There are loads of birth worker – or doula – training programmes available in the UK so why did I decide to create another one. Not because I think I’m the shizzle of all birth workers and therefore you should all follow my lead. But because I wanted to create a programme that really equips birth workers for the rapidly changing birth world.
COVID has an awful lot to answer for – doesn’t it? Part of the fall out from the pandemic is the restrictions that have been implemented in maternity provision throughout the UK. These restrictions vary from Trust to Trust but have basically restricted access for woman and birthing people to being able to choose who they have with them at their births, where their births take place and how they birth. The stripping away of these rights and the support and security they bring means that woman and birthing people are reaching out more than ever to find additional, personalised support for their pregnancy and birth. They need not only our emotional and physical support but advocacy skills to help them navigate the maternity system.
Secondly, we need a training programme for birth work that is truly expansive. I wanted to create a programme that embraced intersectional feminism and felt truly expansive. One that would enable birth workers to support all of the birthing community – including lgbtq+ and trans clients, and varied racial identities – not all people who give birth are Cis, white and middle class women. This is particularly important when we know that black woman are 5x more likely to die during the child bearing year than white woman and that the lgbtq+ community express experiencing high levels of prejudice when accessing maternity services.
Finally, birth work isn’t just for those of us who have a womb and have given birth. We need birth workers that are representative of the communities we serve. You don’t have to have a womb and have given birth to be able to empathise, support, inform and nurture pregnant people. You need strength, patience, an open mind and a determination to up hold the rights of woman and birth people. To be able to put ego aside and provide care from a place a calm, connected, confidence is key. To walk beside someone through their journey into parenthood is one of the most humbling and often challenging experiences but if you have a passion for birth work and a high level birth geekery then parents need you!
So I have created a course based on 3 pillars. – 1. Strong knowledge of birth (physiology and how to support it) 2. Advocacy skills and when to use them. 3. Mentoring (because birth work is emotional labour and we all need support and community to help us walk this path).