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Changes, Part 2 (or, The Denouement)

January 3, 2010

The short version: I quit my job and am pursuing certification as a birth doula.

The longer version:
I had been struggling with being content with my job for awhile. While my coworkers were great, I wanted something more meaningful than working to increase the bottom line of the big corporation. I have worked in the business world since college (even minored in Business Administration), but ultimately always found it lacking.

When I was preparing to help out my good friend Kyna when she had her baby in October, I started learning more about doulas and the birth process. I’ve always had an interest in kids, babies, and families, and I started paying more attention to what I was hearing around me. After helping Kyna and Ryan during Ivy’s birth, and with encouragement from Jeff, I started seriously thinking about becoming a doula “for real.”

In the meantime, I will still be doing short projects as a contractor/freelancer as work becomes available, but nothing longer than a few weeks.

Now, to answer the common questions I’ve been getting lately…

What exactly is a doula?
A doula provides non-medical support for a woman in labor. That’s different than a midwife (a trained medical professional), and not meant to crowd out or minimize a husband’s role at all. A doula provides physical, emotional, and informational support, including things such as massage, positioning suggestions, encouragement, etc. That’s the basic gist of it.

You Biblical scholars out there will be interested to know that the word doula comes from the ancient Greek word doule meaning a female servant or slave. In Luke 1:38, when Mary says she is “the handmaiden of the Lord” (or “the Lord’s servant” or “the bondservant of the Lord,” depending on your translation), that is the world doule.

What does it take to get certified?
In the U.S., doula certification isn’t required, but I’ve chosen to become certified through DONA International (formerly Doulas of North America). The basic requirements are
•    Required reading (5 books)
•    Attend a childbirth education series of 12 hours as an observer
•    Attend a Birth Doula Workshop (16 hours)
•    Attend 3 births that meet certification requirements
•    Attend a breastfeeding class
•    Complete a resource list
•    Write a 500-1,000 word essay on the purpose and value of labor support
•    Complete a basic knowledge self-assessment tool

I'm amassing a nice birth library already

I am excited to see where all of this leads! I’ve always been a behind-the-scenes kind of people-person, and see great potential to minister to people through this line of work. It doesn’t pay well monetarily, but I hope to reap other, better rewards.

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