To become a doula, you need a doula certification. However, doula work is not regulated by a professional body or association in Australia, but it is our duty to ensure we are informed and educated to carry out the work as a professional birth doula. You can do doula training and certification online or in person via different private training and programs available in your area.
A doula is not a medical provider. We are emotional and physical support. Additionally, we offer education and resources for pregnancy, birth and postpartum time. It is important that we do comprehensive training and study to be a professional and skilled birth doula. It is up to each and one of us to practice professionally, be reliable and offer a trustworthy service. Together we can make doula work a valued and respected profession.
It depends on how you choose to do doula training - generally, it takes between 12 - 24 months but can take longer if you are doing it part-time. You will need to understand the birth and labour process, debriefing and comprehensive listening and communication skills additionally, how to offer physical support during labour and general techniques for physical and mental support. You will also learn how to manage a business and organise clients and how to write forms and contracts to ensure the admin part is well looked after.
Becoming a doula or birth keeper is a calling. It is something of a lifestyle. Something you live and breathe. For this reason, it is important to have guidance and support to become a doula in the early years of birth work. As a doula and birth worker, I know how draining the 'on-call' life can be, and I know it is the leading cause of burnout amongst birth workers. Many are not able to sustain the work long-term.
In the beginning, we often feel worried about meeting the needs of our clients, wondering if we are doing enough and being enough for each woman at each birth. Often, our personality types have a tendency to put ourselves last - which is the big downfall for most birth workers and not at all good for our clients, our personal lives or our livelihood.
Doulas are essential, important and such a gift to women, couples, babies and society. It is vital that we know how to care for ourselves and ensure we are reliable, healthy and well so we can show up and be who the birthing woman needs us to be at any hour of the day. This work should not compromise our mental or physical health. We have to take our well-being very seriously as the work is demanding in ways that are somewhat unusual. Being on-call, working long hours, inability to know or plan our private schedules, and hours of physically supporting women such as holding, hip squeezing, rebozo work, standing, massaging etc., is really taxing. You need to know how to recover well after having supported a birth and how to sustain yourself during births.
My doula work is sacred to me. The couples I support are nurtured and informed, and I do my very best to ensure they feel safe, informed, supported and nurtured by me during our work together. I pour in a lot of dedication, love and commitment to each and every one I am gifted to support.
I wish for you to have a thriving journey and life as a birth worker. I dream of a world where doulas are available to all who wish to have a doula during their pregnancy, birth and postpartum. So, your ability to thrive as a doula is something that is close to my heart. You are such a gift, and if you are feeling the calling to embark on doula work, I am here to cheer you on and support you on your journey.
How you do the little things is how you do the big work, meaning how you start out during study and during your first few years will dictate how well you can succeed and how long you can maintain the work. As doulas, we work independently, and on our own, we may have a backup doula, but the many hours of prenatal meetings and birth support is us holding women and couples - and for us to do that work well and meaningful, we must have a place to debrief, ask questions and feel supported.
Doulas hold and support women, babies and couples - but who holds and support the doula?
Mentoring sessions are done via zoom or phone. I will listen to your needs and requests and support you where you need it. My aim is to always leave you feeling more informed and support you to grow after each session.
Doula mentoring sessions cost $175 and last 60minutes.
Doula mentoring pack of 4 sessions $600 (save $100) that $150 per session.