I dream of a day when Doulas support each other unconditionally… Where no matter where you are certified through that the elitism is just non-existent. I can’t say how happy I am that Madriella’s culture promotes sisterhood and building each other up, and it’s not lip service, it’s for real.

While it’s not why I originally certified with Madriella (nearly 7 years ago,) it’s why my primary certifying body stayed Madriella. I cross-certified with Stillbirthday in 2016, and I don’t regret it, but the sisterhood, the lack of elitism and the ability to trust someone from your organization has been a constant with Madriella and does not ebb at all.  It’s “Home” to me… not only is the culture one of inclusion and support, Madriella’s doulas tend to behave that same way towards others. (This was the factor that kept me when I was given an opportunity to train and switch my main certifying body to another organization a few years ago that was, at that time, far more business forward than Madriella.)

With the business training, other organizations challenged us to grow, and in doing so, Madriella chose to listen to it’s doulas. With that challenge and the members requests, Madriella grew, spending a great deal of time expanding its program in order to provide that added training that the doulas were in need of… while still maintaining its culture of inclusion, respect and mutual support.

If you are in a community that the birth workers routinely try to find ways to destroy their competition and force others out of business (something I witnessed myself in another city here in the US amongst doulas trained by someone who did not hold those values themselves) I want to tell you that Madriella will never be that way – any doulas who start off Madriella and don’t hold the same ethics don’t tend to stick around with Madriella.

I can speak safely as head of the advisory board and for the board and director when I say as an organization we value honesty, hard work, persistence, strength and grace, and will do everything we can do to help our members grow as doulas and businesswomen (and men – although I don’t think Madriella currently has any men certified and serving as doulas…)

Today I heard of a whole other city with that same level of division that I witnessed a couple years ago… and I truly ached for the doulas there. When one of us – Madriella or not – succeeds, all doulas succeed. There is no need to try to destroy your sister, because ultimately each bit or advertising and promotion that we do is beneficial to every other doula in the area. Each bit of education we provide helps grow awareness of the field and in turn helps women in general.  We should be building off what each other does, in order to lift everyone – both doula and the families we serve – up!

I challenge each of you considering training with any doula organization to look at its members, and it’s leadership. Choose who fits your values and morals… and if you are looking for an academically rigorous, yet incredibly supportive, organization with a solid foundation in science but with that community/sisterhood feeling? Madriella might be the group for you. One thing you’ll never hear from a Madriella doula is anything destructive towards another person, nor less than supportive to the birth community. It’s just not in our makeup. It never will be.

And if you’ve just joined Madriella? Welcome to our sisterhood. We’re delighted to have you joining in and can’t wait to see what you bring to our organization.

By Annie Hill, Senior Advisory Board Member, Madriella
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serving the Metro East St. Louis Mo/Il area.