A window inside life at Augustana College

Doula: a woman who serves

I was recently at a funeral with people whom I had not seen since I was in high school so there was a lot of catching up to do. I can’t tell you how many times I had the following conversation:

  • Where are you studying? Augustana just across the river in Rock Island (the funeral was in Davenport)
  • When do you graduate? In February!
  • What are you studying? Political science…
  • Oh so you’re going to law school? No. And Sociology, and Women and Gender Studies
  • What are you going to do with that? I’m not really sure right now. I’m applying for jobs in fields with family and youth and community development. I wrote one of my senior papers on student attitudes towards parental leave policies, so I’m really interested in family relations, development, and health.  I also really would like to become a certified labor and postpartum doula.
  • What’s a doula? A doula is essentially a birth attendant. Doula’s don’t deliver babies, they are there for the emotional and physical support of the mother and her partner.

It was around the fourth or fifth time that I was having this conversation when my godmother walked over and said “Victoria wants to save the world one person at a time. She always has wanted to help people.” I can’t tell you how much that meant to me. Because it’s true, I have always wanted to help people. As a child I wanted to be a doctor. I even came to Augustana as an intended pre-med major. However, I realized that by being a doctor I wouldn’t be serving people and developing as much as a connection as I desire.

After spending most of my college years trying to figure out what I want to do I think I have finally figured it out. Well sort of. I know that I want to be part of the birth community. I am absolutely fascinated by what our bodies can do and the immense power that women have. I say women because 99.99% of the time a person who identifies as a female is delivering a child, though there are individuals who are transgender that can have children. But I digress.

I have finally decided that I want to be part of the birth community. I want to be there to support other people who are going through this extremely emotional and physical process. I want to welcome new lives in to the world. I want to be there to support families in the event that they deliver an angel baby. I just want to work with families.

However, just because I’ve chosen a field I want to work in doesn’t mean that I magically have a job. I’ve decided that one of my best options at this point is to become a certified labor/birth and postpartum doula. While the certification process differs between certifying agencies and organizations there is a similar path that you follow. This requires going through training classes, becoming educated on the many aspects of birth, going to childbirth education classes, and many more educational components. From there you develop a plan and start attending births, supporting mothers through their journey. The certification path also includes taking a test on the knowledge that you’ve gained and doing different research “projects” to continue your education. The final steps are interviews that the certifying agency conducts with your clients in order to ensure that you have met the needs of the client and then an interview with you, since after all you are the one training to be a birth professional!

One Response to “Doula: a woman who serves”

  1. We need more people with this passion in the birth field! When you get back from Brazil I will help connect you with some women here in the QC that may be able to connect you to some local births. It’s hard work essentially creating your own business but you certainly have the drive!

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