Why I love the UDA Retreat

By Raquel Alfaro:

When I think about the meaning I hold for the word “retreat,” I think about a beautiful location surrounded by trees, in a peaceful place away from the rest of the world.  In battle, retreat means to withdraw and pull back. In many ways our UDA Retreat embodies both of these meanings by providing a beautiful location where we as birth workers can withdraw from the world.  The retreat provides an opportunity to pull back from the stress of life and relish in creating new friendships, reconnecting with old ones, and taking time for ourselves.

Heather Tolley and Lindsay Dougal

One of my favorite things about the retreat is listening to the stories of fellow doulas. I love hearing about their journeys over the last year and bonding over the many experiences we have in common. I enjoy reconnecting with fellow birth workers and witnessing the hard work of those that coordinate the event. There is always something new to experience and I can count on feeling charged and excited about our community when I leave!

Here’s what other fellow doulas have to say about the UDA Retreat:

Last year’s retreat was my first and it was also my first time mingling with local doulas as a brand new doula. It was the perfect way to start off my career by making connections in a relaxed, low key environment. I learned a lot and felt like a welcomed part of the Utah birth worker fam.” -Bethany Roholt

“I love the UDA Retreat! The world of birth workers is so loving and supportive, and I never felt it more than at the retreat. I love meeting new people and making new friends and connections there. It’s a much-needed break from the stresses of everyday life, in the company of like minded people, good food and a fun, relaxing environment.” -Dani Reed

“ It’s so nice to get away and fill my cup so that I can better help and support my clients and be a better mother to my children and wife to my wonderful husband. Self care is important for everyone.” -Karina Robinson

2017 UDA Retreat

It’s time.  Time to take care of yourself and connect fully with our amazing doula community! Come share a meal, some laughter, and playful moments. Take home the feeling of belonging, being understood, and being ready to tackle another year of birth work!  I look forward to seeing you there!

To learn more or to register for this year’s retreat click here

About Raquel Alfaro:

Raquel is a proponent of living true to yourself and finding deep connection. She delights in supporting families through the challenging questions and learning to release blocks and fears to find self empowerment and strength. She is on the Utah Doula Association Board and has been a Certified Advanced Doula for 4 years. You can find out more about her and what she brings to the birth space at:

ThrowBack Thursday Uncategorized

Throwback Thursday

By: Andrea Lythgoe ,BS, LCCE

As we prepare for the current UDA conference, I thought it might be fine to look back twelve years ago to 2007, the year I was the conference committee chair. It was also a year with a lot of “firsts” for the UDA: The first Fall Retreat, the first mentoring groups, and the first time the UDA honored a care provider. Angie Rosier served as president, and had a well staffed board that worked hard at expanding the UDA’s reach into the community and building connections with hospitals and care providers. Our annual membership drive, held in conjunction with the conference, brought the UDA up to a record 58 members.

The Utah Doula Association conference that year had the theme CSI: Clients Seeking Information, and most of the sessions were hands on sessions about how to create and use teaching tools to help their clients understand the concepts.

Teaching Aids

43 people attended the conference, which was held in a rented conference room at the Stevens Henager College in Murray.  We made models of the layers of anatomy used in cesarean birth, foam dilation models, and discussed different styles of presenting information to clients, teaching in a mentoring style, and how to best use videos as teaching tools.

One regular feature of conferences during this era was the Birth Swap, where any UDA member could bring birth related items to sell silent auction style. It was really popular and happened at every conference for nearly a decade.

Birth Swap

2007 also marked the start of the Mentoring groups, and six of them were held that year, with the topics of premature birth, the DONA certification process, breastfeeding, VBAC, marketing techniques and a field trip to tour Bella Natal (the first birth suite opened by Suzanne Smith, later became Better Birth Orem). IMC in Murray opened that year, and there was a lot of discussion and planning about doing a mentoring meeting there, but ultimately the hospital declined.

The weekend after Labor Day, each area representative of the UDA planned an “After the Labor Day” picnic in the park for doulas and their clients. Picnics were held in Taylorsville, Fruit Heights, and Orem.

Fall Retreat

2007 also brought the very first Fall Retreat. This was, by design, a day of relaxation and self care for doulas. Topics included a yoga session, story telling, guided imagery, an exploration of spirituality and birth, and a very fun birth art session with clay! It was held in the basement of the building where the Midwives College of Utah is, and 30 people came. The very first provider honored by the UDA was given to RaeAnn Peck. A potluck lunch was a highlight of the day as well. After the end of the retreat, all were invited to join in at dinner at Buca di Beppo in Midvale.

Clay Birth Art

And that brings us to the end of this particular walk down memory lane. It’s great to see how the UDA has grown since then!