I don't know what the rest of the world calls it, but J and I refer to being a doula as "douling". Douling is fully what I intend to do with my life. I've never felt great when telling people I work for the government or that I'm a biologist, but the idea of telling people I'm a doula and help women during childbirth is thrilling. It makes me smile. And that's how I know it's something I need to do.
It was almost a year ago that I realized I wanted to be a doula. Being with women through their labour, hopefully helping them realize their plans for birth, really appeals to me.
I finally made my plans known last March and signed up for a course in November. I got a bit nervous before the course because half of me was sure I was going to get there and realize it wasn't for me, but that didn't happen.
The course was a full weekend: Friday evening, all day Saturday and all day Sunday. It was held at the instructor's house and there were 8 of us plus her. We sat in her living room on couches, drank tea and ate snacks. It was very intimate but very structured and professional at the same time.
I left the training with lots of information, lots of motivation and inspiration, and a full heart. I went in as me and came out as a trained birth doula, ready to attend births.
Anyone can attend births and be a doula but there are a number of things you have to do to become certified which is what I plan to do. I feel that being certified is important for ensuring people that I'm serious and am backed by an international organization. It also makes me more comfortable charging for my services.
Now that I've taken the course, I still have a lot of things to do before I can apply for certification. I have to do a breastfeeding support component, attend a childbirth class and put together a reference list, I have to do finish the required readings and write an essay about why I want to be a doula and what it means to be one, I have to attend births and get references from my clients and the health care professionals who attend as well.
The first few births I attend, those to be used towards my certification, I will be charging only expenses. I wasn't going to charge anything but my trainer said that, while that may be honourable, there was no reason to put myself in the hole just to be certified. It's like when a company pays for you to be trained.
Right now I am working on developing my business - getting the paperwork ready, getting my resources together, and getting myself out there. I bought memberships to DONA International and Doula CARE. It's an exciting time. I can't wait to start attending births. This is what I was meant to do.