Doula Training Spotlight: Intuitive Childbirth

UPDATE February 19, 2014: Since I posted this almost two years ago, there has been a lot of back and forth about Intuitive Childbirth, questioning the program and the founders, including recent allegations of connections to white supremacy websites and comments. I am keeping this post here so that the comment record remains and people who search for this group can do their own research and see the record of different experiences with the program. I am not comfortable endorsing the organization at this point because of the various allegations–but I want this record to exist for future potential students so the allegations don’t disappear along with the post. I also removed the group from my list of doula training organizations.

I’ve kept on updating this list of doula training organizations, and it continues to grow! Most of the training groups I know little to nothing about, and the information has come from reader emails and the training websites. The list is not an endorsement of any particular training, just a resource for those looking for training options.

Occasionally though I’ll be posting guest posts about different trainings, just to give folks a little bit more info for those interested.

The info below came from an email from Samantha, one of the cofounders of Intuitive Childbirth, a new doula training that is FREE. Yup, you heard that right, free.

I have been working, along with another two doulas, for nearly three years now, developing a doula training course that is unlike any other program in existence, four specific concepts in mind:

1. Our training is free. Throughout my own journey as a doula I have encountered countless women who have the passion and desire to become a doula but lack the financial resources to do so. With the high fees the majority of programs charge, this inability to sacrifice financially is understandable, but I was outraged that women who felt so passionately and had such a great desire to make a difference in this realm were being denied the opportunity to do so.

2. We support choice. Nearly every other organization officially supports natural, unmedicated childbirth, interventions only when necessary. Although I am in full support of natural birth, I think it is important for doulas and women to recognize that this may not be the right choice for every woman and every birth. The only “wrong” decisions in birth are those made in ignorance, or against the mother’s desires. Every woman deserves the support of a doula, no matter what her desires for her birth are, and by officially supporting natural birth only, we are closing off a very large demographic of women to the incredible amount of support a doula can provide. We support choice. We believe that every woman intuitively knows what decisions are best for her. it is her doula’s job to help educate, inform, guide and support her as she discovers for herself what those decisions are.

3. We support the autonomy of a doula in her practice. Many organizations place restrictions on how a doula can and cannot practice. Some organizations forbid the use of essential oils or accupressure. Some forbid doulas from attending unassisted births. These restrictions are unfair to the doula as she should be able to practice as she sees fit. Again, it all comes down to choice. If the mother has made an informed decision on using essential oils in labor, I see no reason as to why her doula should be forbidden from assisting and supporting her in that choice. If a woman has chosen an unassisted birth, but desires a doula and is aware that a doula cannot act in the capacity of a midwife, I see no reason why she should be denied the presence and support of one.

4. We require our doulas to pay it forward. Our doulas are required to offer their services free of charge to a woman in need once per year in order to obtain and maintain their certification through Intuitive Childbirth. Just as we want to provide every woman who has the desire to become a doula the opportunity, we also want to help ensure that every woman who desires a doula at her birth has the opportunity to obtain one, regardless of financial limitations. It may only be one birth each year, from each doula, but for that woman that year, it can make a world of difference. And that is what we are all about. Changing the world, one doula at a time.

Interested in learning more? Check out their website.

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The Doula Project (NYC) is recruiting!

I can not say enough good things about this doula organization (and that’s not just because I was one of the founders). Lauren, Mary and all the amazing folks involved with this group have taken an amazing idea–providing support to pregnant folks across the spectrum of pregnancy–and created a vibrant and radical organization.

They’re recruiting for their next training this summer. They’re looking for trained birth doulas as well as folks who want to train as abortion doulas.

All the details are here.

More about the Childbirth and Postpartum Professional Association (CAPPA)

I got two emails last week from doulas wanting to share their experiences with CAPPA, which I had listed in the my doula trainings page, but don’t know much about. Their experiences are below. If you’ve trained with CAPPA, feel free to add your thoughts in the comments.

From Olivia:

Hi! I saw your post wanting info about CAPPA and wanted to tell you my experience. In 2007 I trained with CAPPA and was blown away. I investigated several organizations, some of whom I felt made it difficult to become and stay certified. CAPPA training was comprehensive, interactive and fun. I learned far more than thought I would and walked away with an understanding of how to best support women. CAPPA offers a free conference each year to its members making it affordable to stay up on CEUs required for recertification. We have an email list, the biggest interactive Facebook page of any childbirth organization and a sisterhood like no other. I can send an email out and get a reply immediately.

CAPPA members take an active role in running the organization. We are run by members who have an interest in how CAPPA functions.

From Angie:

Hi…I have been a member of CAPPA since 2007, I became a certified Labor Doula through CAPPA in 2007 and now I am a faculty member and teach trainings in Arkansas.

Cappa is a wonderful organization, there is a leadership board, standards of professionalism, scope of practice and very organized. I went through an intensive workshop for training 3 days long that taught me all the background education on a woman’s body and the natural birth process what it means to be a doula and how as a doula you can help birth moms have a wonderful birth experience and how to educate them on birth options, and planning and help them carry these out. Many well renowned birth guru’s are part of CAPPA’s faculty and leadership such as Barbara Harper, Ina May Gaskins, Jack Newman, MD, Polly Perez, and many more. I believe most birth organizations have similar goals to better educate, advocate and help moms to realize that natural birth is normal, and better for her and the baby, and support her in her choices that she wants.

My workshops are usually 3 days, very intensive with hands-on skills and support. I follow-up with the participants and help them achieve certification any way I can. Also CAPPA has an annual conference that is FREE with great well known speakers and you get CEUs.