If you read my About Me or know me personally you know this is not my first career. I have a Bachelors in Accounting and 8 years experience as a Mathematics & Computer Science teacher. When I told my immediate circle my aspirations to become a Doula it seemed like goal far off and out of reach to them and me. I started researching "how to become a Doula" on Google and 3 trillion organizations popped up to be x, requiring y, and costing z, AND you had to invest a ridiculous amount of time into the process. I got discouraged and worried and forgot a second that when I say I'm doing something it gets done. I went to God in prayer and within a month of me saying what I wanted God gave me what I asked for FULL SPEED AHEAD. Mane and it was so much more obtainable of a goal than I could see from my POV on my own that I vowed to put others up on game however I could.
This is my 1st installment to my process to becoming a Doula. Not just any ol Doula, specifically, WhatTheDoula. I'm talking full transparency, glows and grows, FREE GAME to guide you on your road to becoming a Doula too or just knowing more about the process or my journey. It BLEW MY MIND that all that all these opportunities to take workshops, train, and network with women all over the world were just falling in my lap. I just needed to stop over complicating it and realize I wasn't pioneering I was supporting this work, there was no need to start all over, and that my education and experiences were more than enough.
I'm not pioneering, I'm connecting
Part of my goal in becoming a Doula is to close the gap between the services providing care to birthing parents and infants and the education about services and supports to enhance the lives of families all over. I'm not super Doula and there is no way I can service all these families myself, so that means I need the support of other like-minded Doulas. I got real eager and started building rapport with local Midwives like Toni Hill, who made my long-term goal of Midwifery seem obtainable and happily gave insight on the process. I'll get started on those pre-requisites in the near future but honestly I'm enjoying being a novice from the sidelines. It was one thing to have my own births but to be granted access to someone else's is MAGICAL and EMOTIONAL and I'm excited to continue connecting with other women who are willing to share their insight, resources, advice, or just be inspiration without even knowing sometimes.
Starting my connections close to home empowered me to connect virtually. It no longer mattered how "eager" I looked but I was sliding in DMs, website informational boxes, registering for webinars, sharing, reposting, liking, YOU NAME IT with any person in birthwork I connected with and felt my goals were aligned to.
Takeaway: The issues are the same everywhere. There should be competition, it means we are closer to meeting our goal of lowering the heartbreaking statistics that support there is mistreatment and neglect of the pregnant person and their baby. You have to be humble enough to seek the necessary connections out and ask to observe them, to ask questions, or for just for support in the journey through insight.
There was no need to start over
My educational career probably attributes largely to my success on the business side of things and the rapport building side of things. As a teacher, we were required to plan lessons with over arching goals in mind and set timelines then measure what we were doing.
As a doula I transfer this skill to my business first through mapping out my client workflow. I started by asking myself:
What does every step of this process look like?
Who owns the step?
What notes or resources are needed for the step?
I complied all this information in a Google Sheet, added check boxes, and voila a workflow template! I would use it in the job for me and I have automations set up that allow me to streamline/brand things like appointment reminders and reviews.
Takeaway: Before you get the clients, get the process to flow your clients through your services/ business down on paper. Apply it and adjust it to meet your growing needs.
As it relates to rapport, another skill of teachers is to be effective deliverers. I know how to take text that you read and go deeper and extend that thang by drawing on z other experiences to help you CONNECT with the information. As an educator I know that connection turns on more light bulbs than any handout or any google link I could give you. I also know how easy it can be to want to do EVERYTHING under the sun but I'm good about knowing my capacity. explore yours and only take on things that connect to your long term or short term goals.
Takeaway: Make sure you connect with the information you are giving clients and services you are offering clients. The internet has so many resources but what does your client need and what can you provide a thorough connection to and understanding of?
My education was enough
I had to be real about my goals long-term and short term. I have a Bachelors in Accounting with dreams to become a Midwife, its unrealistic to think I can JUMP RIGHT IN that lane, I have some prerequisites as I mentioned to handle. However, the lane of Doula, was wide open for me and my experience level was perfect! I was a mom of 2, I'd had a Doula for my first birth, the resources to pursue trainings, and the personality to network with other birth workers. I sent so many emails, followed so many pages, joined so many support groups thinking no one would actually help me and I received more help than I thought. I was hesitant but still preparing to start my training process and then God led me to Embodied Doula Trainings and National Black Doulas Association Rebyrth Doula Training, two organizations whose curriculum and instructors were exactly what I needed for the business I wanted to run. It was important for me to certify and train with organizations either for black people by black people or they be willing to acknowledge their efforts to be an ally for black people publicly and through action. Both trainings exceeded my expectations and I would and always do recommend Zoe and Tracie as educators to aspiring Doulas.
NBDA has a mentorship component absent in other doula organizations that I have benefited the most from other than my cohort of NBDA Doula Sisters (Shoutout to the June 20 Class). Embodiment also offers 1 mentorship session with the founder. I said all that to say both organizations sowed confidence into me and mentored me and I now know my experiences kind of put me a step ahead of the game. All that was needed from me now was action. Doing the work to market myself, continue to educate myself in areas I'm not well versed or familiar, training to provide the quality service I market, and getting my business affairs in order. I am grateful to be married to an Accountant/ Co-Owner of Matthews Financial Solutions, who understood how to legally establish my business, accurately file my business tax return, and manage my business cash-flow. Connect with him down the line for all your business and tax needs!
Takeaway: Beyond price comparing, explore values of certifying organizations, length of certification process, if virtual births will count during COVID hospital freeze outs, do they link you with mentors, read the reviews of others on them, explore their social media. I knew off the bat where I was going based on up to date social media and website language.
WhatTheDoula is evolving everyday and that's because of the support and confidence from the two above mentioned organizations, my previous experiences and skills, and my mentor Kira Kimble, of Train with Kira, who shares so many amazing tips and resources for the business of being a doula and the practice of being a doula. If 2021 is anything like 2020 business wise for me, in my Yo Gotti voice "That's wassup!".
What questions do you have about your own process to becoming a Doula? Feel free to comment or email them to me at email@example.com .
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