A Commitment to Professionalism and Education
AUTHORED BY Sarah Coffin, owner, BIRTH and POSTPARTUM DOULA and childbirth and Postpartum educator WITH TULSA FAMILY DOULAS
Not enough. Never enough.
I started drinking in as much birth education as I could right before and after my last child was born and attended my first birth less than 4 months after he was born in 2009. I didn't even know what a doula was until after he was born, but I immediately knew that I needed to become one and be able to tell women what it felt like to be empowered and confident when giving birth.
And then, the drive to receive all my initials began.
DONA is one of the oldest and perhaps most widely-recognized doula training organizations. The process to certify with this organization does not come easily. The requirements, scope of practice and code of ethics are stringent and, some doulas feel, unnecessarily limiting. I've always felt cozy with guidelines and rules that make sense, and I wanted to stand out from the crowd .
I also never really understood why people would take a training and then choose to not certify. That's like going to college and dropping out your final semester because you don't want to be a part of the alumni association. I've since gone through the process of recertification and attended the Lamaze/DONA Conference in September of 2014. I learned some good stuff and had a blast on the road trip with the women from Tulsa. National conferences are an amazing benefit of being a part of a training organization.
As a mom of a baby who, I swore, was going to change the world because he didn't like anything in it, I was determined to give access to the skills that Dr. Harvey Karp promotes in his highly sought after Happiest Baby on the Block series. This training and the skills acquired through this course solidified what I had hungrily read over 10 years ago with my first child. The hands-on skills learned in these classes fits beautifully into our agency's goal of increasing our client's abilities to give birth AND parent with confidence.
I have been to just under 100 births and I started to see a pattern from the clients that chose to utilize hypnosis in childbirth, and more specifically, Hypnobabies. I knew I was ready to explore becoming a certified childbirth educator after a few years as a doula and I knew that Hypnobabies was my organization of choice. I was accepted into the Hypnobabies Instructor Training that is happening in April 2015. Until then, I wanted to learn everything I could about supporting clients that choose this method and yet another certification was accomplished.
When I made the decision to begin an agency in October of 2014, I knew I wanted to offer consistency across the board whether someone was hiring me or hiring my newest doula. That consistency comes in training. We are the first agency to utilize the Your Birth Experience curriculum with our clients prenatally and also offer it as a stand-alone childbirth preparation courses as a 4 hour intensive.
So, do I think a whole alphabet of letters behind my name makes me a better doula? Well, I wouldn't work as hard as I do learning as much as I can if I didn't. But, I also know that there is so much more behind my letters than the accolade of accomplishment. My true skills lie in the touch of my hands and the sound of my voice as I sway with a laboring mom or help her husband breathe easier as he watches the love of his life so efficiently bring new life into this world.
But, I will always be working on learning something new. Who knows what my next A,B,C or X,Y,Z education course will be, but I guarantee you, I will see it through and finish what I started.