How did you know, and then how did you do it? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 4 Old 04-13-2008, 04:32 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi all,

I have been a teacher for 8 years, and while I love my students and teaching in general, I am feeling called to another field. I had a c/s 2.5 years ago and a VBAC w/doula last year. We are planning on TTC later this year or next and I really want a homebirth. In case it is not yet clear, birth has become quite a passion for me! I noticed someone mentioned she is an "accidental birth activist," and this is how I feel too!

Anyway, I am having some struggles in making a career switch. I am thinking possibly becoming a CBE and/or doula, and then, maybe when my kids are older, a midwife. My questions for those of you who already are labor supporters in one way or another (my heroes),
1) how did you make the leap into self-employment? book suggestions?
2) how did you figure out which method to focus on? we were trained in the bradley method by a wonderful teacher, but I have heard some things that make me nervous about signing onto them.

ANY other advice you have about it would be so very welcome. Oh, and for a timeline, I am hoping to teach for one more school year (08-09) while doing some preparation for career change, and then "jumping ship" at that point.

Micaela in Altadena, CA
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#2 of 4 Old 04-13-2008, 01:20 PM
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Sounds like you have a good plan. If you want to be a Doula a good place to start would be to look at the different certifying groups out there. I am a Doula/CBE and Student Midwife, after having 2 college degrees and numerous years working in another field.

I went with CBI (Childbirth International) I personaly liked their approach, it worked with my schedule and fit my needs. I also felt it was overall a comprehensive program. They have a combo Doula/CBE program and I think are soon adding lactation consultants...

In regards to what style to teach... I would say look into the different types and see what fits best for you. I personally hate being tied to any one method. I use hypnobirthing as I am a trained clinical hypotherapist as well, but also use many aspects from the Birthing From Within model, and various other methods as they fit.

I would recommend that you start gathering articles and info that you find of interest for birthing moms. I have a resource notebook for just myself and a notebook I put together for my Doula clients. I would rather give them more info than they needed than not enough.

Books to read.... My favorites and very informative
"Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering" by Sarah J Buckley
"The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth" by Henci Goer
"Rediscovering Birth" by Sheile Kitzinger (grwat fr birth professionals to sink into the roots of birth)

One thing to think about and remmeber is that you will not become a millionare as a Birth worker... Self employement as a Doula takes a lot of effort to first build up a client base. Connct with local doulas and find out how they practice. You might even find a small copperative to connect with that will help you establish yourself.
That being said, I know that what I am doing is the right thing for me, and for my family. I am lucky to have a supportive husband...

Good luck,
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#3 of 4 Old 04-13-2008, 05:16 PM
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Make sure the reality of never having a steady paycheck or consistent work schedule will fit in with your families fiances and style.
It was a process for me to find my place and what i really loved without witnessing the horror of modern American birth, so I trained for a few things in the birth community until i found my tranquil little niche.

I changed careers ( I was in the union as set decorator and prop master working on TV commercials) when my daughter was four years old and in nursery school half a day I went back to college to become a nurse midwife. While in school it dawned on me I was not going to be a midwife or go to births as a labor doula.

The reality of a midwifes life was not right for me or my family and could not do both and remain happily married and raise my child without all the insanity of coordinating and stress. It created a ton of conflict in my marriage for me to go to births in the middle of the night, my husband had a very inflexible high pressured career and zero flexibility at work to meet the needs of taking care of our daughter at night or in the mornings when I was with other families at a birth. I did not really grasp or appreciate the sacrifice to my family life. I also realized how much I truly hated being at labors and witnessing what goes on in a hospital. So i had a miserable family and I hated being in hospitals as a labor doula!

So, I started working as postpartum doula through a service (they just fed me work).

At the same time I studied to be a childbirth educator through International Childbirth Education Association local chapter (NYC/CEA), I wanted to become part of the local community studying with CEA locally at the monthly educational seminars which were fabulous. I also made great contacts and friends in the local birth community that allowed me to build my postpartum doula service ( since 1991 I own a postpartum doula service that employs 13 doulas).

My mentor was a Bradley teacher that was also certified as ICEA educator. I hated teaching childbirth and did not continue teaching (all those sad hosptial births got to me!)

I found my true calling helping women with breastfeeding.
I started studying and doing a few years of the clinical work with Lactation consultants to become a (IBCLC) board certified. Became certified as a postpartum doula with a defunct National association of postpartum care services, now I'm certified with DONA. I like the reach DONA has, they do an excellent job of marketing so i still get many referrals a week from DONA.

I have had the most amazingly wonderful work life as a ppdoula and doula service owner.

Happy trails on your journey,
Most of us working in the birth community became accidental birth & breastfeeding advocates when we became mothers.

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#4 of 4 Old 04-14-2008, 12:51 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks all! This is really good info. I will look into the books/different methodologies.
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