Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Doula Day: What is a Doula and more!

"Doula Day" is going to be a series of informational posts on doulas which will include interviews, guest posts, and more, in partnership with the Tallahassee Doula Co-op. These posts are intended to help share information on the services provided by doulas and spread the word about their availability. You can search for information on these and other doulas in your area, on the web and through your local friends.

As I mentioned in the previous post, To Doula or Not to Doula, I have learned so much about doulas in the last few months and want to help spread the word about their great work. I have not personally used one for our births, but I am convinced that their assistance would have been so helpful with first two birth experiences. If we do decide to try for number three, we will be searching for a doula ourselves.

My first doula post was so popular that I asked the Tallahassee Doula Co-op if they would like to work with me to help share some more information on doulas, and they graciously agreed.

Lindsey Morrow, with Mothers Rising Birth Services, and Co-owner of the Co-op, was eager to provide answers to the following questions I asked:

What is the Tallahassee Doula Co-op?
The Tallahassee Doula Co-op is a progressive group of doulas actively involved in Tallahassee’s birth community.

How did you get started?
A year ago I saw a great need for other doulas to support each other, to educate the public about birth options and to help spread the word about birth related events. Basically, I was doulaing alone and I had nobody to rely on if, God forbid, I couldn’t make it to a birth. I mean, what if I got into a car accident or my son got sick? I couldn’t just leave my clients. Even if I never even used a backup, I felt like by just having one I would feel less stress. Also, I wanted to increase the marketing in Tallahassee so that people would know what a doula even was! I was not motivated to continue by myself, and I saw strength in numbers. So, I asked a few of my doula friends if they were interested in creating a co-op with me and they said yes!

Can you say, in as few words as possible, what it is that you hope a mom-to-be would get out of having a doula?
I hope that each woman that hires a doula would feel supported and heard as she navigates through her experience and makes decisions. I hope that she would never be alone when she needs support. I hope that her doula would assist her partner in finding new ways to physically and emotionally support her. A doula can be a constant voice of hope and strength as the mom-to-be moves through the intensity and rawness of her experience.

What does it take to be able to call yourself a doula?
A doula completes a training program that consists of lots and lots of reading and hands on practice – and there are many ways to do this. There are national organizations like DONA or Birthing From Within that train doulas (which each person in our co-op has completed). The first few births we complete are usually free which helps us quickly complete our training.

Are there different levels of doula certification?
No, not really. But a good doula never stops learning and growing. Our co-op is committed to continuing our education – whether becoming a lactation consultant, learning about optimal fetal positioning, or teaching childbirth classes. In fact, we hope to expand and grow our co-op so that we can keep growing and changing along with our mamas.

How can people learn about doulas available in their area?
Google is a good place to start. A lot of people find us through google searches and Also, word of mouth is pretty powerful. Most women find out what a doula is and how they can find a doula through friends. If those don’t work, try the DONA and Birthing From Within websites. You can search for their doulas in your area.

The Tallahassee Doula Co-op also hosts opportunities to meet their doulas at Speed Dating events. These fun events give moms-to-be the opportunity to meet several doulas in a casual setting. If you are pregnant and even mildly considering a doula, you may want to mark your calendar for July 16th, from 6:00 pm-8:00 pm at Learning Express Toys. More information is available on the Co-op's web site.

Thank you, Lindsey, for answering these questions and I look forward to hearing more from you and the Co-op!


The information provided in this post came from Lindsey Morrow in response to questions provided by me.

Lindsey, a Birthing From Within mentor and doula, is owner of Mother Rising Birth Services. She has been a doula since 2007 and began teaching Birthing From Within childbirth classes at the Birth Cottage in 2010. She enjoys serving Tallahassee and its surrounding areas by offering physical, educational, and emotional support to women and their families during the childbearing year. She believes that every woman can experience pregnancy, childbirth, and motherhood not only as transformative, but also as a time when women can unlock new found strength in themselves. Lindsey is wife to Matt and mama to Gabriel who was born at The Birth Cottage in 2009. In the spare time she scrapes together, she writes on her blog, crochets, and enjoys outdoor activities (in any season but summer).

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