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!
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.
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.
There is an interesting phenomenon that happens in the world of professional childbirth work that I like to think of as the Big Sister Effect. It’s a natural thing that happens inside us as humans when people we care about experience difficult things and something inside us rises up and wants to defend and protect them. This is actually a physiological and evolutionary response that is good for the human race, and yet, it can get us into a world of hurt. Many feel this kind of emotional attachment is unwarranted in professional doula work, and I have a different view of it.
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.
You see, while everyone else in the childbirth professional community and doula world is arguing about who's right, who's wrong, which organization to train with, which childbirth method is the RIGHT one, and why THEY deserve to get paid as professionals, Your Birth Experience Instructors are looking at the women giving birth, the ones who really matter.
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.
Everyone at some point in his or her life has heard some variation of “do what you love and you will never work for a living again.” I believe this concept is at best misleading and at worst completely inaccurate. No matter what your passion is, turning it into a successful venture will require hard work and a need to do things that are scary, tedious, and sometimes just downright exhausting. Having spent the last four years working full time on my business, I have learned that I had to figure out how business works before I could make my passion my business. There have been successes and failures and a whole lot of learning...
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.
As Doulas or Childbirth Educators, you may have felt challenged in creating a sustainable income. Questions I see and hear often are:
- How do you make money as a doula?
- What should I charge for doula services or childbirth classes?
- How do I make my doula business profitable?
If you are a Doula or Childbirth Educator looking to increase the value of the services you offer and create a paycheck you're proud of, take a look at what Your Birth Experience offers.