I have always felt a strong pull towards women’s health, specifically to childbirth. When it came time for me to become a mother, I was excited and yet extremely anxious about what the experience would be like. And now, having experienced the wonders of birth with a doula, I feel nothing but lucky to be going through this doula training.
What I have learned thus far has been amazing and the women in my class are special and have created such a diverse group of new doulas. Becoming a doula is more than simply saying the words “You are ok” to a woman in labor. It is more than having the knowledge of childbirth. It is having the ability to create a bubble around a woman and her partner that provides the safe and loving environment so their birth experience can be everything they want it to be.
Today continued our doula support training, use of our voice, pyschology of laboring women, and more detailed use of the relaxation techniques we learned yesterday. Today was the first day we had to actually try these methods on each other. In relatively recent years, I have gained an exterior confidence in the business world. Yet, today I felt the anxiety and fear of my younger years coming back to me as I was asked to go out of my comfort zone and try something new (and in front of others!). Yet, after the first exercise, I realized that my anxiety is actually a reflection of how passionate I am about this new career path and I want nothing more than to be great. Once I acknowledged this as the source of my fear and anxiety, I felt liberated. I was able to approach each following exercise with more confidence and stronger energy than before.
I feel nothing but inspired and extremely lucky to be mentored by such amazing women. More importantly, I look forward to what tomorrow’s training will bring in education, experience, revelation, and to this new life of mine.
The second full day of training came to a close and my excitement of what lays ahead for me is what’s keeping me going. Today we had the opportunity to see first-hand what it is like to meet with a client and go through the crucial first steps as a doula.
I could sympathize with the mother, as I remember having many of the same desires and fears as she did during my first pregnancy. Family, friends, and society only create expectations of childbirth as a horrifically-painful event. So, as someone who wants a natural childbirth, there can be many influences making it difficult to feel confident on a women’s ability to successfully achieve this goal. As I was able to practice some of what we’ve learned in class, it became clear how the importance of a doula support is beyond just the labor and delivery. It begins during the first meeting and I find myself more and more excited to be entering into this world!
The end of our class included discussions of laboring positions and comfort techniques. All of us were able to practice on each other and really experience the comfort and intimacy they can provide to a woman and her partner during labor. This further solidified that a doula doesn’t make a birth experience better just for the woman, but the partner can be an integral part in providing her continuous support and comfort.
I’m still anxiously waiting for my “midnight call” from my mock client…but after today, I feel confident and excited to have someone call me as they go into labor…even if it is only one of my mentors calling!
Tonight’s class focused on a marketing skills and a recap of all we have learned thus far.
The marketing discussions was wonderful to get basics together and ideas on how to self-promote, gain recognition and start a client base. I look forward to developing my identity as a doula.
We also shared our observations after viewing two videos of natural childbirth and discussed the typical fears of a new doula. One of the videos starred our mentor, Jennifer Wolfe, at a natural childbirth from early labor at the woman’s home through delivery at a birthing center. Many of us felt fear that we would not be able to embody what we saw on the video…Jennifer has taught us a lot and yet, we haven’t done 400+ births! While I too am nervous and slightly fearful, I am beyond excited to be following my passion. My feeling deep down inside of me that this is my calling has also given me some unknown confidence. I realize I don’t know everything and its very likley I’ll be calling my mentors to ask for guidance and advice. Yet, I know that my strong desire to support women during such an emotional and pivotal point in their lives will make me succeed.
Tonight is a bit bittersweet, because there is only one more class remaining. I have so thoroughly enjoyed being with these women and learning and discussing childbirth, psychology, and birth support that I will definitely miss it!
Our last day of class was a little sad for me. I’ve had so much fun learning from our amazing mentors and alongside the other women that I didn’t want it to stop. Yet, this means I am now ready to move on to the next phase of my “doula development.” I will now be focusing on completing my remaining requirements for certification in the Dolphin Method, developing my identity as a doula, and eventually gaining my first few clients. Of course, one minor delay with this next phase will be the birth of my own child!
I feel even more excited this time around because I have the same support network from my first birth including: my amazing husband, my mentor and doula (Jennifer Wolfe), my midwives (Melissa French & Susie Graven), and family & friends. In many ways, the birth of my second daughter will mark my own re-birth as a doula. I am excited and confident that I have found my calling and am following my passion.
I look forward to providing the education, physical and emotional support, and empowerment to pregnant women and their partners during such a pivotal and life-changing event.