1116_doulaSo what has changed since I started as a doula over 20 years ago?

I can tell you that there are more doulas in the world.  But beyond that, attitudes have changed.  How we look at birth and parenting has changed.  Not just birth and parenting, but living, eating, working, how we communicate and so many other things.I remember the first birth I attended as a support person.

I had no idea what a Doula was.  I mean back in 1992 the only people that did home births where those hippie types. You know the crunchy granola Birkenstock wearing, free flowing flower children…..  Boy have we come a long ways.The first few births I attended were for family, friends and or military families where the husband was on deployment.  I would find clients through friends, family and those that I had supported before.Doulas are not the only part of birth that was different.

I remember taking a Childbirth education class in 1984.  I remember thinking that I wanted to become a Childbirth Educator, so I asked my teacher how I would go about becoming a Childbirth Educator.  Her answer was very discouraging “You have to become a nurse first.”

Well – I was 19, having my first child and looking at becoming a stay at home mom.  Back in the day it was common for a moms to stay at home and have hobbies on the side… where today it is normal to see a mom who runs her own company and still attends PTA meetings.  I put the idea of being a childbirth educator out of my reach. Today, there are so many different avenues available and open to becoming a Childbirth Educator everything from becoming a Nurse, to doing home study.  Education has changed a lot over the past 20+ years.

In 1992 I started my doula training by taking local CBE classes… I had started my path of being a Birth Coach.  It was not until 1994 that I heard the word doula, and realized that there was training out there to become a doula.   There were a couple of local certification groups, Tacoma Labor Companions and Pacific Association for Labor Support, and one national certification option.  Each group had their own training and certification paths.

Today it is not just that there are more certification options in the birth world, but there are more continuing education options.  You don’t just have birth Doulas, but you now have Postpartum Doulas, Placenta Encapsulation Specialists, and other training’s that will add onto your Doula business.

Back in the day….. (boy that makes me feel old..)  No one knew what a doula was or what they did…

I remember going out to eat with the family.  I started talking with a gal, like I always do.  She asked what I do and I said I was a doula… The gal said, “Oh I love doulas!” My son looked up at her with shock and awe in his 7-year-old eyes, and said “You know what a doula is?”

Today, you hear about doulas on TV, in movies, on facebook.. it seems that everyone knows, or is getting to know what a doula is.

There are still some misconceptions out there about what we do and who we work with… but it is getting better. A lot has changed over the years… It has gotten easier to become a doula with all the various certifications out there, the job is more defined, and it is easier to find clients.  With all of the changes I have been through, I find my strength in Madriella and the amazing birth community that we have. I enjoy working with and training new doulas as the future of birth and parenting.

by Beverly Reed Young, Madriella Certified Birth and Postpartum Doula