If you want to become a doula then just go for it.
I started working as a doula before I knew it had a name. It was years later when I found out you could charge people for attending their births and that the doula profession existed.
My first birth I volunteered to attend, because I did not want a woman I had just befriended to give birth alone. Her husband was out of the country working, so I told her that I would be there. I even attended childbirth classes with her.
I knew nothing about childbirth — I was in my 20’s, single, and really never thought much about it…Life is amazing! One moment can really have a powerful ripple effect. I will honestly tell you that I missed the first phone call to come to the hospital, but I woke up on the second call and made it in time to witness the epidural being put it.
When it was time for pushing I remember offering encouragement, because of fetal distress the doctor expressed that perhaps forceps might be needed. I felt and said to the mom that she could do this, and with some assistance from the vacuum the baby was born. That was the first birth I supported some one.
After that birth other women asked me to attend their births. I became known as the person that knew something about birth —
So how do you become a doula?
Many training and certification programs exist to teach doulas. However, you can just start as a doula as I did saying I will be there, because I don’t want you to give birth alone or without support. That was a really great start to my journey as a doula.
I have more tips to offer you through the CPI Doula Training Certification program, but just know if you truly want to be a doula it doesn’t take more than just being present and offering support. Before I ever took a training these are the things that I did to support pregnant women and you are off to a great start if you give them a try:
- Attend childbirth classes with expectant mother
- Listen to her
- Spend time with her
- Encourage her
- Comfort her
- During labor encourage her to rest when possible
- Take pictures
- Let her talk about the birth experience with you
- Offer support to the father or other family members present
- Help after the birth in any way you can