Friday, January 17, 2014

Newborn and Baby Care Videos

A few days ago, one of my clients requested recommendations for DVDs that she could watch about newborn and baby care during the first year. I quickly realized that I did not have very many recommendations off the top of my head. I have plenty of books I could share, but DVDs? Not so much. I hurried to the internet to ask my fellow doulas what they recommended, and here is a short list of responses. I plan for this to be an ongoing list of resources, so if you are reading the post and notice one of your favorite DVDs is missing, please send an email to Thanks!

Newborn and Baby Care Videos:

HUG Your Baby by Jan Tedder-this program is required training for one of the leading doula training organizations in the US. I'm sure it's pretty good if doulas are required to take it.

The Happiest Baby on the Block by Dr. Harvey Karp- I have this video in my doula library for clients to check out.

Baby Language by Priscilla Dunstan- I know nothing about this, but this was recommended by several doulas as a way to learn how to disipher a baby's babbles and cries more than anything else.

Injoy's Postpartum & New Baby Care- I do not know anything about Injoy or their DVDs, but there is a decent sized list of DVDs here.

Amazing Talents of the Newborn by Dr. Marshall Klaus and Phyllis Klaus- I have never watched this video, but it can be bought from Penny Simkin's website. If she's willing to put it on her site, it must be good, right?

Laugh & Learn Classes by Sheri Bayles- These can be viewed online or DVDs can be purchased. There are three classes, childbirth, breastfeeding, and newborn care. They seem cute from the website, but I haven't watched these.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Are you a new doula? Well, you can't shadow me...

At least, not just yet.

At a Belly Mapping class where I met other doulas
Stay in this business long enough and, inevitably, you will be contacted by newer doulas, doulas-in-training, or even aspiring doulas asking if they can shadow you. I was a doula for less than a year before I started receiving emails from strangers to meet for lunch or coffee (a friend wouldn't suggest this) to pick my brain about what it was like to be a doula. At that point, I was still a doula-in-training. I wasn't even certified yet. This is not a post about whether or not a doula should be certified, but I didn't even want to refer to myself as "a doula" until I finished my certification. Once I was certified, I felt comfortable calling myself by what I consider to be the sacred name of "doula." Being a doula means something to me. Referring to myself as a doula means something to me. Other labels I apply to myself are, "Wife, Mother, Christian, Latter-day Saint, and Flutist.” All of those labels are important to me. I didn’t start calling myself a wife until I was married to my husband. I didn't start referring to myself as a flutist until after I graduated from college with a degree in music. Until then, I was a flute player, or I would say, "I play the flute." I didn't call myself a mother until after I had children. For the longest time after the birth of my first child, I would say, "I just feel like a girl. A girl that happens to have a kid." Call me quirky, but that’s just how I am.

If you want to know something really funny about how long it takes me to grow into a label, ask my husband how old I was before I started referring to myself as "a woman."

I digress. But I hope my point has been made. Being a doula is important to me. I worked hard to become a doula. I continue to work hard to be a good doula, always trying to improve my skill-set to better serve my clients. Calling myself a doula represents the work I have done, and it also represents the trust that families put in me to supply something to their birth experience. DOULA means something to people. DOULA means TRUST. For many families, their doula is the only non-family member in their birthing space that they trust. Sometimes their doula is the ONLY person in their birthing space that they trust. Many people hire doulas because they need one person at their birth they can trust that they know is going to be there just for them. That is one person who will have no other priorities, responsibilities, or agendas.
At an Improving Birth Rally where I met other doulas

When I receive an email from someone asking if they can shadow me, I will email them back to suggest that we meet first. Sometimes I tell people that I don’t feel like I’ve been a doula long enough to feel ready to be someone’s mentor. Most of the time I don’t feel comfortable asking my clients to allow someone else in their sacred space. In order for me to be comfortable doing that, it has to be for someone that I know. It has to be for someone that has made an effort to build a relationship with me. I need to have seen this person in real life several times. I need to have had conversations with this person. I need to have seen this person at birth-related events in the community so that I know that they are a REAL person and not someone sitting behind a screen trying to lure me out into an unsafe situation. I need to know that this person is reliable and serious about becoming a doula and not just trying to shadow me at a birth to “try it on for size” or “see if it’s something that they really want to do.”
At a Rebozo Workshop where I met other doulas

If you aren’t sure whether or not you want to be a doula, if you don’t feel called to support women during their birthing times, you should try reading birth related books or attending a doula training in order to see if being a doula is something you want to pursue. Maybe a friend will allow you to attend her birth. But please don’t refer to yourself as a doula if you are not yet a doula. There have been enough untrained “doulas” out there that have made care providers needlessly wary of doulas because they think ALL doulas are “that way.”

One day I will be happy to mentor a new doula or two, but it won’t be until after I get to know you.