Thursday, March 11, 2010

Educating Doulas

I am very pleased to announce that four whole months before it even starts, the MotherWit Birth Doula Training is just about filled to capacity. Soon, all spots may be filled, some interviews still pending.

For all of you who really wanted to attend but couldn't because you lived in let's say Alaska or Timbuktu, don't despair. I love to travel! If you are willing to host the MotherWit training in your area (hosting meaning setting up a suitable venue, helping us gather together a minimum of 10 participants, and letting us know about good accommodations, etc.), you get to train for free. Depending upon where you live, it will either be a six day intensive, or 2 three day workshops.



I offer apprenticeship here in Montreal, which I believe is a crucial aspect of growing into doulahood comfortably, and am beginning to set up a network in which experienced doulas can provide mentorship to novice doulas in their area, who so badly need to be shown the ropes of the local hospitals and witness firsthand, without the pressure to "perform", the power amazing senior doula care has to potentially make a birth experience a great one. I believe mentorship, which I have been providing for years, is one of the missing links in increasing the confidence and skills of new doulas with nurturing support...doula-ing the doula, essentially. For trainings which don't provide the opportunity for mentorship, it is not too hard to get it. You can network with known doulas in your area, and most will probably be quite happy to allow you to shadow them a little to their pre/post natal meetings and births. If it is not possible, asking your doula trainer how you can go about at least getting phone or skype support periodically is probably a good idea.



Women come to the path of birth attending from all different back-grounds, and there are many wonderful trainings out there to meet the needs of those who are inspired to do this work. I so honour the big organizations like DONA, CAPPA, ICEA, ALACE, etc., who have worked tirelessly to promote doula care on a global level, provide training and emphasise safe scopes of practice. To all of you who are involved in paving the way for doulas far and wide, thank you, thank you, thank you! You are creating the potential for better births, and this so vitally important! There are also more specialized trainings, like Hypno Birthing Doulas, Lamaze Doulas, Bradley method doulas, Birthing From Within Mentors, etc. There is so much richness for potential clients to choose from, and to know they will be well supported in their transition into parenthood within the context of support they desire is very reassuring indeed.



I think standards of practice can vary, providing a doula does not provide skills which are considered clinical (and could potentially harm a client). Many people have varying opinions on that, and really, since there is no licensing, as long as you follow the outlines of the organizations you're associated with, there is room for variance among organizations.



I am just a small drop in the bucket. I'm just a woman who loves birth, got my doula training in a 2-3 day workshop like everyone else, committed myself to continuing my education through massage etc. to widen my knowledge base, and have been blessed enough to have been invited to hundreds of births. I feel I've learned and experienced enough to provide quite a thorough training, but I think it's important for a doula, when deciding upon what training to embark upon, to follow her heart. She should choose what resonates most with her. Some prefer to be certified by a powerhouse of an organization, some like to learn a few extra skills along the way, and some like to go a little more grassroots. It's all good. Just ensure you are being taught clearly what is inside and outside of a now pretty much universally accepted doula scope of practice, good knowledge about the process of birth and how to support it respectfully no matter what a client's choice, a bit about how to put yourself out there in the world to get clients, and how to relate well to the primary caregivers you work with. It is an enriching path, and there is such a wealth of knowledge and support out there. HAVE FUN! It is the most amazing job in the world.