14 November 2010

Becoming a Doula

Two months before Silas was born, belly swollen and anticipation peaking, my incredible friend Sierra and her darling husband asked me to be part of the birth of their first daughter, to take pictures while they were focusing on other things. It was quite honestly one of the most incredible experiences of my entire life!  While I had seen countless videos of birth, actually witnessing their little Evelyn be born into this world was deeply spiritual for me.

(I don't think I even took this picture, I think it was from Jonathan's phone!)

I went to the birth armed with the knowledge I had from preparing for two births, but little else.  I like to think I was more useful than just being a photographer, but I'm not so sure.  Regardless, the experience left me with a desire to do it again, better educated and equipped to help the birthing mother through labour,

This weekend I began that journey.  I spent an emotional, educational and exciting three days in a workshop to become a certified birth doula.  A doula is someone who accompanies a woman in labour, providing emotional and physical support and offering comfort measures. There are incredible studies showing that with continuous support through labour, women are less likely to 
- receive regional analgesia
- have any analgesia/anesthesia
- give birth with vacuum or forceps
- give birth by cesarean
- be dissatisfied with their birth experience

This weekend I learned the basics of how to provide that support.  Most of the books on the reading list I had already read, and many of the comfort measures they taught us I learned as I prepared for the births of my two sons. However, considering how those births went, having a doula by my side at my next birth will be absolutely imperative: somehow all that I knew went out the window when I was in labour! 

Although I didn't expect it to, the workshop also provided me with a chance to heal a little from the memories and emotions I have been harboring about Silas's birth. As we talked through what a doula could do in similar circumstances, as I shared parts of my story with the other 29 women there, I don't know if I gave myself permission to grieve, or excused myself from the guilt I had surrounding that birth, but I definitely walked away with less pain and regret. That alone was worth the weekend!

So, now that the workshop is complete, to become a certified doula I need to attend three births, do a bunch of paperwork and I will be on my way!  After four years of being completely consumed by birth, I am so excited to be taking this step.  While I have no intention of ever making a living out of this, hopefully I will be able to help some women as they become mothers!  I quite honestly can't think of anything I would rather do with this kind of knowledge. 

And, as it is the end of the week, I get to announce a winner for my felted wool ball giveaway.  I was super excited to see that the very person who inspired this weekend won the giveaway, Sierra Hocklander!  Yeah! Sierra, let me know if you want me to personalize the balls or not, and I will be sending a package your way in the next week. Congratulations!

Only two more giveaways left! Come back tomorrow to see what's in store for this week!


  1. Congratulations Jenny! That is very exciting for you, and the woman and families you will be able to help. The births you have experienced prepared you for this! You have much more insight now as a result.
    I love love love the first picture. I think that really captures the shock and awe of holding your first child perfectly...I also love that she wore make up to her birth and the name Evelyn!

  2. Becoming a Doula is a weekend course? Wow, I thought it was a lot longer than that. Congrats! I can't say I know many people "completely consumed by birth"!

  3. I am very proud of you! And I am glad that you were able to heal a little. Just know that there is no doula in the world that i would rather have in my birthing corner than you!

  4. There's a lot more to it than the weekend course, but that's the start. Now I have to read five different doula books, write a series of papers, attend and document three births and be evaluated for those. I won't actually be certified for a while, but I'm on my way!

  5. Good luck!! You'll be great! I have a pregnant sister, you know...:)

  6. So thankful for those of you who feel the desire to be a doula! You Go girl!

  7. I feel so proud of you. I don't even know why.


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