paint too rosy a picture of the work, but get them to tell you about the wonderful excitement of it too!
Next, get some information about what birth is like in your community…
Observing pre-natal classes is a good way to do that. In Victoria, you could attend a Mothering Touch Childbirth Preparation Class, or you could call Camosun College. Outside Victoria, try Public Health Units, the local hospital or the local Community College. You can also look in the yellow pages under Prenatal.
Tell them you are working towards becoming a doula and would like to observe a series of classes. Many places will let you do so for free.
Do some reading on doulas, pregnancy and childbirth…
There are lots of resources available online, even hundreds of birth stories, written by doulas, midwives and mothers. The Mothering Touch Centre also has a book and video library you may utilize. Several of the books below are also on the reading list for DONA certification:
by Marshall Klaus MD, Phyllis Klaus & John Kennell MD
by Sheila Kitzinger
by Penny Simkin, Janet Whalley & Ann Keppler
by Penny Simkin & Ruth Ancheta
by Penny Simkin
Find a DONA-approved doula workshop program near you…
If you live in or near Victoria, we are pleased to offer you doula workshops right here:
- DONA-approved Birth Doula Workshop and Doula Training at The Mothering Touch Centre
- DONA-approved Postpartum Doula Workshop at The Mothering Touch Centre
If you live elsewhere,