You were so fired up to begin the doula training course and did a lot of reading beforehand. You loved the course, admired the people around you, loved their passion and the spirit of community in your class. You felt like you were among friends in a room full of people you just met. You could not wait to get your first client. You are still a member of a few dozen birth professional social media groups, some good, some less inspiring and some awesome.
Summer came and went. And here we are, months later and nothing. You have not even spoken to your fellow students, though, you can see that they have upcoming clients from their posts. What happened with you?
Life got in the way. Things got busy. Priorities shifted. But the calling and the passion are still there. And now, you are looking around and wondering how to reignite the fire.
Two decades ago, most trainings happened in your home community under one umbrella organization. The doulas would have regular, in person, monthly meetings. The groups became friends and people socialized with their families and everything was centred around birthworkers and the fire stayed lit. Eventually, some of the doulas would move on in different directions and new doulas from recent workshops would move in. There was a constant ebb and flow of energy and enthusiasm.
Today, most doulas, train outside of their home communities with a variety of groups with a distinct difference in the priorities of the work itself. Doulas meet online, attend webinars and virtual conferences. They exchange ideas and opinions online and without tone, feeling, or emotion (unless it gets heated) and feel judged expressing themselves so many stay quiet. The problem is we can’t go back and there doesn’t seem to be a forward button just yet.
The First Step
Each doula must create her own group of people to talk to and rely on. It sometimes takes a little extra effort to go out and meet doulas in the community. Finding people who have the same core values and standards of practice can be tough, but those doulas are out there. Certainly, if they are not, because of where you live, but you know someone who would be great to work with, encourage them to take the course and team up with you.
If you are feeling uninspired and the fire has gone out, reconnect with your trainer or one or two people from your group. Take the course again or start looking for your people within your Provincial or State Association.
Doulas, like midwives, are a global community. We can rely on colleagues near and far for much of what we do. It takes a village to raise a doula and some of the villagers need to be within arm’s reach.
The Second Step
Go to a birth. Find a way. You don’t need to meet the OBs or the midwives, you don’t have to bring them gifts to remember you. You can, but ultimately, you are looking for pregnant women. Remember, there are lots of ways to foster connections with potential clients and there are more pregnant people than careproviders. Put your energy into the right group.
The spark is there, you just have to to make time to fire it up and keep it burning.