The United States is witnessing the rise of the doula. Years ago, the term doula often came with an air of obscurity and people thought doula services were for the wealthy only. Today, an increasing number of people not only know of doulas’ roles, but they are also incorporating doulas and other birth workers as indispensable tools in their reproductive journeys. Undoubtedly, the growing need for doulas calls for more birthworkers. As we prepare for the winter 2023 Mama Glow Doula Homeschool Professional Training Program, we encourage potential participants to consider the following questions. What exactly is a doula, and what makes a career change to birth work worth it?
A doula is typically speaking, a non-clinical care provider that assists someone at a major point of transition in their life. Full spectrum doulas can assist birthing people at any stage along the reproductive continuum. Birth doulas, specifically, provide comprehensive physical, educational and emotional support before, during, and immediately after childbirth. They work to guide birthing people through their pregnancies by providing interpersonal and informational support as well as advocacy tools. Postpartum doulas assist birthing people in the same way, through what is known as the fourth trimester. While birth and postpartum doulas are among the most common, doulas can assist people in various capacities—there are abortion doulas who help with emotional and logistical support, and bereavement doulas to help those navigating miscarriage or infant loss.
The question of what makes a career in birthwork worth it is one best answered by doulas themselves. I personally sought doula training because of the fundamental nature of birthwork in my West African culture. In Côte D’ivoire, pregnancy and childbirth are communal experiences. A birthing person has the support of the proverbial village at every point of the journey. Additionally, birthwork is ancestral. My grandmother supported countless pregnancies and births, with knowledge passed down from her elders. In a society where structures often sell us on the necessity of individualism, Mama Glow Doula Training allows us to make our communal values more explicit.
Mama Glow Doula Perpetual shares a similar observation: “To be in alignment with my vocation as a doula, while navigating birth spaces and the world with integrity, I alchemize the discomfort of being human in a patriarchal, anti-Black world into radical resistance through the underutilized, salient practices of honor and detachment”. Doula training equips people with the tools to honor the personal values that do not always align with those of a fast-paced society.
Another rewarding aspect of birth work are the personal healing practices inherent in the training. Another Mama Glow Doula, Nique, explains learning “so much about [her] own health and wellness” while in the training program. “I healed many parts of myself I didn’t know needed mending. I’m still learning to give myself space but I am much happier with my life compared to before becoming a doula.”
An added benefit is the ability to bring doula training to existing endeavors. Mama Glow Doula Octavia Bullen plans on supporting local initiatives to assist babies and their families.
The Mama Glow Doula Homeschool Professional Training Program’s registration is underway for Winter of 2023, which means you can soon take a major step towards reaping the benefits of this fruitful experience.
The weekly program covers pregnancy through the early postpartum period. This includes class on Sundays from 12:00-3:30pm ET. The virtual program will include hours of LIVE video training via Zoom with Latham Thomas and modules with guest teachers, assignments to complete at home. Plus opportunities for Q&A with Latham and ample time to connect digitally for face-to-face chat online with your doula siblings. Level 1 Doula Trainees will have a designated teacher assistant to help support you during and through the end of the program. This program is open to all regardless of experience. There are no prerequisites to join, and your course load and work begins when you start the course. If you have any questions regarding the program, email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org