Doulas need other doulas.
Many of us have felt in our early days of doula practice a deep need to find a community of other doulas that we could call after a difficult birth, text at 3AM, bounce ideas off of, or just socialize with other people who get you. Training with DTI has meant for so many people there is a warm, safe place to land within a broad and challenging birth world. Doulas that understand what you mean when you say you are an advocate for autonomy and choice, doulas that are committed to social and reproductive justice, and doulas that reject horizontal violence, competition and infighting and believe when we lift one doula’s boat we are all lifted.
We call ourselves a community, specifically, and not a “sisterhood” or “tribe.” Sisterhood no longer accurately or completely describes an organization and profession that embraces our male, trans, and gender nonconforming doulas. Birth is for all bodies, and diversity in our doula ranks drastically increases accessibility for all birthing people. We are not a tribe, as that word has specific meanings for indigenous peoples and we have no reason to co-opt language when other words describe us just as well. We cannot both say we are a community and simultaneously make some people feel unwelcome.
When asked what our community means to them, DTI doulas expressed above all else that they feel loved and supported, that they have a team of mentors and access to seasoned and new doulas available in online groups and in-person meetings throughout their certifying period and beyond. We heard that it “feels like home,” a safe place, connection and fellowship, “joyfully collaborating” with a group of colleagues that go beyond professional connections and become enduring friendships.
And what does this mean for our clients?
Our clients benefit from our having access to this community. They benefit when we are able to reach out online for advice or hugs if we feel lost at a birth and we are reminded to slow down and tune in, that we don’t need to be doing 100 things, we just need to be. They benefit when we can recommend our DTI members as massage therapists, licensed aromatherapists, lactation counselors, herbalists or we can call them in as back-ups and partners and feel confident that we are leaving them in capable hands.
DTI is growing every day, and local DTI communities get bigger every time a prospective doula or doula wanting to re-certify sees a fierce DTI doula thriving and realizes they have found a home. We are stronger when we Doula Together.
Becky Alford, writing for Doula Trainings International. Becky will be on maternity leave until Spring 2017 and looks forward to sharing her birth with the DTI community as well as with her doula Shoshana Cherson who practices in NYC.