By Sophie Brigstocke
Are you waiting for a perfect moment to train to become a doula? For the kids to start school, to have left your 9-5 day job, for your redundancy to be confirmed, for your family to need you less, for your friends to validate your choice, to get pregnant, to leave midwifery, to have more experience in birth work …?
Something that surprises so many of the doulas who sit in our nurturing space on day one of a Nurturing Birth doula training course is when I say something along the lines of:
“You thought you were here to learn how to be a doula …
but I’m not going to teach you how to be a doula because you already are one.”
Taking a doula course is not about learning how to become an identikit doula. No Nurturing Birth doula is the same. Rather, it is about having time together to explore the boundaries of the doula role, to consider the expectations of ourselves and our clients, to consider what we know about pregnancy, birth and the postnatal period and to reflect on our own stories. You cannot teach the inherent qualities that most Nurturing Birth doulas have in abundance: compassion, empathy, respect, humility, nurturing.
If a doula training course is about exploration – about taking time to feel into the stories, beliefs and ideas – then there is no need to wait for a perfect time because any time you give yourself to explore these areas of your life leads into further enquiry, self-reflection and development. The beautiful thing about a Nurturing Birth doula course is that there is no time pressure to go out and be a doula professionally. Some people take the full six/nine months (depending on which course they choose) to complete their post-course work and then further months or even years before they start seeking clients.
Doulaing is learning for life … we never stop … with every client, on every course, with every book we read, in every conversation with other doulas or health professionals, on study days, workshops and conferences, in our mentoring sessions, and even on social media!
I want to see anyone who has that doula fire burning inside them encouraged and empowered because there are so many people out there who really need doula support. I want to see the doula message spread wider so that having a doula is accessible to all, accepted across the board and welcomed and relished as the brilliant support it can be to everyone involved in the perinatal period. I want to see the doula community flourishing and growing, and that can only happen if and when you take that step, follow your passion and start the journey.
If you have any questions about becoming a doula why not arrange a free call with one of the team by emailing [email protected]. Do leave your telephone number and some good times to reach you and someone will call you back. Alternatively, you could join one of our Dreaming of Being a Doula workshops which give you the opportunity to explore what being a doula is all about, chat to a member of the Nurturing Birth team and ask two recent graduates questions about their experience of taking a course with us. For more details click here. We look forward to meeting you!