Volume 1, Issue 2
June was a very busy month here at ProDoula! We have added 274 more ProDoulas to the ProDoula family and we just keep growing. Even though we are in the midst of the summer we are not on vacation here – we have 20 trainings on the calendar for next month.
In the ProDoula store we added “As They Mourn” which is a loss resource developed to help assist birth workers of all walks to support clients/patients through loss. This resource uses a multi faceted approach to help birth workers: explore personal thoughts, feelings and beliefs surrounding loss; identify local resources for families experiencing loss; and provides practical and tangible information to help birth works assist families with navigating loss as they mourn.
If you work in a birth related field for any length of time it is likely that you will encounter loss with the families you serve. This resource will assist you in providing compassionate and professional support to families from the moment a loss occurs.
ProDoula has taken Ireland by storm at the first ever ProDoula Labor & Postpartum training in Dublin! The doulas in Dublin were so enthusiastic about our programs they will be bringing us back for Virtually Present in September, 2016. We have plans to return to Ireland for more doula trainings as well. Belfast – Northern Ireland is our next stop for Labor & Postpartum trainings. We are also headed to Israel for Postpartum, Placenta Prep and Virtually Present in the coming months!
Congratulations to me, Stacey Lee! I’ve been promoted to ProDoula Office Manager. Kim Jones is now the right hand to Randy Patterson as her Executive Assistant. With growth comes change, and here at ProDoula we are always ready to meet the needs with change. We look forward to continuing to serve you.
We love reading about and hearing about all of your accomplishments; keep up the great work!
Why did my Instagram feed change and how does this change affect my business on social media?
Did you know that the average Instagram user is said to miss about 30% of photos when their feed is presented in chronological order? To ‘enhance the user’s experience’ Instagram has implemented an algorithm that rearranges your news feed and puts the content in order based on what Instagram thinks you like.
How can I make sure my content is still visible with Instagram’s new algorithm?
Don’t panic! This may increase the difficulty when trying to reach your target market but there are some things you can do to make sure that your social media presence remains strong.
As a childbirth educator teaching about cervical dilation and effacement can be a challenge. This 5 model set allows the educator to give a visual understanding of a process that students often struggle to visualize.
Each set of includes 5 cervical models that represent various stages of dilation and effacement. Models included are 1, 3, 5, 8 and 10cm. Instructions for use are also included.
These models can be used with the Childbirth Model Set that is also available in the ProDoula shop to demonstrate the descent of the baby through the pelvis and the 10cm cervical model allows for delivery of the fetal model’s head.
This is a great tool to add to any childbirth educator’s tool kit.
View this Product
Catie Mehl – Columbus Birth & Parenting
Many of us were raised by a generation that told us we could be whatever we want to be. “Do what makes you happy and you’ll never work a day in your life.” We absolutely can do this, but we must also be able to support ourselves and our families. For us to do this, doula work must be sustainable. We have to be able to support ourselves and our families while doing this work.
This is what ProDoula is known for. We’re the doula training and certifying body that promotes a strong business model for those we train and those who learn from us in the Facebook groups “The Business of Being a Doula” and “So You Think You Can Doula?”.
ProDoula is not only about the business side of things, though. We also are known for questioning the status quo. ProDoulas are, as owner Randy Patterson recently said, “intuitive and passionate about birth work.”
Did you catch that subtle nuance there? Let me say it again: ProDoulas are “intuitive and passionate about birth work.”
It’s time for doulas to evolve on more than just business and money, but also on the work of being a doula. What is that work, you ask? It’s exactly what our name says: serving others, and doing so in the way they need and want to be served.
Doulas waste so much time and energy fighting online about a wide variety of birth and postpartum topics. Why? Do our clients care? Do our potential clients care? I know we want to believe they do, but do they really? Or do they care about how to better communicate with their partner and their medical provider? Do they care about what the research says or about how the choices they’re making will impact them as an individual? Do they care about if a drug is “off-label” or if it will work?
The more time we spend arguing with each other online, the less time we’re spending making connections with potential clients, current clients, and the medical community. Isn’t that what being a doula is all about? Fostering greater connection between our fellow human beings? Between mother and baby. Woman and partner. Partner and baby. Pregnant person and their care provider.
Doulas must stop fighting the medical community and we must begin to build bridges. As Jonathon Larson, writer of the musical “Rent” says in the song La Vie Boheme, “The opposite of war isn’t peace, it’s creation.”
We doulas need to start to recognize that, for the most part, we all (doulas, the general population, and the medical community) want the same thing, we just have a different way of getting there. We can learn from each other. We all have vastly different experiences and yet they’re all valid. Think of the change we can make if we took the time to get to know one another and build connections. Even if we live in areas where care providers are behind the times, if we spend our time and energy in getting to know why, we can slowly begin to make change. And we get to know the why by getting to know the person in front of us. By connecting.
This is how we create a world where birth and parenting are more respected.
It’s time for doulas to evolve in so many areas. If we keep doing things the way they’ve always been done, we’ll continue to get the same results. Doulas burning out within 2-3 years. Clients feeling judged by their doula for their choices. Hospital bans of doulas. Little to no respect from the medical system (which may not be something you care about, but it’s the system we have chosen to work within).
It’s time to start focusing on the work of being a doula. On serving and connecting. On meeting people where they’re at. On remembering that our very title — doula — reminds us that it isn’t about us.
What are you going to focus your time and energy on today?
Operation Special Delivery is continuing to grow daily. If you are interested in joining the ranks head on over to the revamped Operation Special Delivery website to learn more about how you can support our military families!
Bethany Rine – Owner of Doulas of Northwest Arkansas
I discovered ProDoula like many people do, through the Facebook group The Business of Being a Doula. At first I thought the place was crazy! So many people were so passionate about charging a living wage and not doing births for free. I mostly agreed, but I still kept repeating to myself that I simply could not charge a fair wage because I just wasn’t good enough yet. I took many of the suggestions, but it wasn’t until I brought an Advanced Business Training (ABT) to my area that things really started changing for me.
After some real talk with Randy after ABT, I realized that there was a real problem with how I was providing doula services. The problem was that I didn’t believe I was worth a living wage for my work. She talked me into coming to the ProDoula Conference, and after that, I decided to take as many ProDoula trainings as I could. I learned how telling myself I wasn’t worth a living wage hurt my family, influenced the way I provided services to clients and affected the way I looked at myself a person.
The things I’ve learned at every ProDoula training I have participated in have done more than increase my knowledge about birth and postpartum work. Because I have been a part of ProDoula and allowed myself to be open to new ideas, I have become a better person. I’ve learned about how to provide truly non-judgmental support and how to run a business in accordance with the laws of my state. I learned that I owed it to myself (because I’m enough!) and how to to stop making this excellent work a drain on my family.
People often ask me about where to train as a doula and I recommend ProDoula again and again. I invested my money in five different doula organizations before finding ProDoula, and no other organization has invested in me personally like ProDoula has. I have had the amazing opportunity to meet several different members of the training and development team, and each has taken time to personally enrich my life. Even when I was grieving through a miscarriage, an issue seemingly unrelated to my professional well being, I received a supportive phone call from Randy Patterson.
The level of limitless support that I’ve learned to extend to my clients because of ProDoula has also been extended to me in so many ways, and for that reason I can only recommend ProDoula to those seeking a certifying organization.
What is the most embarrassing thing happened at a training?
When you work with a plastic pelvis, a stuffed breast, and a baby doll, you start to be incredibly comfortable with those items. There have been more than a few instances where I get so consumed with the topic of conversation that I forget what I’m doing with my props…We all have a good laugh when I put the tools down and we move on. Who doesn’t love an awkward moment with a perineum?!
The moment you realized the importance of doula work
My good friend and I were retelling out birth experiences, and she stopped, starred at me, and said, “I didn’t didn’t know birth could be like that.” This was my friend who thought suffering was a normal part of birth.
Epiphany you had at your first doula training
“How am I just finding out about this now!?” I was on the eve of entering my 30’s and I was both embarrassed and fascinated by the complex systems surrounding birth. 4 years later and I still think it is amazing!
Donuts. And I am spoiled and tempted constantly with the incredible variety in Chicago
My mom color coded me with yellow as a child to be able to tell when cups, towels, or bags were left out. I have always found it comforting. But if you look at my closet, it is filled with blues.
Must have item when traveling to a training.
My Moleskin notebook. I find quite a bit of inspiration when I travel, and it isn’t always feasible to whip out my computer to type. I can jot down blog ideas (which if you have been on one of my trainings I blurt out, “That’s a great blog!” fairly often), plan out what needs to be checked in with for Doulas of Chicago after the workshop is done for the day, or keep my “On the road” client intake information in a safe place until I can put it into Basecamp.
What do you do when you are sitting on a plane?
I blog or talk about doula work with my seat mate if they are open. When I just can get any words to come, I have a game on my phone called Monument Valley.
14 year old daughter of Kristyn Blocher – ProDoula Trainer, Owner Doulas Northwest
How long has your mom been a doula?
My mom has been a doula for 9 years.
What is the best part about your mom being a doula?
The best part about my mom being a doula is that she has been a huge inspiration to me as a career woman and growing up in that environment has helped me find what career I myself will be pursuing as an adult.
What are/were the downsides to your mom being a doula?
The downsides of having a doula for a mom would have to be when she is on call. When she has to get up and leave in the middle of the night it can be disrupting. As well as when she has to leave family gatherings or misses out on holidays.
Summer time is our favorite time for sweet, refreshing salads. Nothing screams summer more to us than summer salads with fresh fruit.
Our current favorite summer salad:
1 cup fresh cut strawberries
1 cup fresh blackberries
1 cup fresh seedless red grapes
1 cup mandarin oranges – drained
Toss fresh fruit with your favorite greens and add your favorite salad dressing.
If we are eating this salad for lunch or as our dinner we add fresh grilled or shredded chicken breast for a bit of protein.
We are excited to announce our new ProDoula certification badges. We know you love wearing the ribbons that display your certifications at conference, now you can proudly display these certifications on your website! Over the next few weeks certified labor doulas, postpartum doulas, postpartum placenta specialists and childbirth educators should be checking their email for their badge(s) and instructions for how to use them.
We can’t wait to see all the ProDoula bling on your websites soon!
As many of you may have heard—because I shouted it from the rooftops!—my company, Intown Doula, has the pleasure of hosting Debbie Aglietti in Atlanta for the Debbie-for-a-Day package offered by ProDoula.
I was nervous about this at first; it seemed like a big investment, and I didn’t know Debbie very well. Would she be nice to me? Or would she come in like Gordon Ramsey and tell me all the things I’ve been doing wrong?
It made me feel a little vulnerable to know she would have me bare my soul—and all my accounts—to her. But I took the leap, and I’m so glad that I did.
Debbie came in and wanted to get right to work. SO her style! We went to my office and sat down to discuss my current systems and what was and was not working.
Since we had discussed our visit extensively by phone prior to getting together, we cut through everything like a knife through butter. Seriously, eight hours doesn’t sounds like enough time by a long shot to straighten even one thing out, but Debbie is a machine.
We revamped my agency’s scheduling system, our intake process, our billing and invoicing, and our projection strategies. These are just a very few things we tackled.
I absolutely loved that she personalized everything completely–she wasted exactly zero minutes on unnecessary things or things I didn’t prioritize, so I felt every second that she was maximizing my investment and that made ME want to work hard, too!
When it was all said and done and Debbie had worked on my company for eight hours, I ran some numbers: Debbie’s guidance actually SAVED me more money than my original investment! Furthermore, her industry-specific expertise helped me to move forward on some projects that had been stagnant because they needed direction.
Debbie was one of the kindest, most generous people I have ever worked with and I know for 100% that she is investment in the success of my company. What more could I possibly ask for?
Meaghan is the owner of Toronto Family Doulas and is certified as a labor doula, postpartum doula, postpartum placenta specialist and ProDoula certified childbirth educator!