Thursday, April 30th, 2009...3:21 pm
It’s May. Happy International Doula Month!
by DoulaRina of DoulaRina.com
A doula is a professional labor assistant. Doulas are experienced in childbirth and provide continuous physical, emotional, and informational support to the mother and her partner before, during, and just after childbirth. In the prenatal period, a doula can help women gain information so that they can have the power to make knowledge-based decisions rather than fear-based decisions.
If you are a doula, there are a few things you should do.
1. Take time to reflect on the work you do. Think about the motivating factor that launched you into service. Make sure you haven’t lost sight of your commitment. If you think you have and you don’t have a mentor, reach out to the doula community (even online here) and communicate to someone who understands.
2. Take time to care for yourself and replenish your spirit. Our energy can so easily be sapped if we don’t take care of our needs and we will not be able to serve others. I know it’s a cliché already, but let me remind you that, when you’re on that airplane and the oxygen masks drop, you need to get yours on first before you help anyone else.
3. Attend a workshop or class that will help broaden your understanding of the things your clients may be facing. You might not be able to get continuing education units or points with your organization, but you will likely grow professionally and personally.
4. Make your presence known in your community. Better yet, step out of your comfort zone, and reach out to an underserved population, offering your services at a reduced rate. I volunteer at a clinic in the South Bronx, teaching prenatal classes. Most of the women end up wanting doulas so I match them with free doulas who are still seeking certification.
5. Network with other doulas and see if you can do all of the above with a group. Organize a class, party, outing or spa day.
If you are not a doula, thank a doula you know. If you don’t know any doulas, you’re probably missing out- they tend to be fantastic people!
If you are interested in becoming a doula, join me in New York for an ALACE doula training workshop taking place on July 24-26 or go here.
If you are looking for a doula in the New York area, check out DoulaRina or the With Woman Doula Cooperativa. For doulas in other areas, look at DONA International or the Association of Labor and Childbirth Educators.
Happy International Doula Month!