I'm all about local; supporting local small business, eating local, limiting the time in my car. Yet, in April, I went almost 3000 km (that is about 1864 miles) for doula training. Why, you ask? Well, let me tell you!
My Doula Back Story
I first heard about doulas shortly after our first child was born in 2007. A new friend had one at her birth and raved about it...then another friend, and another! We hired Lisa as our doula for our second birth and she was amazing. Fast forward a few years and a new city, I knew I wanted to be a doula. I wanted to be a support for families during their births. We have local training with an organization, but there was always something not right with the timing...after 4 session passed by without me attending, I found Birth Boot Camp and decided it was right for me to become one of their certified natural birth instructors. During my training in Texas, they told us about Birth Boot Camp DOULAS, a new doula certification program they were rolling out. I LOVED EVERYTHING ABOUT IT! So much so, that I enrolled in December for their April training.
Birth Boot Camp DOULAS Training is Centralized
Yes, I had to travel, as did half of the class, but it really gives you time to focus! I'm there in class from 8 am to 10 pm...it's real. I used points for airfare and shared a room with a woman who was a stranger and now is an amazing hero to me, making the trip really quite reasonable. Almost everyone stayed at the hotel. DFW airport is a busy airport making it accessible to all and the hotel had a shuttle to go back and forth. There's plenty of food choices around...this may be the one area I should have spent more money on as it was hard getting good veggies in my body. The hotel has breakfast, so it was a quick lunch and dinner break to find food.
Luckily, Birth Boot Camp had scheduled a retreat for their instructors and doulas right after the training, so I got to attend it as well! More to come later about this...
Birth Boot Camp DOULAS Do Pre-Work
I spent almost 5 months completing my pre-training requirements. You can find the exact list here of Birth Boot Camp DOULA requirements, but it involved reading a number of books ranging from childbirth to postpartum care to being a leader. A short summary with how these books applied to being a doula was required. There was also a study guide broken down into segments for us to answer questions and really compile all our knowledge. There is a pre-certification Facebook group that you are entered into once you apply and pay your fee. Being able to bounce questions off the others in training was valuable.
We were required to attend two consecutive breastfeeding support groups. I chose a La Leche League breastfeeding support group and loved every minute of it. Not only was hearing where women were having success and struggling in breastfeeding a great way to understand how I can help them in my doula practice, I also made a great contact with a local Naturopathic Doctor with a focus in Women's Health. Another great perk was viewing the Birth Boot Camp breastfeeding video. I have access to it already and know it well as I provide it to my Birth Boot Camp students, but for those that aren't instructors, its a great resource to have and sell as part of your package! Videos are awesome resources for parents come the middle of the night if they are struggling!
Birth Boot Camp DOULAS gives all their doulas in training access to their online childbirth classes. With many other certifications, you have to take one out of pocket...its included in their price!
Finally, the only piece that isn't included in our fee is the Blood Borne Pathogen course that is required. I did mine very easily and inexpensively through OSHA. Knowing how to prevent blood borne disease is so important as part of self-care!!
Birth Boot Camp DOULAS Get Great Trainers
Not only are the trainers fabulously experienced and know how to be a successful doula...they also are the creators of the content! This means that they know it and it hasn't been filtered or altered!! Amanda Devereux of Nola Nesting and Maria Pokluda of Great Expectations Birth come from different places as far as how they operate and their personalities...and they use this to our advantage! You get two viewpoints yet the core reasoning behind their skills are very similar. They are "career doulas" and want their students to have a doula business that is sustainable in a way that works for each individual.
Maria helps people "have happy birth days" and Amanda helps people to "own it"! Nancy is the certification administrator and is super helpful clarifying and keeping everyone on track. We had an amazing breastfeeding intensive course built into the program too!
Birth Boot Camp DOULAS Run a Sustainable Practice
Sustainability has always been a part of my business goals, but this program really brought it home. There is more to running a great business that just showing up. They helped to me to see my value and to ask for payment that reflects my value. I'm a newer doula, but I bring a lot to the table. I also will be giving up time with my family, so I need to be able to balance my family with a pay cheque. Money is always a hard topic, but Amanda and Maria keep you talking and thinking.
As a doula, my role is to provide relational and physical support for the mother and her partner. The education piece is very important and taking a childbirth class is one of the best things a couple can do together to be on the same page and get set-up for success. This will allow the doula to focus on building trust, listening to the mom and her partner and assisting them as best as she can in a way they need.
Birth Boot Camp DOULAS Have a Modern Take on Doula Work
The good news, there technically aren't any certified births required, you leave training after completing all your pre-work and have passed the exam, as a certified doula. We teach women that there is a wide variation of normal, so not every birth will be the same and may not fit within the realm of a certifiable birth. What is different is the clients are sent an evaluation form that is sent back to the Birth Boot Camp DOULA team for review. They have the choice of whether or not it is to be shared with their doula. The point of this is feedback and learning. The Birth Boot Camp team offers mentorship with feedback from the most important people...our clients!
Birth Boot Camp DOULAS are Awesome
The varied women showing up to training were awesome; I've made friends for life and have people I can discuss my business with that support me. From brand new to very experienced, every person contributed to my learning. Learning to build trust through active listening was humbling and powerful. Practicing empathy has an impact beyond my professional life. We have beautiful materials to share with our clients to provide them with support and information. If you are looking for ways to save for a doula and a childbirth education class, check out my posts on why it's worth it and how to save money!
I am so proud to be a certified Birth Boot Camp DOULA! If you are in the Calgary, or surrounding area, please contact me to set-up a free interview. Looking for a Birth Boot Camp natural childbirth class? You are going to have an AMAZING birth!
With Love & Light,