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15 Jan 2019

Two DTI Doulas On Our Birth and Postpartum Trainings

By The DTI team

At the beginning of every year, we find ourselves excited—excited to dive deeper into our practice as doulas, excited to learn more about the birth world and excited to welcome hundreds of new doulas into the profession.

With our first training of the year behind us and plenty of doula trainings on the horizon, we thought it’d be a good time to touch base with some of our trainees. If you’re curious about our programs and how they work, read on for two interviews with DTI doulas Wendy Cruz-Chan and Ana Koehler about our in-person and online birth and post-partum doula trainings.

Wendy Cruz-Chan

My name is Wendy Cruz-Chan. I am a mother of three, with two live children and one angel child. I’m also born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. I’m a Certified Birth and Postpartum Doula (through DTI), a Certified Childbirth Educator (through DTI), a Placenta Encapsulation Specialist, a trained assistant Midwife for home births, and a former CLC (going to re-certify).

1) What was your DTI training path? Why did you select that path?
My DTI training path was Path Two. I selected that path because I was already an experienced, uncertified doula.

2) What got you interested in birth work?
After I gave birth to my first child, I realized all the options I could’ve had while I was in labor. I didn’t know I had even had options to choice, nor did I know my birth rights. All I knew was that I was mistreated and scared into certain unnecessary medical interventions. And so I became determined to become a doula to help other pregnant people know about their rights and options they have in any birth setting.

3) What does being a modern birth worker mean to you?
The world is constantly changing, and there’s always new studies coming out surrounding birth. Being a modern birth worker helps me to understand and support my clients with new information surrounding pre/postnatal healthcare. This includes catering those who need support in a non-crunchy way and being open and respectful to their beliefs and lifestyles.  

4) What is something valuable you’ve learned from your experience as a doula?
The most valuable experiences I’ve learned as a Doula are:

1.) Doula bags not really essential thing to bring at a birth.
2.) A doula’s physical support and words of comfort and knowledge is all what the birthing person needs. 3.) Doula bags are just great accessories.
4.) Don’t feel guilty when your client goes in for a cesarean section.
5.) Things happens and sometimes it’s really necessary due to medical health issues from birthing person and/or unborn baby.
6.) The most thing is to be there supporting them no matter what.

5) What is something that people who aren’t involved in the birth world should know about it?
One thing I tell those who are not part of the birthing world and don’t know anything about it is YOU HAVE OPTIONS! If you don’t know your options, you don’t have any. So knowledge is power. Having a doula is must!

6) How do you think doulas can make a difference within their communities?
How great would it be if everyone had a great and positive experience from their birth? (Regardless if they had a C-section.) I believe that postpartum depression and postpartum mood disorders would decrease dramatically. Numbers of maternal mortally would be low. Because doulas help teach their clients how to advocate for their own health.

7) What self-care advice do you have for doulas and birth workers?
Self-care is super important when doing birth work. And it may look different to everyone. For myself, this means full body massages, relaxing at home with my family, using a chiropractor, and talking to my therapist to release any emotions. Being a doula is a rewarding but difficult job to do. You need to be surrounded by strong energy (good or bad) and you need to release it and not bring it home with you as it may affect you and/or your loved ones later on. Have a day to yourself to release and decompress, so you may be ready for the next birth. Be gentle and treat yourself positively.

Ana Koehler

My name is Ana Koehler and I’m an artist and birth/postpartum doula. Originally from New Hampshire by way of NYC, I now live in Austin, TX with my husband and four-year-old son. As an artist, I focus on the female form and my paintings and drawings explore themes of female sexuality, transitions, relationships between women, and motherhood. As a doula, I’ve just started working as a Family Guide and Doula Expert for Cleo, an app that helps new and expecting families get the support they need wherever they are.

1) What was your DTI training path? Why did you select that path?
I chose the DTI2 online training path that started in May 2017. Once I decided to get my doula certification, I wanted to get started as soon possible but had just missed the in-person training in Austin. The next one wasn’t being held for several months so I floated the idea of the online option, and it actually worked really well for me and my schedule. The videos were straightforward and comprehensive, the mentorship was strong, and I felt very connected to my peers during the nine-month process. In fact, we’re still connected even though we’re all over the world.

2) What got you interested in birth work?
For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been interested in pregnancy and childbirth. I came from a strong community of women who were homesteading, raising their children together, supporting each other, and mostly having home births. I considered being a midwife before I decided on art school. Through the years, I have supported friends through their pregnancies and births. After my own very intense birthing experience, I knew I wanted to become a doula to support people in a way I didn’t feel supported. Through empowering families to be their own advocates and build their own care team, I’m also healing myself.

3) What does being a modern birth worker mean to you?
Supporting any and all types of families—helping families come to their own educated decisions on how they build their care team, what they are and aren’t comfortable with, holding space to trust their instincts, and supporting them through every step while making sure they don’t get swept up in comparing their choices to anyone else’s. It’s so easy to get caught in the comparison web, especially with social media, so I really try to encourage my families to trust their instincts.

4) What is something valuable you’ve learned from your experience as a doula?
Sharing experiences with other doula friends is critical for me, and I really wasn’t aware of how much community support you need to do this work. So make sure you have a tight network of support too, because this work isn’t possible without it.

5) What is something that people who aren’t involved in the birth world should know about it?
The intimacy of sharing these moments with families is both parts magical and emotionally exhausting. To be honest, I’m still learning about the birth world myself. But from what I’ve seen, it’s really diverse yet everyone has the same goal/mission of supporting families. It’s quite incredible.

6) How do you think doulas can make a difference within their communities?
By supporting families to normalize all types of birth, make educated evidence based decisions, and be informed, active participants in their own experiences. We are teaching, influencing, and laying the groundwork for future generations to hopefully approach birth without fear.

7) What self-care advice do you have for doulas and birth workers?
Set boundaries. Make sure your off time is truly OFF. It’s also so important to be able to acknowledge all the feelings involved with each birth and to process the experience with your support community.

Would you like to train with DTI? Check out all of the programs we offer here, and review our registration schedule here.

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