Community has always been really important at Nurturing Birth and pre-pandemic we often arranged opportunities to gather doulas together.
One of the blessings of the pandemic was having to think outside the box. Along with the rest of the world we became friends with Zoom, and, craving connection, we decided to create The Virtual Cuppa. Hosted once a week, this was an opportunity for any Nurturing Birth-trained doula to come and join us for an hour to just be with other doulas and chat through anything that was affecting them as a doula in the current time.
It’s been 18 months since The Virtual Cuppa launched and it has grown and developed beyond recognition. It is now a fixture of many doulas’ weeks. We have a lovely group of doulas who regularly attend as well as people who drop in for the occasional session, depending on the topic up for discussion or their availability. Doulas join us from across the globe and deep friendships have formed that wouldn’t otherwise have existed. One of the fun things we do is ask people to add their location to their name on their Zoom account. It’s a joy when you see doulas realising that they are locals, be that in London, Northern Ireland or even further afield, like Abu Dhabi!
The Virtual Cuppa is a space for the doulas to decide what they want to discuss. The range of topics has been fascinating – from freebirth to business marketing. And, the expertise comes from the group. Most weeks we give people the opportunity to go in to smaller breakout rooms to chat through questions on a topic before returning to the larger group. It gives all doulas, whether they are brand-new or hugely experienced, whether they are super-confident or shy and reserved a chance to share, be heard and speak if they want.
For some doulas The Virtual Cuppa has been described as the highlight of their week and we are so thrilled that this is now a permanent fixture. Both Michelle Every, Mentoring Co-ordinator, and I love it. It feeds our souls to have so much time with Nurturing Birth doulas, to hear their stories, to hold space and provide somewhere for connection. It is truly inspirational for us as we develop and grow. We were forced into meeting online because of Covid, but we’ve realised that it’s the only way that so many doulas can easily access this amazing resource, with no travel costs and wasted travel time. While we will undoubtedly want to start in-person meet ups at some point in the future, The Virtual Cuppa will be a staple of Nurturing Birth’s doula support, Covid or not!
Access to The Virtual Cuppa is available for all doulas who have completed the Nurturing Birth doula training. If you’d like to join us, please see the Nurturing Birth Doulas Facebook page for the access code.