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15 Apr 2020

10 Guiding Principles For Doulas During A Pandemic

By The DTI team

Over the last month, our work at Doula Trainings International and the birth world at-large has seen a broad shift.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us have taken our practices virtual. And as we’ve heard in our community calls (see recaps here), we’ve all been working hard to pivot and survive through these changes and find some sense of resiliency. For us, it’s been important (and helpful) to keep our core values and mission in mind as we make decisions and determine which path forward works best for us, the communities we serve and our own birth clients.

 

Here are 10 guiding principles for doulas navigating this pandemic (and any crisis):

 

1.) Honor the autonomy of your client.

Trust your clients to make their own informed decisions. Believe people when they tell you who they are. Everyone is the expert of their own experience.

2.) Humanize the birth experience by putting the power back to the birthing individual.

Stay aware, stay discerning and show compassion. Lean on DTI’s Slow Doula Method® in tense moments to help support this process.

3.) Connect with your community—virtually.

In this time of COVID it’s important to continue community building even if it is not face to face. Our energy is focused on building one another up and fostering lasting relationships to advance the birth profession as a whole.

4.) Stay activated and creative.

Your support, offerings or contributions may need to shift a bit for certain times. If you are in the position to offer financial support to others whether it be clients, other professionals or organizations offer support where you can.

5.) Reach out for support when YOU need it.

Taking care of you is paramount. If you don’t have a support system to lean on, reach out to the DTI office (hello@wearedti.com), reach out to your doula community and reach out for evidence-based information. If you’re a DTI member or currently training with us, tap into online community calls, a mentors offerings or your DTI educators.

6.) Keep your work evidence-based.

Any resources you share with your clients or community regarding COVID-19, coronavirus or other pandemic-related health concerns must be backed up by evidence. Be a voice of reason and do your research before you pass news onto the next. You are a professional and the doula profession depends on everyone valuing the profession and treating it professionally.

7.) Use universal precautions.

What was not ethical within the birth world before this crisis is still not ethical now. Be honest about your abilities and limitations with your clients and your community at-large. Stay the course and follow your training protocol to ensure the safety of others at births and in medical settings. This will protect you and your clients.

8.) You don’t have to have all of the answers.

Every question is an opportunity for conversation with your client, with other organizations and each other.

9.) Say no to the comparison trap.

It can be easy to judge your own work by those around you. Offer what you can to help your community without draining yourself or your resources. Try not to judge others around you, as they respond to this crisis and do their work in a way that works best for them.

10.) You are adaptable. You are resourceful. You are essential.

Don’t forget your value. This is a difficult time for so many of us, and your work within the birth world is very much needed—remember that.

 

Want to become a doula?

In case you missed it, we offer trainings, support and a professional community for aspiring doulas and birth workers. You can take online courses with us on childbirth education and reproductive health. You can also certify as Childbirth Educator or a birth, postpartum or full-spectrum doula with us. Explore our training calendar here to learn more about what we have coming up and feel free to reach out whenever at hello@wearedti.com.

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