gypsyjewels's Journal

If you're right you'll agree...

Being a doula really started with my friends inviting me into their births for strength. I have always been that kind of friend that some people turned to for support and advice, so this was a really natural progression. I attended 5 births before I ever even knew what a doula was. When I was pregnant last time I came across the word and definition in a book (Ina May's Guide To Childbirth, I believe) and it was a total epiphany! I was like, "I'm a doula!" I got really excited about it because I was seeking direction and started looking into certification. I went with DONA because they seemed to be most well known. 

I have completed ALL the requirements for certification and I am still not certified. Why? Because health professionals don't have time to fill out a 5 question multiple choice survey and mail it back to me. I have figured out that if i want my certification I am going to have to hover and get it back from them before they leave the room. Part of me does not respect this process though either. Much of the time the doctor or midwife doesn't come in till the end and so they are only seeing a fraction (and sometimes a very small fraction) of what we have done with this woman.Same thing with the nurses. I've had multiple occasions where shift change happens RIGHT before or at the time a woman is pushing. How can my performance as a doula be measured by these people accurately?

So, for now, I have given up on my certification because 1. hardly anyone is actually getting reimbursed by insurance companies, so it's actually doing us very little good to be certified and 2. I need to stop doing births for free because my family is really suffering right now. I need to put my energy into my business, not my certification only so I can have these letters on the back of my name. I'm at a place where I am glad that I paid for the education, but, I want to focus on experience and building my reputation as a quality doula. 

I get asked often about being a doula and my advice would be this. Start doing online research - look around forums and blog posts which weigh the pro's and con's of being a doula. I've been with a couple for 40 hours straight before - mutual friends had to bring up my baby for nursing and it was all kinds of crazy. Childcare can be difficult for something like this because not only are YOU on call, you need a babysitter to be on call too. Luckily, I have a village, so I manage. Also, checking out DONA's reading requirement list and pick up a few books. Start to think about your ethics and what kind of doula you want to be. Then, start letting people around you now that you want to do this and offer your services for free. Hopefully you can land a couple and see if it is for you. If it is, you are already on the path. If it isn't, then it's easy to jump off.

If you do decide to stick with becoming a doula, it is very rewarding. Obviously attending someone's birth is not only a huge honor, but it is always an amazing experience. I am always in awe of what we women are capable of when we have the correct knowledge and support behind us. 

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Nov. 22, 2010 at 2:48 PM

Certification or not, you are probably more qualified than some women who are DONA doulas. The way I see it, word of mouth is one of the best ways to get your name out there, and with so many satisfied mamas out there, at this point I'd say to hell with it! It doesn't make you any less of a doula. Anyone can tell you love what you do, which makes you a better and more dedicated doula.. I won't have another baby without you as my doula.


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