So you have decided you want to become a doula. First off, CONGRATULATIONS!! Sure, I might have a little bias but I am here to tell you there is no greater way to spend your time than helping a family bring a baby into the world. It brings you immense joy, satisfaction, heartache, exhaustion, tears, and laughter. It is not for everyone except a very special few who can handle the rawness of the birth of life.
Training to become a doula is surprisingly not as complicated as one might think. We are not midwives or doctors, not even nurses. The complication comes from deciding WHERE and WHO to take your training through. With dozens, even hundreds of organizations to go through the decision can often lead you to feel overwhelmed before you even begin.
This week’s blog will hopefully help you to narrow things down with some basic questions everyone should ask themselves before signing up.
- What type of doula do you see yourself becoming?
When I first started on my journey to become a doula I honestly did not realize how many different types of doulas I would encounter. I have never considered myself very “crunchy” (but I am slowly evolving as I learn more) so my approach has always been more of a natural hospital approach to birth. Where do you see yourself? Are you wanting to help a mother give birth in a cabin in the woods with sage and animals watching or do you want to work primarily in birth centers? Are you more interested in a medical approach, perhaps wanting to specialize in attending medically necessary cesareans and support parents in that way?
Whatever you see yourself doing, finding a training that will nurture your true self is important. The smaller more local trainings will no doubt offer more crunchy options whereas bigger name organizations such as DONA or CAPPA may not (although their trainers will put their own flare into the workshops, so make sure you research the particular trainer you will be getting).
- Will my training be primarily focused on the education or will they help me with the business side of being a doula as well?
To me, the importance of having guidance in starting your business cannot be underestimated. In my training, we talked about having an online presence for about 5 minutes before moving on. I felt completely unprepared to take on the monumental task of building my business. However, I have heard others disagree who trained with the same organization I did. So again, your trainer is important.
Prodoula is one organization that has a strong emphasis on the business side of being a doula. BEST doula training also covers the business aspects of doula work, how to interview and what to cover in prenatals. If you are a go-getter you may not need as much assistance in starting your doula business. But if you need someone to hold your hand and guide you through social media marketing, SEO content and website building choosing an organization that supports you in this regard will be a great asset.
- How long after my training until I can certify?
Let’s get one thing out of the way about certification: you don’t necessarily need it. Honestly. BUT if your clientele is going to be one that greatly values initials behind your name (think: professionals) a certification will be necessary. That said, it can vary from agency to agency. DONA and CAPPA are widely recognized and respected organizations and once your training is complete it takes an average of one year to complete your certification, although they give you two years. Other trainings, such as BEST, certify you right away but are not as well-known. Stillbirthday offers an 8-week online training with an additional 4 weeks to finish your requirements before you are certified.
Ask yourself how likely you are to finish a longer certification process. Would immediate certification work better for you? Either route is good and commendable and we are so fortunate that there are so many different options to choose from.
- How important is a brand to me?
Organizations such as DONA and CAPPA are well-known and respected world-wide. Having that training or certification behind your name can mean a lot for some. But for others supporting a local or smaller training means more. Do your research. Talk to doulas who have done either and weigh the pros and cons of each. A larger more well-known organization can mean higher fees but more resources. A smaller local training may be able to help you more in your own community since the instructors will no doubt know more about the local hospitals, providers and birth culture.
- Is it worth the cost?
Obviously there will be trainings that cost more than others. When looking into the different prices, make sure you are getting enough value for what you are paying. Just because something costs more doesn’t mean it’s the best. You might get a more amazing education from a small local trainer than you would from a big name company. Or maybe a smaller training needs to make it worth their while and they charge more than necessary. Talk to people who have taken the workshops and see if they feel it was worth the cost.
There are many ways to go about starting your doula career. Local to Utah we have some great options as well! They include:
Not local to Utah:
This is an exciting field to work in! It is always growing and evolving. You won’t regret making the leap to becoming a doula!