Can I Call Myself A Doula?

If I had a dollar for every time a woman asked if my training course is ‘certified’ and if she is ‘allowed’ to be a doula when she graduates I’d be a very rich woman!

The truth is the doula industry is unregulated. You don’t have to do ANY training to call yourself a doula.

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At first sight, perhaps this sounds worrying, but I think it’s a good thing. When a doula is acting within the scope of her role she will not diagnose, treat or prevent any illness. She will not do any clinical work, not prescribe herbs or remedies, will not give advice, and not make any decisions on behalf of the family.

The role of a doula is to provide emotional and practical support to families when a new baby is born. It’s really, very simple.

It’s feminine, intuitive, emotional work, that woman have been doing for as long as humans have been having babies.

It’s only recently - in a masculine climate of institutionalised birth and litigation - that women’s work has been discredited.

Perhaps you’ve internalised these doubts. Am I good enough? Am I skilled enough? Am I experienced enough? Am I too young? Am I too old? Am I too fat? Am I ready?

I read a great article recently asking if you are still raising your hand to go to the bathroom. We are conditioned from such a young age to get permission for every tiny little thing in our lives. We are conditioned to ask…

Am I allowed?

Here’s the secret, you ARE allowed.

Most people who become doulas feel that it is their calling, that they were born to be a doula.

And usually, the biggest thing holding you back from being a doula… is YOU!

Whilst you obviously need to act with the deepest integrity and ethics, there’s no magic wand.

In my opinion, it’s actually not enough to do one course and think your learning is done. In my experience, the very best doulas are life-long learners. We regularly do professional development because we know that we know nothing, and there is always more to learn.

But that doesn’t stop us from starting work as a doula NOW.

And continuing to learn on the job.

You don’t need to collect certificates and qualifications BEFORE you start. Often we do this to make up for some deep-seated feelings of insecurity.

Right now the there are mothers who would benefit from working with you. Is your self-doubt stopping you from supporting mothers who are suffering? So what are you really waiting for?

In Australia, for a course to be ‘certified’ it has to be run through a Registered Training Organisation (RTO). Like the vast majority of doula trainers, I am not an RTO, I’m just Julia. I worked as a postpartum doula for ten years, researched and created a new paradigm in postpartum care, wrote my curriculum and got it approved by the Australian College of Midwives.

Do you think I had self-doubt? You bet I did! But I know that mothers need my message. I know that I’m acting within the scope of my role. I know that women are suffering and I have an obligation to share my gifts and teach what I have learned.

If you do my course you’ll get a certificate, I’ll show you how to get insurance for your work in Australia and you’ll get access to me and our brilliant community of postpartum professionals for ongoing guidance and support as you implement what you learn.

But no one can give you permission to be a doula, you have to claim that for yourself.

Becoming a doula is all about having the confidence to step into your life’s work.

You are enough.

You are ready.

You were born to do this!

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