A couple of years ago I was doing a birth doula training in Toronto. One of the participants caught my attention as she seemed very experienced. Turns out she was a Lamaze educator from India who had been attending births for some time. There were no doula trainings in India, so when she was in Toronto she was able to finally attend my DONA training. She mentioned at one point that I should go to India to do a training. I filed that comment under “yeah, THAT would be cool” and then forgot about it for some time. Months later I was creating my yearly vision board (which I highly recommend everyone do) to set my intentions for the year. I thought about some of the places I’d always wanted to go and remembered my dream to go to India (probably ever since “Eat. Pray. Love.” lol) A few weeks later I was looking at my vision board and that comment from the woman in my training popped into my head. I scoured my files to try and find her name and email and sent off a message. She was shocked to receive my email because she had JUST written on a to-do list to email me and see if I wanted to come. Planning began to bring me to India and 3 short months later I was training 10 lovely women to become Doulas.
During the training I had been asked if I’d be willing to chat with a doctor at a local hospital about the hospital doula program I run in the Toronto area. I thought that sounded super fun. But you can imagine my surprise when I arrived to see this lovely poster in the front door of the hospital, and in the lobby, and in the elevator! And when I walked into the room to have coffee with the doctor it was a presentation to about 40 people across 4 sites. I was pretty stoked.
What occurred to me was the status of “doula” in India now is very similar to when I began my career 15 years ago. But the difference is I didn’t have anyone guiding me or anyone to tell me how it could unfold and grow into an amazing profession. But this time I did! The doctors and hospital staff showed keen interest in our model and I’m excited to say they have since launched a hospital doula program of their own that is so popular they are sometimes turning clients away!
Because of the interest I was asked to return again to do another training. This time I was able to do a Lamaze Seminar as well as a Doula Training in Bangalore. Each course had 20 people in it! Another hospital in Delhi also brought me in to train all of their nurses! What a wonderful experience this has been and I am humbled and honoured to be part of this exciting movement in India.
Of course I was able to spend some fun time. I chose to recenter myself at a wonderful Ayurvedic Yoga retreat in Kerala. As Doulas, work-life balance and taking time for ourselves is absolutely critical to a sustained career.
What I know now that I’d say to my younger self is “yes, this career is sustainable and it will become something as special as you imagine now”.
If you’re interested here are some pics below.
This profession excites me to no end and I hope you’ll join me in the quest for #WorldDoulaDomination 😉