The Poetry of Doula Life

I was recently reminded of the poetry of doula life through two separate experiences. One was a birth. The kind that make you cry. I cried. Even after all these years of doula work, watching a woman in her full power is by far the most amazing experience of my life.

This past weekend I did a doula training in Ottawa at Mama Goddess Yoga Studio. The doulas are given the option of creating a poster, a skit, a song, or a poem to help describe our role. I was wowed by the poem they created. Read it and think about the moments of awe you’ve experienced as a doula.

 


About the Author

Stefanie Antunes has been a Lamaze® Educator and doula since 2002, after the birth of her second son showed her just how valuable it isStefanie Antunes to be prepared for birth and to have good support around you.

Stefanie is a visionary in the childbirth field. She leads the Discover Birth organization providing a variety of services to expectant parents and training for those wishing to pursue work in the childbirth field. Stefanie is a board member with the Association of Ontario Doulas, former Public Relations Director for DONA International, and sits on many local boards and coalitions to improve our communities. She is a DONA-approved Birth Doula Trainer, runs an Approved Program for Lamaze International and runs two doula agencies Discover Birth and The Nesting Place.

Stefanie is the founder of The Birth Doula Program Hospital .

Stefanie is a contributing author in the best selling Power of Women United and the book Bearing Witness: Childbirth Stories Told by Doulas. She is a regular contributing writer and blogger, and has done many interviews online and for TV/radio.

Before becoming a doula, Stefanie worked in corporate intelligence, helping large companies keep abreast of their markets and competitors. She now works to bring some of those same skills to the doula profession, helping it grow and prosper, along with its many doula members.

 

 

Day 10: Podcasts for doulas

On the 10th Day of Doula School my Trainer Gave to Me….

Some podcasts to listen to

A couple of years ago one of my friends kept talking about podcasts and I admittedly hadn’t gotten into them yet. When she pushed me to listen to one I actually had to ask ‘how?’. But since then I’ve become ADDICTED to them! I have always liked learning and had some years as a “self-help junkie” as I used to call myself. I had to actually stop buying self-help books for a while, lol. But now I listen to podcasts all the time! I always have a bunch I’ve subscribed to and the topics span a WIDE range. Some are self-help, some are inspiration, some are work-related, LOTS are about relationships. But they always make me feel like I’m learning and they INSPIRE me! And who can’t use more inspiration?! My favourite BY FAR is the SuperSoul podcast by Oprah. It’s SO good and always short enough to get through in one car ride 🙂

How to listen to podcasts

If you’re on an Apple product then just look for the purple icon that says ‘podcasts’. You can search for whatever topic and podcast you’re looking for and you can either download one to try it out, or you can subscribe to get all the episodes. If you download episodes when you’re on wifi then you won’t be using data when you listen to them.

If you’re on an Android, launch Google Play Music app. Tap the menu button (often top left) and tap ‘podcasts’. The rest should be pretty easy from there!

List of podcasts

Here are some podcasts that you might enjoy. Search for them in your podcast app. I’ll admit I haven’t listened to every single one, but they’re the ones that come the most highly recommended by doulas and parents!

Birthful

Progressive Parenting

The Taproot Doula Project

toRaise Questions Doula Podcast

Birth Kweens

Dr. Stu’s Podcast

Evidence Based Birth

Indie Birth – Women Own Birth

 

About birth and parenting:

The Longest Shortest Time

If These Ovaries Could Talk

Adriana Lozada at Birthful: Maternity, Doula & Greenproofing Services (Birthful Podcast)

The Birth Talks

Not By Accident

Mom and Mind

 

About the Author

Stefanie Antunes has been a Lamaze® Educator and doula since 2002, after the birth of her second son showed her just how valuable it isStefanie Antunes to be prepared for birth and to have good support around you.

Stefanie is a visionary in the childbirth field. She leads the Discover Birth organization providing a variety of services to expectant parents and training for those wishing to pursue work in the childbirth field. Stefanie is a board member with the Association of Ontario Doulas, former Public Relations Director for DONA International, and sits on many local boards and coalitions to improve our communities. She is a DONA-approved Birth Doula Trainer, runs an Approved Program for Lamaze International and runs two doula agencies Discover Birth and The Nesting Place.

Stefanie is the founder of The Birth Doula Program Hospital .

Stefanie is a contributing author in the best selling Power of Women United and the book Bearing Witness: Childbirth Stories Told by Doulas. She is a regular contributing writer and blogger, and has done many interviews online and for TV/radio.

Before becoming a doula, Stefanie worked in corporate intelligence, helping large companies keep abreast of their markets and competitors. She now works to bring some of those same skills to the doula profession, helping it grow and prosper, along with its many doula members.

 

Day 8: Working collaboratively (vlog)

Working Collaboratively

The Doula profession is a newer one and working collaboratively is the name of the game for us these days. We’ve see great strides in many areas. Stefanie discusses ways you can work collaboratively and why it’s important. Read her written blog on the topic here

About the Author

Stefanie Antunes

Stefanie Antunes has been a Lamaze® Educator and doula since 2002, after the birth of her second son showed her just how valuable it is to be prepared for birth and to have good support around you.

Stefanie is a visionary in the childbirth field. She leads the Discover Birth organization providing a variety of services to expectant parents and training for those wishing to pursue work in the childbirth field. Stefanie is a board member with the Association of Ontario Doulas, former Public Relations Director for DONA International, and sits on many local boards and coalitions to improve our communities. She is a DONA-approved Birth Doula Trainer, runs an Approved Program for Lamaze International and runs two doula agencies Discover Birth and The Nesting Place.

Stefanie is the founder of The Birth Doula Program Hospital .

Stefanie is a contributing author in the best selling Power of Women United and the book Bearing Witness: Childbirth Stories Told by Doulas. She is a regular contributing writer and blogger, and has done many interviews online and for TV/radio.

Before becoming a doula, Stefanie worked in corporate intelligence, helping large companies keep abreast of their markets and competitors. She now works to bring some of those same skills to the doula profession, helping it grow and prosper, along with its many doula members.

Day 7: Playing nice – working as a team

On the Seventh Day of Doula School my Trainer Gave to ME….

Thoughts on playing nice in the sandbox

I’ll admit when I first became a childbirth educator (and later a doula), I did so because of my own disempowering birth experience (and a subsequent great experience). As a DONA trainer now I see how challenging it can be when we come into this field with those types of histories. Either becoming a doula to help others have a great birth like you did, or becoming a doula to “save” others from a disempowering birth are DIFFICULT reasons to become a doula. Because no matter what happens, I can guarantee you will feel triggered and disappointed at some point as you support others. What also tends to unfold when we haven’t healed from our own “stuff” before we embark on this path, is that we inevitably start to see the world as US vs THEM. And folks, that’s a DANGEROUS way to join the sandbox.

Working with Others

There are a LOT of people we work with as doulas or birth workers. We work with care providers, colleagues, community partners, and others we refer our clients to. It’s critical to establish and maintain these relationships over time. Nothing is as valuable as your reputation.

Growth

When we’re new we’re not really thinking too much about what the industry might look like in 5/10/15 years, but as someone who’s been a doula for longer than that, let me tell you that MATTERS. I am SO grateful for the effort that I and the other doulas in my area have put into fostering good relationships with others. We are now benefitting from that in my community. Don’t for a second think that what you do now won’t matter in 5 years. It sure will!

Behaviour

What you do now doesn’t just impact you and your client, but it impacts everyone around you. Imagine if a nurse has a bad experience with a doula….She will share her experience with those around her and I can assure it will take TEN GOOD EXPERIENCES with other doulas to make up for one bad one. So please understand that your behaviour affects EVERYONE in your industry. If you’re feeling burnt out, check out my article on Vicarious Trauma for help on what to do.

Hierarchy

One of the things that has really helped me work with other professionals in the birth room, especially in the early years when my role was met with much scepticism, was to take my ego out of the mix and allow myself to be at the bottom of the hierarchy system. Some of the ways you can foster good relationships with people who are sceptical of your role is to begin with bringing cookies, muffins, coffee/tea as you arrive at the hospital/birth. Then introduce yourself appropriately. As I begin to work with a new nurse (and every time a new nurse comes on), I do the whole thing all over again and I ask permission for EVERYTHING. How difficult is it to ask “hey nurse Susan, I was thinking of using a hot pack, what do you think? Is this temperature ok?”, “hey nurse Susan, I was going to get some more ice chips for X, can I grab you anything while I’m out?”, and on and on. I ask permission for things I don’t need to ask permission for because it shows my respect for their role and my submission to the hierarchy that is a part of the medical system we live within. Why not fit INTO the system where we can to work from WITHIN it? I can be an activist at boardroom tables and lawns, but in the birth room there is no room for activism.

Community Partners

Doulas should be masters at referrals. We need to know the lay of the land when it comes to helping our clients get the best support possible. So get out from behind your computer and go meet people! Go to networking events and business meetings. Or just plain ol’ go to their place of business and introduce yourself. You’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain!

Colleagues

Last but definitely not least is getting to know your colleagues. In this job we profess the importance of the ‘village’ that surrounds us. We need it as parents, but we definitely need it as doulas. I have been surrounded by the most wonderful doula colleagues a girl could ask for. I am humbled by the ways and times we work together and foster good relatioships with each other and the community around us for the good of everyone. I will continue to spend time and energy on this for the rest of my life. I absolutely LOVE how closely I work with and respect the people that society would deem my ‘competitors’. I say pftt to the word ‘competitor’ and encourage you to put your big girl panties on, stop taking things so seriously, accept to love and respect those around you (even when they have different opinions than you) and make nice in the sandbox.

Future of Doula

Next week as we close out the year I’m going to share some thoughts on the future of ‘doula’. I have seen so much growth over the past decade and a half of working in this field. Amazing growth. I am excited for what comes next, but I know without a shadow of a doubt it’s been possible (and will be possible) because of the relationships we all foster with each other and the professionals we work with. So please keep at it, even when it feels hard.

About the Author

Stefanie Antunes has been a Lamaze® Educator and doula since 2002, after the birth of her second son showed her just how valuable it isStefanie Antunes to be prepared for birth and to have good support around you.

Stefanie is a visionary in the childbirth field. She leads the Discover Birth organization providing a variety of services to expectant parents and training for those wishing to pursue work in the childbirth field. Stefanie is a board member with the Association of Ontario Doulas, former Public Relations Director for DONA International, and sits on many local boards and coalitions to improve our communities. She is a DONA-approved Birth Doula Trainer, runs an Approved Program for Lamaze International and runs two doula agencies Discover Birth and The Nesting Place.

Stefanie is the founder of The Birth Doula Program Hospital .

Stefanie is a contributing author in the best selling Power of Women United and the book Bearing Witness: Childbirth Stories Told by Doulas. She is a regular contributing writer and blogger, and has done many interviews online and for TV/radio.

Before becoming a doula, Stefanie worked in corporate intelligence, helping large companies keep abreast of their markets and competitors. She now works to bring some of those same skills to the doula profession, helping it grow and prosper, along with its many doula members.

Day 6: Making Prenatals FUN and Visual

On the Sixth Day of Doula School My Trainer Gave to Me….

How to Make Doula Prenatals FUN

Have you ever wondered how you can make doula prenatal visits more fun? I became a childbirth educatore BEFORE I was a doula, so I brought with me lots of thoughts on adult learning and the cone of learning (by Edgar Dale) around ways to ensure my doula clients actually remember what we practice and discuss. And really it’s just more fun to do prenatals that flow well and are enjoyable. Let me know what else you do to make YOUR prenatals fun!

About the Author

Stefanie Antunes has been a Lamaze® Educator and doula since 2002, after the birth of her second son showed her just how valuable it isStefanie Antunes to be prepared for birth and to have good support around you.

Stefanie is a visionary in the childbirth field. She leads the Discover Birth organization providing a variety of services to expectant parents and training for those wishing to pursue work in the childbirth field. Stefanie is a board member with the Association of Ontario Doulas, former Public Relations Director for DONA International, and sits on many local boards and coalitions to improve our communities. She is a DONA-approved Birth Doula Trainer, runs an Approved Program for Lamaze International and runs two doula agencies Discover Birth and The Nesting Place.

Stefanie is the founder of The Birth Doula Program Hospital .

Stefanie is a contributing author in the best selling Power of Women United and the book Bearing Witness: Childbirth Stories Told by Doulas. She is a regular contributing writer and blogger, and has done many interviews online and for TV/radio.

Before becoming a doula, Stefanie worked in corporate intelligence, helping large companies keep abreast of their markets and competitors. She now works to bring some of those same skills to the doula profession, helping it grow and prosper, along with its many doula members.

Day 5: MORE Marketing ideas

On the Fifth Day of Doula School my Trainer Gave to Me….MORE Marketing ideas!

I see new and seasoned doulas alike asking about how to market a birth business. Did you know that most businesses thrive and survive

based on repeat business? It costs a LOT more (some say up to 10x more) to get a first-time customer than a repeat customer. But if you’re a birth doula, then you’re in the business of ALWAYS getting the FIRST-TIME customer. That means that we need to work SMART in our marketing and we definitely need to be cost

conscious. Here are some of the ideas I recommend for marketing a doula business. In our next blog post I’ll share an excerpt of our Doula School Business Program Module 3, which is ALL about marketing.

Before I share some ideas, I want to remind you that…

“If you don’t know where you’re going, any path will get you there!”

BEFORE doing any work on marketing make sure you’ve done a thorough job of creating your goals (SMART goals) and of defining your TARGET market. There is no point in continuing until you’ve done that.

Here are some ideas to consider. I added what I think in terms of priority, cost and time investment. Now, depending on where you’re at in your business you may have a different priority level or time investment. Sometimes it takes a LOT of time to do something the FIRST time but then takes much less for subsequent times. I hope this gives you some ideas. Let me know what works for you!

Marketing ideas

Idea Priority Cost Time investment
Brochures Low High Medium (may need outside help for graphic design)
Workshops (ie comfort measures) Low Low High (need outside help)
Networking High Low-Medium Medium (should follow-up with people you meet)
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) High Low Medium to high
Social Media Depends Deplends High if done yourself
Prenatal/Baby Show Low High High
Online advertising High Depends Low to medium
Newsletters Low-Med Low Low to medium
Reciprocal advertising High Low Low to medium
Online advertising High Depends Low to medium

About the Author

Stefanie Antunes has been a Lamaze® Educator and doula since 2002, after the birth of her second son showed her just how valuable it isStefanie Antunes to be prepared for birth and to have good support around you.

Stefanie is a visionary in the childbirth field. She leads the Discover Birth organization providing a variety of services to expectant parents and training for those wishing to pursue work in the childbirth field. Stefanie is a board member with the Association of Ontario Doulas, former Public Relations Director for DONA International, and sits on many local boards and coalitions to improve our communities. She is a DONA-approved Birth Doula Trainer, runs an Approved Program for Lamaze International and runs two doula agencies Discover Birth and The Nesting Place.

Stefanie is the founder of The Birth Doula Program Hospital .

Stefanie is a contributing author in the best selling Power of Women United and the book Bearing Witness: Childbirth Stories Told by Doulas. She is a regular contributing writer and blogger, and has done many interviews online and for TV/radio.

Before becoming a doula, Stefanie worked in corporate intelligence, helping large companies keep abreast of their markets and competitors. She now works to bring some of those same skills to the doula profession, helping it grow and prosper, along with its many doula members.

Day 4: Marketing Ideas

On the Fourth Day of Doula School my Trainer Gave to Me….Marketing ideas!

DONA trainer Stefanie Antunes shares some thoughts about marketing a doula practice. She shares some excerpts from her Doula School Business Program. Watch till the end for some other ideas in addition to what she shares from the business program.

About the Author

Stefanie Antunes has been a Lamaze® Educator and doula since 2002, after the birth of her second son showed her just how valuable it isStefanie Antunes to be prepared for birth and to have good support around you.

Stefanie is a visionary in the childbirth field. She leads the Discover Birth organization providing a variety of services to expectant parents and training for those wishing to pursue work in the childbirth field. Stefanie is a board member with the Association of Ontario Doulas, former Public Relations Director for DONA International, and sits on many local boards and coalitions to improve our communities. She is a DONA-approved Birth Doula Trainer, runs an Approved Program for Lamaze International and runs two doula agencies Discover Birth and The Nesting Place.

Stefanie is the founder of The Birth Doula Program Hospital .

Stefanie is a contributing author in the best selling Power of Women United and the book Bearing Witness: Childbirth Stories Told by Doulas. She is a regular contributing writer and blogger, and has done many interviews online and for TV/radio.

Before becoming a doula, Stefanie worked in corporate intelligence, helping large companies keep abreast of their markets and competitors. She now works to bring some of those same skills to the doula profession, helping it grow and prosper, along with its many doula members.

Day 3: What’s in the Doula Bag?

On the THIRD day of Doula School my Trainer gave to me….

In this video blog, Stefanie goes over the most common items to include in your doula bag. Have a peak in the bag and share your own favourites in the comments!

About the Author

Stefanie Antunes has been a Lamaze® Educator and doula since 2002, after the birth of her second son showed her just how valuable it isStefanie Antunes to be prepared for birth and to have good support around you.

Stefanie is a visionary in the childbirth field. She leads the Discover Birth organization providing a variety of services to expectant parents and training for those wishing to pursue work in the childbirth field. Stefanie is a board member with the Association of Ontario Doulas, former Public Relations Director for DONA International, and sits on many local boards and coalitions to improve our communities. She is a DONA-approved Birth Doula Trainer, runs an Approved Program for Lamaze International and runs two doula agencies Discover Birth and The Nesting Place.

Stefanie is the founder of The Birth Doula Program Hospital .

Stefanie is a contributing author in the best selling Power of Women United and the book Bearing Witness: Childbirth Stories Told by Doulas. She is a regular contributing writer and blogger, and has done many interviews online and for TV/radio.

Before becoming a doula, Stefanie worked in corporate intelligence, helping large companies keep abreast of their markets and competitors. She now works to bring some of those same skills to the doula profession, helping it grow and prosper, along with its many doula members.