Written by Sarah Coffin, Director of Marketing and Public Relations and Assistant Program Developer, Your Birth Experience; Owner and Founder, Tulsa Family Doulas
I had the privilege of attending the first ever YBE Doula Training Retreat in November of 2017. The next training is scheduled for April 2-6 with early bird prices through March 2, so once you read through, make a plan to be there!
I have always felt that continuing education and furthering my skills with certifications were incredibly valuable to not only my clients, but myself. I love gathering more education and information. Not only do I thrive on accomplishing things (I mean really with this list of trainings), I love the process of discovering more about topics of which I am desperately passionate.
My work has given me the opportunity to dig deeply into knowledge of the physical and informational aspects of childbirth and the birthing woman, but this work demands much more in maintenance of healthy emotions and practicing emotional maturity. That is where the YBE Doula Training Retreat comes in.
Circle of Influence
Birth Professionals know their work encompasses compassion, freedom from restriction and peer-respect in maternity care, that is a given. However, they often feel stumped on how to accomplish many of the overall goals of improving birth in the face of looming statistics surrounding the birth environment. It's no secret that 1/3 of American women give birth by cesarean. Even the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecology encourages the Safe Prevention of the Primary Cesarean in an effort to decrease those numbers.
So, in light of the reality of the given state of maternity care, how can one doula, or even a community of doulas, feel equipped to continue on with the goodness they bring to their work in what seems to be an environment deplete of hope for change?
If you have ever read Stephen Covey's 7 Habit's of Highly Effective People, the process of focusing on and expanding your Circle of Influence is what starts to elicit change in your community.
I've found my Circle of Influence expand exponentially by focusing on the individual client, one at a time, giving her my absolute best every time I am with her. I see her humanity, her history, her goals, and help her and her partner increase their confidence in birth and in parenting.
As her doula, I CAN influence her through validation, affirmation and confirmation of who she is as an individual and how much her and her experience matters right then, in that moment. Rinse and repeat for every client, thus authentically expanding my Circle of Influence and changing the umbrella of "birth".
At the same time, I know I have to be able to walk away from each and every one of those experiences and let everything go. I have to immediately parent my own children, be a partner to my spouse, work on my business and maintain my own responsibilities while pushing burn-out to the side. Easier said than done, right?
Self-care is a buzzword right now in the doula community. However, making the time to take a bubble bath with candles is in no way going to be able to provide you what you need to stay in doula work long-term.
Self-care is so much more than doing something nice for yourself, and it requires a great deal of effort to be done well.
I have found I am able to sustain this very important work, when I make this work beneficial for my family and for the families of those working in my agency. That statement doesn't just mean beneficial financially, although that is a very real and necessary component. In order to sustain your passion and expand your Circle of Influence, to REALLY make a change in birth, emotional maturity simply must be one of your first priorities for yourself.
Maturity happens through growth - we all know that. Babies mature into toddlers. Toddlers mature into teenagers, and well teenagers...they get out of that phase eventually.
Our work has an incredibly high burn-out rate. A quick search online validates this with multiple anecdotal mentions in blog posts, but no scholarly articles siting clear numbers. After almost 9 years in this work, and seeing peers come and go, it begs the question, "What is missing from support, trainings and organizations that is preventing the success of birth work long-term?"
This work is hard, friends. We see, feel and experience the highest of highs and lowest of lows in people's lives. We see the celebrations; the moment breath inflates lungs and the strength of the mom, the baby and the process. We also see the catastrophe of breath lost, plans changing, emergencies taking over and confidence waning underneath our own tight thoughts and moments of losing faith in the process of birth itself.
We drop everything to be whatever our clients need at a moment's notice, dismissing our own schedule, struggles, children and responsibilities. We completely enter our client's world, devoid of our own agenda, in the place they have chosen to birth, and relegate ourselves to our client's every physical and emotional need, most of which tend to go unspoken. Our attentiveness to instinct, knowing when or when not to speak, and the release of responsibility for her experience demands emotional maturity.
Great. But how? How do you learn the skills to stay and thrive in the face of hard births, frustrating statistics and the very real chance you will face the defeat of doula burnout.
Anyone Else Feel Overwhelmed?
The retreat environment YBE Doula Training offers is an absolute necessity. You need a break, and so much more than can be found in a bubble bath. Although, I'm sure you could fit one in while you are here.
Residing in nature for those few days and immersing yourself into a training not only focused on honing your doula skills, but providing you with opportunities for personal and professional growth is incredibly valuable.
You will leave with the capacity to greatly enhance your offerings to your community through childbirth educator training, birth and postpartum doula training and effective business skills. You will be held, encouraged, stretched and believed in.
The YBE Doula Training Retreat was the culmination of over a decade worth of experience knowing that doulas deserved more holitstic training and support. It doesn't solve the global maternity crisis, nor will it be the right training for every doula, but what it does do is reset the environment surrounding successful doulas and their work. This retreat helps you become the best person YOU are, and that is what changes and sustains you in this work.
Certification requirements, cost, payment plans and registration are all immediately available for you. Share this information with a fellow doula that is wondering how to start, or how to stay, in this incredibly important work. Next, take the step to nurture the holistic side of your very necessary contribution to our birth world and attend this retreat. We are thrilled to have you.