I know as a doula and birth professional who works with hundreds of families a year, there will always be families who want a doula who has the most experience at a higher price tag, and there will always be families who are happy to work with a less-experienced doula at a lower price tag. There is no right or wrong, there is just what is right for you.
Doulas aren’t like other professions we may sometimes link them to – take nurses, for example. You understand when you have need of a nurse that they all met a standard competency, and they all work to keep that license up. Even if your nurse went to school in Washington, or Florida, or the Netherlands, there are core competencies all nurses are expected to learn. There can be some slight variations, but for the most part, the educational requirements are similar.
In contrast, according to DoulaMatch.net there are over 120 doula training organizations. This means there are over 120 different ways to become a doula! The hard part is figuring out just what the training, certification, and experience means. When we look at websites or Facebook pages, doulas can pretty much appear the same. Each organization has different requirements for doulas to carry their names. Here are just a few of these:
I certified as a doula with DONA International in 2004. At that time, there were very few organizations to choose from. Now the amount is staggering! I think I would have still chosen DONA today as my values and what I wanted from a certifying organization hava not changed.
Many people don’t want the pressure of a governing organization hanging overhead. I have met so many people as a birth professional, and one thing that always amazes me is the wide variety of jobs out there! In learning about families’ occupations, I have found it is not unusual to have a professional agency, governing board, or larger organization that steers how people do their jobs. Architects, Realtors, Doctors, Cal Trans Workers, College Professors, Sandwich Makers, Day Care Workers, Teachers, Linemen, Physical Therapists, Lawyers, Dairymen, Nurses, Pharmacists, Landscapers, and even Doulas (I have a lot of clients who are doulas!), have organizations above them that offer scaffolding and organization.
I am a lone doula, and this I what DONA offers me – DONA gives me information, education, and support to aid me in doing my job. DONA sets expectations, they disseminate new evidence and educational opportunities, they create routes to streamline my work. DONA looks out for me, so I can look out for my clients, and that is why I stick with them.
After writing this, I realized Kim James offers much of this paralleled information on DoulaMatch.net. She has laid it our more succinctly and without bias; refer to her page to see more ideas about what information you’d like to know about your doula candidates.
For you doulas out there, who did you certify through, and what led you to that decision? Share what you love!
♥ four young boys and a boy dog (offspring)