Have you ever wondered what attending a doula intensive would be like? Here is a sneak peek into my Birth Arts International class.
People attending the workshop range widely in experiences and beliefs surrounding birth. You may be sitting next to someone who has had 6 homebirths, on your other side someone who has never given birth, and across from you someone who has had a c-section. My workshops are a place filled with openness, curiosity, and respect for all birth experiences. Although no one is required to speak, we will share stories of birth and pregnancy and dig in deep to gain wisdom from each other as well as discover things about ourselves. Each student is also a teacher as they share and gain perspectives together. These will be valuable on each person’s journey to becoming a doula.
Supporting birth requires a strength of body, mind, and spirit. This workshop recognizes that there is far more to doula work than a simple back rub or knowledge of birth. There are many layers to doula work and at BAI we encourage each doula to make it their own and bring their own energy and style to their work. Chances are if you are interested in becoming a doula, there is already something inside of you stirring that lead you to this path. We help you harness that and follow it to fruition. We do this in many ways during the workshop and continue after through our unique BAI curriculum. Attending a workshop allows for the space to explore deep within yourself and find the pieces you will need to remain strong and grounded when you begin your practice. A doula is often the calm during the storm. It is a very intimate and sacred job. Families are allowing you into the most important and private moment of their lives and counting on you to provide support and encouragement no matter what twists and turns take place. We will do interactive activities to support this and being able to do them in a group of people on the same journey has great value. There is a camaraderie and many students stay in contact to support each other after the weekend is over. There is also an option to join our online group for BAI students to connect to our doulas all across the world.
While the mind is a powerful part of doula work, we also will spend a good amount of time learning to use our hands. I will demo several comfort positions and techniques and we will all practice them so that you are confident in your ability to provide physical support in labor. There are many tools that are used by doulas. I will share what things I pack in my own doula bag for birth and postpartum. We will explore using birth balls in both round and peanut shapes. You will leave with the skills to help encourage speedy and comfortable labor. Many expecting parents have read research showing that doulas decrease the cesarean rate. These tools and positions are a large part of that statistic.
I absolutely love teaching workshops. Getting to know my students and hearing their stories is an experience that I feel privileged to be part of. As a trainer, I appreciate staying connected to my students after the workshop and watching them grow as doulas. The BAI community is one that always supported me when I was a student and newer doula and it feels great to be able to offer that support to others as a trainer.
The workshop can also be a healing experience. Some students come from a place of birth trauma or fear, perhaps from stories of the birth that their mother experienced bringing them into the world or the experience of birthing their own child. There is space to speak about birth stories. I encourage processing these hurtful memories so that healing can begin. Doulas who are still processing things that happened in the past may be too shaken to be ready to attend a birth. We recognize this and the workshop is a safe place to begin healing and listen to your own wisdom for a time when you are ready to begin attending births. This process can continue after the workshop with the support of our online classroom and connection to Global Director, Demetria Clark.