Thoughts from comments: On doula certification

Often times people will find old posts I’ve written and add their thoughts to the comments. Many times it’s really great stuff and it makes me sad that it gets buried on old posts. So I’d like to highlight this comment from a soon to be radical doula Mel on my post about DONA and doula certification:

this blog (in totality) is air to me. thank you. i just found the blog a few days ago, and getting to this post is right on time…as i’m preparing for DONA workshops and certification starting tomorrow. i’m not a doula, yet. i’m a partnered queer woman of color (qwoc) and worry about finding a doula and midwife that get us. my partner and i are planning our first baby, and in figuring out my own birth plan…a natural-at-home-in-the-water-orgasmic-birth…i thought, “dang, if i knew about this ten years ago i would’ve gone to midwifery school!” i talked to a co-worker about my feelings and she said, “why not become a doula.” my research began and i made my decision. i do not intend to quit my job (teaching) to become a full-time doula. i recognize that quitting my job would force me to charge high fees for support, which would make it so that white upper-class women make up the bulk of clients. i want to be really clear…i’m neither anti-white, nor anti-wealth. however, the reality is that options are already abound in these communities. many american born/cultivated Q/WOC don’t even know what doulas are, or have no idea of the benefits of having a doula assist birth (in addition to having no idea how dangerous it is giving birth in a hospital!)…i want to work with qwoc, because historically we have fewer resources, less access and higher statistics. so you can pretty much guess that reading about how DONA ignores issues of race, class, gender, etc…comes as a bummer. HOWEVER…i wonder if abstaining from being DONA certified is the best response to this issue. wouldn’t it be beneficial to become certified…become a trainer…and give affordable or free workshops in our communities to empower doulas of the future? or do the same and provide workshops outside of our communities that force folks to look at and grapple with these issues? perhaps it’s my inexperience in the birthing community coming to the surface in my response…but in having dealt with other types of “fucking with the system”…i see that this may be an instance where you need to be in the system, if only for a minute, to fuck up the system. who knows, in 3 sundays i may have a different view 😉

You can read more from Mel here.

Now that I am looking into beginning my volunteer doula work again, this question of whether I made the right choice in not getting certified comes up again and again. I hear many different view points, including the thought this commenter shares. Isn’t it better to get as much training as possible, and then use that to create our own new system?

I’m going to try and do this every once in a while, to bring attention back to older threads with great comments.