A person trained to provide advice, information, emotional support, and physical comfort to a mother before, during, and just after childbirth.
Doulas are by no means a modern presence. Doulas have been around for birthing women for many, many, many moons. Many historical paintings, art sculptures, and writings explain that the birthing mother was surrounded by the female family members, friends, and other women of the community. These women would be of all ages, and it was not uncommon for young girls to be involved, for support, knowledge, and assistance. As they grew up within the birth space, women were not fearful of the process.
As it seems, life has taken a turn where we live less in a community, and more in nucleus families. We are told that we should be able to handle all the life-altering experiences alone, or with our immediate family members. We have unfortunately lost touch with what it means to be a part of a community. Becoming a doula reawakens that essence of community, and provides space and safety for birthing people.
It was the 21st of April, 2020 that I reached out to Vicki Hobbs, owner of Doula Training Academy. I am not entirely sure when or how I heard the term doula, as it is not one commonly used in day-to-day life, but there was a strong magnetic pull I didn't want to ignore.
Many women find this industry as a career through either the euphoric or traumatic birth of their own. Wanting to search out women who they can help create that euphoria or avoid that trauma. However, this is not a pre-requisite I assure you. Here I am, 25, childless and wanting nothing more than to be surrounded by pregnancy and birthing women.
At the time of this post being published, there is no governing body for doula practitioners throughout the world. Midwives, obstetricians, nurses, all go through degrees where they must meet a certain standard before they can practice. Doula’s on the other hand, do not. This can be tricky for someone looking to hire a doula as they will want to ensure the doula is reputable and well educated to assist her during the birth. Also, for women who are wanting to offer their doula service, many like to know they have some qualifications and training behind them.
Here in Australia, there are various companies that do offer a doula certification. From my understanding you can study through (this is not the definite list, just those I know of):
Doula Training Academy
Australian Doula College
DONA (not Australia Based)
With other companies offering specific interest courses (postnatal, trauma care, bereavement etc).
I studied with the Doula Training Academy. Based in Perth, but offering both face-to-face and online training, it was the perfect choice for me as I was stuck in the Victorian lockdown (am I glad that is over).
Vicki’s course is incredibly inclusive of all the facets that affect the creation of new life. I specifically loved her awareness of ensuring no one under her wing was culturally appropriating practices or traditions within the birthing world. Modules ranging from in-depth anatomy and physiology, running your own business, hypnobirthing support, interventions, trauma, breastfeeding, to the incorporation of LGBTQIA inclusiveness, and so much more, she leaves no stone unturned.
Not only do you learn throughout the modules and assessments, but an immense group of other doulas in training are behind you, supporting you and giving you any advice or tips, you need. This is incorporated through the online community, face-to-face workshops (based in Peth), weekly zoom sessions, and ensuring you are kept accountable with ongoing requirements. As noted at the bottom of this page, she also generously offers you a way to encourage more doulas into the world and incorporate it into your own business!
If you feel the pull to work alongside birthing women or have the interest to gain more knowledge and understanding for yourself, I cannot recommend Vicki and her course any higher. If you're looking around, I would strongly recommend checking out the subjects/modules included in whichever company you are looking at going with. Also ensure the information is not based on the teachers' personal opinions about birth, but rather an unlimited, inclusive platform of knowledge and an encouragement for you to uncover your own beliefs and values within the industry.
Click here to be redirected to her site. Once you have read through the information, and feel you are where you need to be, click above to enroll in her course! This course is more than a certification to work as a support person. It is a community, a network of support and love, a place for creativity and ideas to come to life. I have made some lifelong friends, business associates, and downright incredible women through this course. I have also found my purpose, my love, and my light in life. Thank you, Vicki Hobbs. Disclosure: The link provided in this blog is an affiliate link. I will be paid a commission if you use this link and make a purchase.