I want to be a Birth Doula someday. My even greater ambition is to one day become a midwife.
If you read this post a few weeks ago, you already know these things, but you don’t know what I’ve been doing since I announced my intention to pursue these dreams. As I mentioned, to become a Doula, I need childbirth education training. I used the Bradley Method with my last birth, I loved it, and I would love to become a Bradley Method Instructor anyway, so I will be pursuing that before the Doula training. One of the requirements for Bradley Instructor Training is attendance of La Leche meetings, which brings me to step one of the Doula process.
I attended a La Leche League meeting at the beginning of the month and joined. It was so wonderfully refreshing to be in a room full of women who didn’t think it was weird that I’m still nursing my 20 month old. In many ways, I have recently been conforming to societal norms, or at least attempting to appear that way. What I mean is: I ceased to nurse in public, only nurse Little Man at nap and bedtimes (which are my favorite times of the day), and never mentioned that I still nursed unless directly asked. I don’t really know why I did that. I am not ashamed that I still nurse him, and attending that meeting helped me to realize that hiding that from the world isn’t doing him or me any good.
I am not saying I was told what I was doing was wrong. In fact, I never even brought it up.
I’m also not saying it’s necessary to nurse in public. I just mean, I had a fear of it, which had been keeping me from nursing him when he needed comforting outside of our home (ie, after hurting himself on the playground, while having a temper tantrum from being over tired, or just after I forgot to bring a snack for him and he was melting down). Feeling the love and support of other nursing mothers around me and hearing their words of encouragement as I talked about nursing while pregnant was empowering.
Now that I have attended a meeting, my plans have shifted slightly. Our financial situation along with a very full fall/winter calendar, have forced me to stretch those plans out a little. Both Bradley Method Instructor training and birth Doula training are time intensive and expensive at more than $500 each. I can, however, in the mean time pursue leadership within La Leche League, which I believe is much more affordable. Not only that, but I believe I’ll have the opportunity to really support women in their postpartum breastfeeding efforts, which is something I have also always wanted to do, and may someday lead me to becoming a lactation consultant and/or educator.
In any case, I’m not giving up on my dreams, I’m actually starting to think bigger. My long term plan is to become more involved with La Leche right now, complete Bradley Method Instructor training next year, and then decide where I want to go from there.
Are you or is anyone you know a Birth Doula? How long did it take them? Is there one training or organizational affiliation you would recommend over others? I would love any advice on pursuing this dream.