Why certify to become a doula?
If you've heard that Doulas don't have to be certified to make a career out of it, you heard correctly. As of right now in the US, no formal training or certification is required if you want to start attending births and taking postpartum clients. Crazy, right?
I've always said there are two sides to this. I love that people who have the passion and a natural talent to be a
birth worker can start as soon as they are called to. There's no initial cost and there is no wait for that certificate. They're able to jump right in. However, there is just something about that formal training and networking with other aspiring doulas that is irreplaceable. I would definitely urge anyone who is interested, to look into different organizations that offer certification to weigh your options. Most organizations offer a look into the requirements, which is amazing for these people who like to be extra prepared and know what they are getting themselves into before signing up. I am definitely one of those people.
From the very beginning I knew I wanted to be certified, it was only a question of where to get my certification through. I knew I could bring a lot to the table as a Postpartum Doula. I knew about newborns and newborn care. I knew what I would do to bring great support. However, I just wanted and needed that boost of confidence. I knew I didn't have all the experience in the world, I knew I wanted to help people. I needed to cover all my bases and earn confidence in my knowledge for my own peace of mind. And I'm so happy I did. Not only did we go over the basics of newborn care, how to talk to clients, safe sleep practices, etc. We went over how to talk to clients in a way to uncover underlying issues. We talked about PMADs (Postpartum Mood and Anxiety Disorders) We talked about what support for the rest of the family looked like, not just mom. We learned how to use inclusive language. And something I found so helpful, we learned about our contracts, intake forms, and the business side of things. It answered a lot of questions for me. For instance, "where do I even begin?"
Not only was the training itself amazingly beneficial, but the other requirements to become certified were just as beneficial. Training is only the first step. There is a reading list requirement, letters of recommendation, a lengthy list of national and local resources to cover, evaluations and exams. Just to name a few. It sounds intimidating, I know, but it's so worth it in my opinion. So, for doulas out there who are wondering, should I become certified? I think yes. And for clients who may be reading this, you can rest assured that if you're hiring a certified doula, you're hiring someone with a wealth of knowledge and probably a good number of resources to back them up. This isn't to say that if you're a doula who isn't certified, you aren't a wealth of knowledge or just as capable as a certified doula. It is only to shed some light on what is involved when doulas do decide to become certified and go through that process.
If you have any questions about myself or how to become certified, please let me know! I'd love to help anyone who has a passion for this career get started.