Doulas come form different backgrounds. We all start our journey in a different place and for different reasons. A common theme I hear is that they did not know what a doula was until their first pregnancy. This is when birthing people start to do research and want to learn about birth. The research can spark a passion for birth.
Sadly having a "bad" birth experience or not having the birth experience you wanted can also prompt someone becoming a doula , to assist others so they have better birth experiences.
Once becoming a trained doula their background and previous experience can influence the kind of doula they want to be. It can be a professional background that gives that doula specific knowledge. Locally we have physical therapists with knowledge of body movement and the pelvic floor, social workers with specialty in trauma informed care and christain doulas. Birth-work can be varied and personalized that a birthing person can find the perfect fit with their doula of choice.
I also did not know what a doula was when I had either of my children. I did not learn what a doula was until my children were both past the age of 5.
I started my journey as a parenting worker. Meeting and enrolling my clients while they were pregnant. Through many trainings I learned a lot about pregnancy, birth and the postpartum/newborn time. I became very interested in helping new Moms breastfeed( this did come from a bad personal experience). I became a CLC-certified lactation counselor and worked closely with families on their breastfeeding journey.
It was while I was at the hospital with a mom before and after her Csection, and assisting her in breastfeeding that I first felt I could be doing more. When retelling the story to a coworker she said" you were like her doula".
My next step was taking the DONA International doula training. It was an amazing experience and a positive first step. From there it was adding on different trainings , like comfort measure or advanced doula. Growing my knowledge but also growing in finding the birth-work community. Locally and on line. Learning from the experts in their area.
A few births into being a doula I started to think that some of the birthing persons bodies were not ready for the labor and birth. That got me thinking about how I could help in that area.
I have been doing yoga for years. See my blog on my yogi journey
The addition of certifying in Dancing for Birth was really a wonderful choice. It was a spontaneous purchase that I am so happy I made. Dancing for Birth training helped me break down any body inhibitions I had personally. Now I feel comfortable enough with myself and can help others feels the same. Dancing for Birth also directs a person to pay close attention to how their own body feels and moves naturally.
Listening to people before and during their birth, taking in their fears, anxiety and even just insecurities is my reason for certifying in Reiki. To combine energy and meditation along with calming of birth fears. It has been a wonderful journey with the birthing clients who have taken part in Reiki before and after their births. I hope to make this available to more people.
I look at everything I have learned or trained in over the years; motivational interviewing, ACES , trauma informed care and combine them with birth-work education(countless webinars!) and I feel like I have a varied "tool box" to pull from in order to help any birthing person.
My most recent passion is teaching classes. I've taught Child Birth Education and breastfeeding classes. I am designing a newborn care class that also incorporates temperament and personality to help new parents understand their baby.
My own journey is far from over. I am currently cross certifying with ProDoula for birth doula. And am really enjoying it!
So if you are intereted in hiring a doula start looking at who is available near you. Find a doula that "fits". If you are interested in becoming a doula remember we all came from different backgrounds and came to this profession for different reasons. Take that first step on your own doula journey