Where do you start? (Doulas) - Mothering Forums

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Old 06-01-2008, 04:54 AM - Thread Starter
 
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After having a wonderful birth with a doula myself, I got the change to be a doula at my friend's birth and i loved it sooo much I decided that is something I really want to do. I've been reading all I can (I printed out that list of books that is stickied). I'm not sure what I should start with. My doula said she started working before she was ever certified and by the time she was ready to get her certification she already had three births lined up (she went through DONA).

How did you start? Did you start attending births before or after you got certified? How do you find clients? When you first start out, do you charge? Should I make a website now or wait until I've had more experience? Any advice is much appreciated.
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Old 06-01-2008, 12:17 PM
 
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After having a wonderful birth with a doula myself, I got the change to be a doula at my friend's birth and i loved it sooo much I decided that is something I really want to do. I've been reading all I can (I printed out that list of books that is stickied). I'm not sure what I should start with. My doula said she started working before she was ever certified and by the time she was ready to get her certification she already had three births lined up (she went through DONA).
Sounds as if you feel the calling!

You are on the right track by reading everything you can. If you choose to be certified, then you do need to attend births before you can certified.

I am getting certified through ALACE and here are the requirements. (I'm a moonlighting doula and a very close to being certified with a full time day job, a toddler and no advertising!)

Requirements to become an ALACE-certified doula:
Participate in a 3-day ALACE workshop
Complete required reading list
• Successfully complete an open-book written exam
• Audit a series of childbirth education classes
• Write six (6) self-evaluations of births you have attended
• Obtain three (3) written evaluations from clients whose births you attended or from people you worked with during birth (i.e. midwives, doctors, nurses, etc.)

Google the other doula organization's website for info about their style, training and certification process.

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How did you start?
doula training, becoming a member of our local doula listserve, going to homebirth meetings and ican meetings, reading, attending birthing events, lectures.

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Did you start attending births before or after you got certified?
yup, Hope to be certified by the fall.

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How do you find clients?
The doula listserve, word of mouth and MDC/my tribe. Go to vista.com to get business cards!

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When you first start out, do you charge?
I suggest 2 days of babysitting and parking fees but leave it open to the parents. Once I am certified I will charge $500-$600. This is competitive where I live.

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Should I make a website now or wait until I've had more experience? Any advice is much appreciated.
Go for it!!! You can always change content as you develop your practice.
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Old 06-01-2008, 05:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I've looked at several different organizations (ALACE, DONA, CBI, CAPPA, BA, ICEA, BFW) and I like CBI the best, but when you google the wood "doula" the only thing that comes up is DONA and i think that's pretty important because that's how a lot of people are going to find their doula.... that's how i found mine anyway!

So i'm torn between CBI and DONA.

coobabysmom,
How did you find meetings and lectures in your area? I always go to the Babies R Us meetings..heh.

Another thing, is I'd like to work primarily with pregnant teens. I was thinking about talking to school councilors and giving them flyers or something like that, for them to give to the girls (THAT ARE ALREADY PREGNANT... before a bunch of you get onto me for promoting teen pregnancy) Any thoughts on other ways to go about that?
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Old 06-01-2008, 06:32 PM
 
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Crisis pregnancy centers in your area, the health department

and FYI most people Google doula"their town" and that pulls up whomever is in their town (if they know how to advertise correctly, that is)

there are many orgs, yes DONA spends the most on advertising themselves. I don't think that necessarily means they are the best at training, however.. IMO they are also the most mainstream. I'm not trying to start a debate about who is or isn't best. You should choose based on philosophy, support, whats available to you, fits your lifestyle and cost.

I went with a training org that was most in line with my beliefs about what normal birth is, and how to empower women to get the births they want and support them when that isn't possible.

I trained with ALACE, btw. CBI looks similar

Carrie, The Birthteacher CCE and Doula, real mom to five; and womb-mom to G. born at 23w by emergency C. 12/09
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Old 06-01-2008, 06:33 PM
 
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Mama to 9 so far:Mother of Joey (20), Dominick (13), Abigail (11), Angelo (8), Mylee (6), Delainey (3), Colton (2) and Baby 8 and Baby 9 coming sometime in July 2013.   If evolution were true, mothers would have three arms!

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Old 06-01-2008, 10:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Crisis pregnancy centers in your area, the health department

and FYI most people Google doula"their town" and that pulls up whomever is in their town (if they know how to advertise correctly, that is)

there are many orgs, yes DONA spends the most on advertising themselves. I don't think that necessarily means they are the best at training, however.. IMO they are also the most mainstream. I'm not trying to start a debate about who is or isn't best. You should choose based on philosophy, support, whats available to you, fits your lifestyle and cost.

I went with a training org that was most in line with my beliefs about what normal birth is, and how to empower women to get the births they want and support them when that isn't possible.

I trained with ALACE, btw. CBI looks similar
That sounds like a good philosophy. Thanks.

Did you start attending births before you were certified or did you wait until after?
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Old 06-01-2008, 10:50 PM
 
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coobabysmom,
How did you find meetings and lectures in your area? I always go to the Babies R Us meetings..heh.
yahoo meet up groups & listserv, pre-natal yoga studios, doula friends, my chiropractor, mdc/my tribe.

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Another thing, is I'd like to work primarily with pregnant teens. I was thinking about talking to school councilors and giving them flyers or something like that, for them to give to the girls (THAT ARE ALREADY PREGNANT... before a bunch of you get onto me for promoting teen pregnancy) Any thoughts on other ways to go about that?
Look to your local hospital to see how they support this community. There might be an opportunity for you to volunteer or more. The must be not-for-profits in your area serving this community too...
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Old 06-01-2008, 11:42 PM
 
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I attended a few before I was certified, but I was a certified CCE at that point and the training wasn't any new information in my case (other then the priceless working with other women, the palpitation exercises and the discussions/suggestions on handling working with the occasional less-then-compassionate hospital attendants.)

If you aren't planning on being certified or doing a training, picking the brains of locals who work in the environment you want to work in is essential. Do this before you begin attending births.

Carrie, The Birthteacher CCE and Doula, real mom to five; and womb-mom to G. born at 23w by emergency C. 12/09
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Old 06-01-2008, 11:43 PM
 
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actually if you already work with teens some crisis centers will TRAIN or pay for your doula training.

and I wanted to thank you for your questions today. I was so upset over something in my life (duh-a pregnant teen that I am geographically too far away to effectively support during labor) that I narrowly began forgetting about all the teens that are RIGHT HERE who I can support--tomorrow.

Carrie, The Birthteacher CCE and Doula, real mom to five; and womb-mom to G. born at 23w by emergency C. 12/09
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Old 06-02-2008, 03:33 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Rockies5 View Post
actually if you already work with teens some crisis centers will TRAIN or pay for your doula training.

and I wanted to thank you for your questions today. I was so upset over something in my life (duh-a pregnant teen that I am geographically too far away to effectively support during labor) that I narrowly began forgetting about all the teens that are RIGHT HERE who I can support--tomorrow.
What is CCE?

... Your welcome. I know, it sucks you can't help everyone. When i was with my first client i could hear a woman in the other room screaming in agony for 6 hours straight. I wanted to run in there to her rescue.
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Old 06-02-2008, 02:48 PM
 
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I was trained in an extensive doula training program. I also did DONA training.
I dont certify.
I started by shadowing very experienced doulas. I highly recommend this. It was the best thing Ive done for my doulaing. I have also had those doulas act as mentors to me. I always debreif births with them(even still I am done my 7 month training) and I know I can call them at 4 in the morning when a baby is asynclitic and stuck at 7cm and the docs are talking caesarean and Im out of ideas, and they will put me back on track and help me think. It is always a good idea to team up with a more experienced doula.

I have been doulaing for 8 months or more. I have attended a number of births. I work primarily with volunteer clients, and I still do not have a website. I refuse to promote myself as a professional until I am. I will start working with more paying clients, I will charge a professional rate, and I will start promoting myself with a website in September after having completed a DONA course, my 28 week course, and attended at least 15 births.

That is just my way of going about things. I am a student doula for a year, intensively, work for little or no money, with tough clients under mentorship and then I will be, and promote myself as, a professional after that year is up.
That being said I take my work very seriously, and it means a lot that I am good at it and very respected in the hospitals. Our doulas are recommended to clients by their physicians because we have a reputation as being well trained, non-combative, friendly doulas, who work in a team with the doctors nurses, midwives etc.

That is the way it has worked for me. This is not neccessarily the best way for you, or other doulas. Doula work is different for everybody, and much like midwifery there are many paths. Some doulas work part time, or occaisionally, and some have it as their primary work and source of income. Some people can afford to spend more time training and some less. It depends on the kind of doula you want to be, and what you feel is right for you.
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Old 06-02-2008, 04:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you very much for sharing that, Sage.

I've considered asking my doula if I could go with her with some of her clients (with their permission of course) but I wasn't sure if people ever did that. So thanks! I would think being there first hand would be the best way to learn.
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Old 06-03-2008, 02:00 AM
 
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I just wanted to add a very valuable website for someone looking into becoming a doula. It's been great with helping me to get my business started and share with many other doulas www.alldoulas.com Good luck! It's an awesome adventure.

proud mama to: DD (8/02), DS (12/03), DS (11/06), DS (9/09) and pos.gif EDD 11/1

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Old 06-03-2008, 02:23 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I just wanted to add a very valuable website for someone looking into becoming a doula. It's been great with helping me to get my business started and share with many other doulas www.alldoulas.com Good luck! It's an awesome adventure.
wow jackpot. thanks!!
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