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Live vs. Distance training? Only have one live workshop option but not sure if DONA is for me...

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Greetings doula mamas! I am planning on starting doula training early 2014- but I have to decide which route to go. I'm sure this question has been posed before, but I still have to decide between live vs distance learning (which would ultimately determine which program I go with).


I have looked into DONA, CAPPA, CBI and Birth Arts. DONA does a live workshop in my area once a year and this year it is in May. My initial reaction was to go with DONA because of the hands-on/ connecting with other trainees aspect. However, after considering my Doula friend's experience (trained with DONA about 5 or 6 years ago, lives in another state) and some of what i am reading in the forums, I'm not so sure. My friend realized too late (already in training) what some of DONA's policies were that she didn't agree with. because of this conflict she finished her training but never became certified- and that seems like a common occurrance  with DONA trainees? She states to her clients and on her site why she didn't get certified and it doesn't seem to discourage potential clients, however she lives in a much larger & doula-friendly community than I do! I feel like I would like to be certified just to be able to present that to the community. 


If it had nothing to do with "live" training, I would say I relate most to Birth Arts. I've heard both they and CAPPA are way more open in their policies. DH thinks I should go with the live one for the reasons I stated, So I am curious what their workshops are actually like. I have given birth three times myself, BF, have witnessed births, and I am friends with a long-practicing CNM (she delivered all my boys). I am a self-directed learner. I am wondering if a live workshop is not as important if I have a decent amount of direct experience and a mentor to go to. I would like to connect with other doulas in my area (It seems like there are only a few in my city! But the city next door has a lot more, that is where the training is).


What training did you go with? pros and cons? live training vs. distance learning? Policy differences?




Thank you! 

Edited by mamakitsune - 12/12/13 at 2:30pm
post #2 of 8

That's very exciting that you'll be starting doula training soon. I don't have any personal experience to share, but it looks like your post might have been missed, so I'm bumping it up for attention. :bump: I hope others will chime in and share their experiences with live or distance doula training.

post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thank you HappyMommy-  I have thought more about it and researched more and despite seeing the value in a live training I think I may go with one of the online organizations because they resonate with me more. I am interested to hear other's experiences with any of the doula training programs out there :)

post #4 of 8
I did training with DONA. I wanted to make local connections that would help me get involved and find births where I could volunteer. For those reasons, the local class worked for me. However, it was more expensive and I haven't finished my certification. Maybe if I had taken a distance class with different requirements, I would have been able to complete my certification. Many doulas work successfully for many years without certification, but it seems important to me. I am not familiar with the policy issues people have with DONA, but I have heard rumblings about it. I'm not too concerned at this point. I think I will just list all the trainings and experience I have when I need to. My area has a Yahoo group for doulas that is very helpful. Maybe there is one for your area too. Good luck!
post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thank you PokeyAC- I wish there was another live workshop available nearby other than DONA, but I can't find any. I thought being able to connect with other future doulas would be nice. I think between the distance training, having a mentor in/ connections through my CNM friend, and attending a live childbirth education class locally as well as breastfeeding support groups etc (I am thinking of taking the breastfeeding educator course through BAI if I go that route, I think. My CNM told me that there is a  need for BF mentoring in her clients/ our community as well), I will have hands-on/live experience as well as meeting other birth workers in the community.


When I looked at past local DONA trainings in my area, it seemed there were always around 10 trainees per session (once a year) and out of those only two or three per group are actually working doulas or continued their training (midwifery school) now. I wonder if it is because of the requirements? I keep hearing a lot dona trainees/doulas say the part of having to get all the written reviews by doctors/midwives/nurses was their major stumbling block, and a reason why many never completed the cert. process. The major reason I could see going with DONA was if I was planning on going to one of the NW midwifery schools, which I am not at this time in my life. I suppose I could alway's re-train through them years down the road if I wanted to go that route! it is something to consider, though. Hmm.

post #6 of 8

Concerns for certification are real and justified.  Do as much research as you can...



post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 

Janet- I am pretty sure I am going with BAI (starting in January). Their program best aligns with my values and interests and I have found a lot of positive feedback about the program. One of the things I did not feel comfortable with regarding DONA was the eval requirements. I can relate to the blog post you shared- I was wondering the same thing. I have personally had a birth where my midwife arrived 10 minutes be for my DS was born (it was a FAST labor, I had him a half hour after I arrived), and I've heard similar stories- the OB showing up just in time to deliver, then checking in briefly later. How do they have ANY idea how to give feedback about your work as a doula? What if they do not relate to what you do? What if they are too busy to get around to filling out the eval? I keep hearing those stories from people who had that requirement for their certs. I think the important feedback comes from the mama, the parents, people you have a direct and ongoing working relationship with. 


Certification isn't my motivation for training although I do wish to attain it, I want to go through training for the structure, learning, experience, and mentoring. BAI requires 5 births for certification, and give you a longer time frame to work with, and don't require the same evals. I also do not want to wait til nearly June to begin (when the once a year DONA training in our area is), My close friend and mentor who is a CNM may be retiring from doing births in the next year or two, and she is one of my supports in this :)



I have been looking more into CPM school (for well into the future, I'm not in a hurry) and I don't think all of the schools prereqs are like the ones I was looking into originally. Still have more investigating to do ;)

post #8 of 8

I wouldn't take any training workshop until you resolve which certifying body your current values line up with. If you want to train ASAP training and not certify. DONA does have the most general public recognition so that might be the way to go.

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