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Becoming a Doula

Learning comfrot measures

What are your plans for this year? Are you up for learning something new? Developing some new skills? Starting a new career? Finding a new passion? Why not take a Birth Doula Workshop?

What is a Birth Doula?

A Birth Doula is a person who accompanies pregnant families through late pregnancy, childbirth and early parenting. The doula’s role is to provide informational, emotional and physical support. The doula helps the parent or parents to find the information they need to make decisions about their care. The doula provides a listening ear, a compassionate voice, and holds space for the parents to process their experience. The doula holds a hand, wipes a brow, provides a cup of tea or sips of gingerale, rubs a back or massage a foot, suggests positions and movements to ease a long labour.

The doula’s focus is on the parents’ emotional well-being. Doulas do not diagnose, prescribe or recommend. Knowing that the midwife, doctor or nurse is taking care of the safety of the parent and baby, the doula is available continuously, throughout the childbirth experience, to ensure that the family feels safe and supported.

What do you learn in a Birth Doula Workshop?

I LOVE teaching Birth Doula Workshops! It’s a wonderful opportunity to meet with a group of people who are passionate about helping, who honour and respect the power of childbearing parents, who are curious about the process of labour and birth, who are compassionate and caring.

We talk about the anatomy and physiology of pregnancy and birth. We talk about the process of birth, both the physical and the emotional unfolding that happens. We try out and practice many different pain-relieving comfort measures – breathing, massage, visualization, positioning, movement. We discuss medical interventions, pros and cons, indications, how to help clients cope with them.

We also discuss starting a doula business, how to create a referral network, how to find clients, how to interview clients.  We help you plan your startup. A panel of practicing doulas comes in to meet with you and share tricks of the trade.

We discuss the emotional aspects of doula work, how to support clients through disappointment, or depression, or loss, how to find resources, and how and when to refer, so that it’s not all on us. And we talk about the postpartum period, and breastfeeding, and the new baby, and how to say goodbye at the end of the relationship.

We spend four days together, immersed in all this juicy, subtantial stuff. It is SO satisfying!

Who can be a doula?

Anyone! Anyone who is prepared to be compassionate, respectful, open-minded, open-hearted. Anyone who is ready to be on call for weeks, and ready to stay up all night, and press on a sacrum until your wrists and thumbs ache. You don’t need to be any particular age, or gender, or to have any particular education. You do not need to have had children. People of all sorts become pregnant, and they need people of all sorts to support them.

Are there laws restricting who can practice as a doula?

No. Not in Canada. Anyone can call themselves a doula. But I encourage you to get proper training and to become certified. Do your research. Make sure that the organization training you and certifying you is credible. Consider: is it an associaton of doulas which works for its members, or is it a privately-owned business trying to turn a profit? Is it an organization whose training and certification will be recognized in other provinces, states or countries?

Does the trainer you are going to learn from provide any mentoring or support after the workshop? Will they help you find clients? Will they support you through certification? Do they run meetings for doulas to meet and connect and network? (Yup. I do those things…)

DONA International

The doula organization I have been certified with for over 20 years, and for which I train doulas, is DONA International. DONA was the first international doula organization. DONA developed the Standards of Practice for doulas which have been studied, determined to safe and beneficial, and which have become the industry standard. DONA has certified thousands of doulas in over 50 countries around the world.

How can I find a Doula Workshop?

Funny thing that. I happen to be teaching a doula workshop in Victoria from March 6-9, 2020. You can read all about it here.  

I offer one bursary (full and partial) in each workshop to folks in financial need. As part of my efforts towards Reconciliation, I offer one full bursary in each of my workshops, to an Indigenous person. Please contact me directly – eva@motheringtouch.ca

If you can’t be in Victoria that weekend (too bad, it’s a great time of year to visit), you can find a DONA International Birth Doula Workshop here. 

I have so many more questions!

If so, contact me. I love to answer questions about being a doula.

 

In the Doula Spirit,

                 Eva