Since 2014, YBE has offered a fresh perspective on holistic childbirth education, reaching families in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Germany, Japan and the U.S. Virgin Islands! In 2017, we expanded this groundbreaking curriculum to include Breastfeeding and Baby education, as well as the YBE Equip Advanced Doula Training and the YBE Doula Training and Certification program. After our first YBE Doula retreat in November of 2017, we've revamped our approach even more to make this curriculum as accessible as possible to a wider audience of hungry birth professionals!
If you're researching doula training, you've probably noticed there are a LOT of organizations and training programs out there. A decade ago, there were only a handful, mostly comprised of the original organizations involved in researching and establishing the doula profession; in 2017, there are dozens available, with YBE Doula Training and Certification joining the ranks. There are a variety of mindsets, philosophies, and training methods, some of which you can do completely online without even attending an in-person workshop. How on earth do you know which one is best?
In honor of International Doula Month, I feel compelled as I often do each year to write a blog post both celebrating the work I do alongside many other birth workers, as well as promoting awareness of this truly crucial vocational field. But before I tell you about what I AM going to discuss, I should tell you what I’m NOT going to discuss.
What do I do as a doula? I show up and I bring my heart. Read on to see what I mean by that!
As a birth worker and adult managing ADHD, I've found myself drawn to methodical and mindful activities that require me to slow down and pay attention. It's healing to the mind that is focused on EVERYTHING ALL. THE. TIME. And the rewards of working and cultivating things are so very sweet. But as a doula and childbirth educator for a decade (I celebrate 10 years with DONA International this month!), I find even more meaning in the patience and awareness these activities cultivate in me.
Most often, people think about the things doulas do during the actual birth such as position changes, back rubs and verbal encouragement, but the informational support is glazed over as if this act of giving information is a simple one. The truth is this: anyone whose role involves transmitting information is at some level an educator. Therefore, every doula is inherently a childbirth educator whether she realizes it or not.
I believe that more women need to know about the full spectrum of maternal care when preparing for birth. Your journey to motherhood is not only about birth; it's about your story. Whatever comes, how you prepare will directly impact your entire life in big and small ways. The smartest thing you can do is prepare to be whole.
I've got a secret for you: I can't make you a great doula. I created Your Birth Experience to show professional HOW to go from good to great but I can't do it for you. You have to choose every day to commit yourself to excellence and do better than you did yesterday. If you're committed to that, all you need is a system to support you, and one that gives you the "how" and the "why" so you can stop doing things that don't work and start seeing success in the lives of your clients and in your childbirth business.
Here's how to stop being a good doula and be a great one:
Using Your Birth Experience helps me do exactly that for my clients. I present the options available to them and give them the tools they need to see how their personality and decision-making processes speak to their birth goals so that each parter can determine what is most important to them and why. This way there is no need to be combative, just clear in communication. There is no need to have an inflexible agenda, but instead an informed plan that can be adjusted when unexpected factors arise. This program allows me to help clients synthesize their goals and desires in a way that nothing else can, and all while clearly and succinctly presenting them with all the options available to them.
Sometimes, even doulas need a doula.
Strike that, frequently doulas need a doula.
This job, which is full of passion and fulfillmentis also hard, hard work. Not only are you constantly spending energy mentally attuning and connecting to your clients, but you’re spending the physical energy supporting them--whether it’s during labor performing the famous double hip squeezes or staying up all night with a fresh new baby while his parents get a welcomed evening of rest. Add on to all of that the fact that when you treat this work like a business, you’re also investing all of the time and energy of an entrepreneur...Enter Your Birth Experience...
So, what gives? How can a woman still have a positive birth experience even when things don't go as planned? How can I as a childbirth educator and doula in Tulsa, Oklahoma ensure my students and clients have the most satisfying experience possible, when I cannot guarantee outcome or mode (vaginal or cesarean) of delivery? Well, that's where my divorce comes in...
Stick with me. I promise it's worth it.
This Labor Day I am celebrating the work I do to help women experience positive and meaningful birthing experiences and get what they want in childbirth, while also giving thanks for all those who have gone before me to do the same. Just as the Labor Movement sought justice for our nation and the workers who built it, the birthing movements of the past and present strive to make birth better for women. What I do is important, and the work women do to bring their babies into the world is also important.
There's something I do with many of my clients in labor. As a Birth Doula, I have the privilege of accompanying women and their families in that incredible, powerful, lonely, uncharted, spiritual, challenging and exhilarating journey called childbirth. Having been down the road many times before, I know what's coming. I may not know every stick and rock on the path, or what the weather will be like, but I know what is there, and I know what is at stake.