Education Gives You More Tools – Doula Series Ep. 9

By: Care Messer Birth Doula, Doulas, Education April 11, 2019


You just got out of your doula training, the phone isn’t ringing yet and now what??? It’s time to set up your business, read, learn and start educating yourself on all things birth! In this video you will see how a group of doulas evolved from feeling almost frantic about the journey ahead, into feeling confident and excited to begin working for themselves and serving families with supportive women behind them. When you are beginning anything new in your life, it’s a bit overwhelming and can feel like too much. BUT – there have been others before you and they have done it – SO YOU CAN TOO! Setting up your own business is the simple part – it’s a step by step process. There are classes in your community you can take or YouTube tutorials you can watch for taxes, social media and web design(web sights are SO easy now AND you need one) a basic template is fine until you get bigger or have more experience to change things up. Families just need to find you. But while the phones not ringing – LEARN, READ, work on your CERTIFICATION and LEARN some more! Start gathering the tools and references in your brain that you will need for interviews and to help your families in their birth. Education and certification is what sets you apart as a professional. Learn from other women and find your like-minded peers and continue to build community together!

Video Transcript:

My biggest fear about becoming a doula, is that when the birthing couple looks at me, like, what should we do next? I’m gonna say, I don’t know!

– Before the first class of our last professional doula series, we ask all the doulas to come in and tell us what their biggest fears were about doula work, as a beginner, or starting a doula business. And, here’s what they said. Taxes, I know nothing about them, how do I work that? I don’t know how to run a business, how do I do that? What if I fail? And, what if I succeed? I’m not enough, and I don’t think I have all the tools I need to do this work. So, the footage we’re gonna use today is taken from our professional doula series, which at the center, we offer three to four times a year. And whatever you have access to in your own community, or people that are traveling around, or what you can find online, it’s so important to keep building those skills and confidence, and find other women you can work with. Also, when you’re finding other women in your community that you can educate yourself with, you’re building each others skill set, business, like-minded thinking, and when we build each other, we all thrive. First, if you’re building your business, you wanna take some business classes if you don’t know anything about building a business, taxes classes, so that you know the ins and outs of what’s going on in your state or country, SEO classes so you know how to build your website, web design if you don’t know anything about that, or find a pretty simple templated site that you can build something very simply, because right now it’s easy to build a website. And then, social media classes, you need to have a strong online presence, and so do the women that you work with. When you’re sharing and working together you build all your SEO. And if you don’t know what SEO stands for, it’s search engine optimization. It’s basically how Google and the inter webs find you and network you with other like-minded birth professionals. And then, there’s classes you take on building tools for more confidence. So, rebozo training, a spinning babies training, extra breastfeeding training, finding a mentor doula to help tweak what you already know, postpartum classes, baby wearing, all those things are gonna help build your skills and be more productive for your parents. And, if you know that there’s something really amazing, that you’re really drawn to, like boobs, and you wanna be an IBCLC, or baby wearing, and you wanna be a professional baby wearing instructor, then start to build the foundation for all the little classes you’re gonna need, and books you should be reading now, and articles and websites you should be keeping up to date on, so that when you get to that end goal, you already have a really good, solid, foundation. Building on your passion is what’s gonna make you money in the long run, and also show through to your parents that that’s what you’re good at. So, if an IBCLC is where you’re going with boob work, but right now you can’t afford it or don’t have the time, start building those blocks to get there. So, just like the new doulas coming in to the series feeling fears about starting a doula business, or doing doula work in general, we all feel that way when we come in to doula work. We feel that way when we start a new job. We feel nervous, and that’s okay. We come in to about four basic fears with anything we start that’s new. We feel inadequate, we’re feeling like we’re pushed out of our comfort zone, we’re afraid to fail in public, and we feel like we’re not enough. There’s nothing new about that. We feel that all the time in our lives. It’s new, we feel nervous. That’s normal. So, how do we break that down? You’re not inadequate, you just don’t have a lot of experience and confidence yet. We can work on that with education. You’re out of your comfort zone. You gain confidence and feel more comfortable when you learn more about the profession. Simple. You’re not gonna fail in public, you’re going to trip up, you’re gonna make mistakes, and then you’re gonna go, I’m gonna learn that differently next time, and I’m gonna feel differently about it because I’m gonna get the education around it. We make mistakes. That’s not a failure. And then, we’re always enough just by being who we are, because there’s always somebody that needs what we have to offer. We have to come in to any kind of interview, any kind of birth, with a clearness, because we’re holding space for a baby that is pure delicious yummyness. And so, when we come in with, I’m fine, I’m gonna be, like, that is gone when it comes to birth work. We can’t be something we’re not, and we don’t have experience with everything. Ashley does, though.

– That’s not true!

– Took exactly what I was gonna say. I don’t care if you have done 10 births, 100 births, 150, there are doulas in this community who have done 500 plus births. They do not know everything. They are still learning. And when you stop wanting to continue and grow and learn, and you start thinking you know everything about every topic, you should not be doing this work anymore, because it’s not true.

– No.

– No, there is not, I don’t care if you’re brand new or you’ve been doing this for 10 years, there is no doula in the world who knows everything about everything.

– Absolutely.

– So do not be intimidated by what you don’t know. It’s an opportunity to learn.

– We’re not gonna go from brand new doula, to knowing what someone has, when they’ve been doing it for 15 years. But we’re enough for who we need to be in that moment. So, after class one, we ask them to write down what they felt at the end of getting a little bit more education. And, you’re gonna see, that even just with a little bit of education with a group of women, the feelings about themselves started to shift. Now, you know that I’m an educator and then I’m a doula. Even though I’m both, I’m addicted to education, and I can’t stop getting enough. So, the coolest thing about going in to an online class, going to an in person class, is not only are you getting amazing information from that instructor, that you’re taking copious notes on, you may be tested for it later, but if you will have your ears and eyes open to what the women around you are saying, what are their tips, what are their tricks, what has their life experience taught them? Write those down. You get so much information and wisdom when women gather. And sometimes, that adds even more to that training. You get a big bang for your buck. For example, when we started class three, it was the comfort measures class, and we asked the women what their level of comfort was with providing touch for comfort for moms in labor. Their level of comfort was relatively low just from lack of practice and use. By the end of class, we had practiced using so many skills, with so many different body types, heights, preferences, and we learned so much from each other, that the confidence level with the women jumped from eight to 10 range, instead of four to five range. Women are powerful, and the more we learn from each other, the better we are. Of course, somebody brought delicious vulva bread, and I had to share it. So, another cool part with continuing education, especially with other women we’re finding in our community, is we’re discovering that we all have the same questions, we all have the same inadequacies, and we start to shift for more compassion for ourselves, and for others, and where they’re coming from. We need each other. And, we build better, and we retain more, when there’s other people that are learning the exact same stuff as we are. We’re also gonna see how other people apply it in our line of work, and we’re gonna learn from each other that way. Education is so powerful. Another thing that’s really important about getting more certifications, more education classes, and stuff, is that it expands our mind to accept different ideas. Go with the flow of the continual science education, because we need to be evidence based in all of our teaching, and all of our sharing with each other, especially when it comes to our parents, and we’re only gonna get that evidence based stuff, and break old myths and old habits that we’ve had, if we continue to learn. As professionals, this is what our parents are paying for. And, what sets a professional doula apart, is that she’s constantly growing and trying to improve, pushing out of her comfort zone and learning, accepting new ideas, maybe changing old behaviors and habits, and always strengthening other women in her community. No competition. We are in this together. And, we’re trying to build. What you’ll find as you gather more skills, and learning from the people in the community, is you’re gonna gain a lot more power and skills within your self. And, with power comes confidence. And, right now, you may feel inadequate, and still filled with worries, and nervous, and all the things, but listen to what these doulas found after they got some education, and found their community.

– I think the things that have been the biggest confidence builders for me, have been, obviously, all of the information that we’ve shared. But really, the kicker is that I just need to be there for the mama. Hold that space for her, and everything else will just come naturally.

– So, throughout the class series, we were told that you are enough, that we are enough as people, to become doulas. And, I heard that, and I believed that, but I’m a learner that needs to hear and then do. And so, I really didn’t really get the confidence that I can and will be a doula, until I attended my first birth. And, I got to use all the skills that I had learned in both my DONA training and in the birth education classes, and I realized, I can do this! I can be a doula. And so, that first birth is something that I’ll never forget, and I have a ton to learn and, you know, so many things that I maybe wish I could have done differently, but being there, and getting to support this mom successfully was that moment where I realized, all right, I can keep doing this.

– I learned that it’s essential to work through my own fears surrounding birth, my own pregnancy, and any kind of biases I have around birth, and through working that, put that aside, so that I can be the best doula to my mama, and also knowing that I already have all the tools I need and I’m enough.

– So, pick your classes, get education around your passion, develop that passion, and find your community. When you have community and you’re educated, everybody thrives.

About the author:
Care is the founder of the Birth Education Center, San Diego HypnoBirthing and Cuddle Sanctuary San Diego. She is a Birth Educator, Hypnotherapist, Birth and Postpartum Doula, INNATE Care Provider, Erotic Blueprint Coach and also professional Cuddler. She specializes in connection work between people and increasing self boundaries for a more balanced life together.