10 Tips for Becoming a Doula

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1.  Investigate training organizations. They are not all the same. Some of the organizations are not-for-profit associations and some are businesses. Some offer certification programs and some don’t.  Which organization’s training is likely to have your client services covered by third party payers?  Which training organization will allow you the freedom to practice your own way but still protects you, your clients and the caregivers?  Which has the best reputation?  Which organizations qualify for liability insurance coverage?  Whose philosophy best matches your own?

2. Don’t necessarily take the first/closest/soonest local training you find.  Do your due dilligence.  If you are looking at becoming a doula as a career and need the training to do so, don’t rush into it.  Make sure the workshop fits your long term goals and make sure your learning style is supported in the classroom.   Maybe check into the post-training support offered and the rationale behind how that is handled.  Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.  #slowdown

3. Compare costs.  Some workshops don’t seem that expensive and others do.  Some break down the fees over time and some don’t. Are you going to choose a workshop based on cost?  Why is there such a price difference?

4.  Talk to each trainer that you are considering working with.  Do they return calls/email promptly?  Do you have any questions for them?  Can they provide references?  How long have they been training with their particular group?  Note, you will learn best if you really engage with.  Are they actively working as a doula and how many births do they do each year?  #livingthelife

5.  Find out how many days the course that you are considering runs and how long is spent in class each of those days.  Comprehensive courses get it done sooner, but how much do you retain?  Consider information overload; it is a real thing.  The reality is that you do get a training manual (make sure you do!) but the vast majority of doulas do not read it nor reference it.  It is a shame, there is good information, but the course days are so busy and when you get back to real life, it just doesn’t happen.  How much information will you remember from the workshop if you try to do too much, too quickly?  Longer is not necessarily better.  Shorter isn’t either.

6.  Meet with local doulas, in person.  Ask questions about their own training and certification.  Ask about their workshop experience.  If they work through an agency or collective, find out if they accept doulas from the organization you are considering working with.   Find out about #mentorship.

7.  Take your time to do the prerequisite work.  If you want to last in the profession, don’t rush it.  Read the books, take the extra courses suggested.  It will make the workshop that much more engaging. #birthbooks

8.  Be wary of online doula forums.  There are a lot of them and they are not always positive learning environments for the new doula.  Be choosy or ask your trainer if there is one or two you can start with before your workshop.  #birthpro

9.  Don’t purchase training  or association memberships or certification packets online until after your workshop.  Make sure you have all the information about this before getting started.

10.  Relax a little.  There’s still a lot of work ahead but there always will be.  You’ve done the preliminary work, now enjoy where you are.  #breathe 

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