One of the parts about being a doula and a birth worker I love the most is when someone who is thinking about becoming a doula, or a brand new, just out of training, doula calls me and wants to meet for coffee and to ask me a couple questions. I love their excitement and energy. I remember that excitement, especially before I had attended any births. I also remember being nervous, about starting my doula business and wondering how was I going to get anyone to allow me to support them. Usually these are the kinds of questions I get asked and many more. After meeting with A LOT of new doulas for coffee, I thought it might be a good idea to offer a mentoring program. It would give new doulas, who just completed their training some real experience and knowledge from someone who has been in their shoes and now, after quite a few years and births, has some experience to share.
I feel like its really important to support new doulas and to help them succeed. If we work to lift each other than there will be more doulas who will have grown in a birth worker community feeling nurtured and empowered. This births new doulas into the world with the confidence and tools to serve families well and spread the word of the benefits of doula support, evidence based care, and all possible options during such a special time in life. These doulas also learn to help others in their community as they have benefited, paying it forward in the birth worker community. Just like a family or pregnant person deserves a doula during that miraculous time in their lives to educate, support and guide them. A doula deserves a doula of their own as they transition into the world of birth work. A mentor doesn't just have to be for a new doula either. It can be a great help to someone coming back to birth work after a long hiatus or to a doula who is new to the area. In the program that I designed to mentor doulas can be customized to help and support any doula, in what ever stage they are in in life. It can also be a helpful program if a doula is considering adding or changing services to their practice.
Some of the ways the mentoring program can help a new doula, especially in the very beginning as they are still trying to get their businesses up and running, is to offer support after meeting potential clients, before and after client prenatal visits and before and after births. Questions arise for any doula, new and seasoned alike and it is essential to have a support system of knowledgeable colleagues. For new doulas that have not become established in their area and do not have that support a mentor can offer fill that role and introduce the new doula to a community full of support and resources. It is invaluable to have a mentor's help to process all births, good ones and not so good ones. Having the emotional support through all the stages and phases of learning, building successful practices and growing into seasoned doulas is very important. Finding a mentor can be one of the best ways to start a career in birth work.
The business of birth work and the process of certification are two of the biggest concerns of new doulas. As a mentor that has an established business and has founded a co-op I can offer guidance as a new doula sets up their practice. From contracts, fees and taxes to managing schedules and other logistical concerns, a seasoned doula mentor can offer their experience to help set up a new doula's business. If certification questions arise, or help is needed assembling resources in the community a mentor who has an already established network of resources can be very helpful. A mentor has already gone through the training, understanding the challenges certification can bring and has the experience and knowledge to guide someone through the process.
As is said very often in the world of birth work, every woman deserves a doula and I believe every doula also deserves a doula. Most major training workshops are pretty through but in a couple of days it it just not possible to cover everything. In addition, many potential doulas take trainings outside of the area they plan to serve so they will need people more local for resources, networking, back-up, and so many more things that arise in doula work. A mentor can fill those needs and connect a new doula with a whole community of not only other doulas but midwives, chiropractors, lactation professionals, childbirth educators, prenatal yoga teachers, massage therapists, pelvic floor therapists, and more. As a doula can shorten the length of labor I'm sure a doula mentor shortens the certification process. It is extremely helpful to have access to an experienced doula for all questions, problems, and support as a new doula embarks on their journey through birth work.
If you are interested in hearing more about the doula mentoring program please contact me for a free consultation. I am very interested in meeting you!