Asheville Doula Training: How To Become A Doula

Want to work with me and learn my tricks? Happy to now be offering one-on-one doula consults and sisterships! let’s work together and build your doula practice. Please click here to learn more!

Prior to being a full-time birth professional, I worked in corporate leadership, marketing, and social media. These skills have served me well in building my own thriving doula practice and assisting my husband in his clinic here in Asheville. With my combined skills we can make a plan to take your doula practice to the next level. .

This two-hour-consult is efficient and to-the-point. I’ll take inventory of your unique skills and strengths and assess areas of growth. Together we will map out your personal business goals, go over the fundamentals of social media, website design, SEO, and marketing. We’ll also pinpoint your perfect client and how to attract them!

This consult is done over coffee and I’ll let you know what materials and information you need to bring along. This can also be done virtually over FaceTime or Skype. Leaving this consultation you will have a clear picture of where your practice is heading, your ideal client, attainable goals, actionable steps, general view of your own social media and website presence and how that can be improved upon. If you found me online, through one of the many classes I teach, or through a friend, and you admire my unique flare for my work- If you’re ready to jump in and make birth work your career— this consult is for you! The cost for this service is $150.

Where to start

It seems like I get a few inquiries a week about how to become a doula. I'm happy to answer that in depth here. I love sharing what I've learned and I hope in turn that my experience can help inspire, help, and encourage another doula on their journey. 

So you feel a calling to support birthing women... Where do you start? That's a great question with many different answers. There's no one required certification for doulas. Many of us decide to certify and then, some doulas never certify. I personally believe that certification raises the level of professionalism in doula work so I highly recommend doing so. However, certifying may not be the right fit for everyone. That being said, there are several different avenues to do so and all with different requirements.

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Possibly the most well known doula organization is DONA International. Along those lines, the next would likely be ProDoula. There's also BEST, Birth Arts International, The Matrona, Madriella, and others. I encourage you to visit each website, reach out to the admins, read everything very carefully and choose a certifier that is in line with your own personal values. Each program emphasizes something different, and their trainings and requirements will all be different too. Personally, I've trained with DONA International and am cross-certifying (certifying through multiple agencies) for more education and diversity in my certifications. 

Your certifying organization of choice will cover a lot of your bases for you. They'll go over your role as a doula, standards of care, scope of practice, pain management techniques, how to support the partner, reading lists, different birth types, how to market yourself, how to get clients, and basic postpartum and newborn care/lactation support. Most of these workshops are 2-3 days long.

So honestly, research, research, research, and see what group and certification is right for YOU. 

The education stuff in a nutshell? Find a certifying agency that resonates with you and attend their hands-on workshop and trainings. Trainings, I feel, are VITAL, whether you want to certify or not. Go learn ALL the things. Labor positions, codes of care, labor massage, pain management techniques, first latch and breastfeeding guidance, all of it is so important and helpful. You wouldn't believe some of the COMPLICATED (and awesome!) questions that my clients will text me. Knowing as much about birth and the role of a doula is essential. 

That leads to the next important step... 

READ READ READ. 

Seriously. Read everything birth. Every article you find, every post in the pregnancy groups, all the latest research, every book from your certifiers reading list, READ ALL THE BIRTH THINGS. Oh, AND the breastfeeding and newborn things! You need to be a walking encyclopedia of birth knowledge. Again, you won't believe the difficult texts, questions, etc that you'll come across. Being a doula means being an expert on pregnancy and birth. Though our job is not as technical as an Obstetrician, I believe it's paramount to know basically everything an OB would know. Why? Because how can you fully support a birthing mother if you have no idea what's going on? how can you explain placenta previa or an anterior baby in non-medical speak to a nervous father in a delivery room if you've never heard of it? Knowlege an education is a huge part of doula work. Evidence Based Birth .com is a great place to start. So yeah, go read until you're dreaming of water births. 

Plug into your community of birth workers.

Girl, doulas support the heck out of each other. Friending doulas will help you go far. Network together, discuss birth and find your backup doula. A backup doula, if you choose to have one, which I believe is very wise, attends your client's birth if you cannot. 

So, I'm actually on the shy side. I'm a lot better than I used to be. Having to work a very corporate leadership job for a few years sort of sucked the shy right out of me, but not fully. I'm still quite nervous meeting new people. But dang, it's a must as a doula. See if your town has a doula association and get plugged in. Not just doulas, go meet Lactation Consultants, go tour the maternity ward of your local hospital, meet pediatricians. You'll be referring moms to these folks!

Know what you're getting into.

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It's a fulfilling, magical, amazing career. But also, it's a lot of hard work. Can you handle staying awake and on your feet for 20 hours? 36 hours? If you have kids, Do you have childcare that can drop everything and cover that time frame? If you work, do you have an employer who's supportive of you calling out for a day, or two? 

Ready for 3 a.m. false labor alarms? Ready for postpartum blues and trips to deliver padsciles? Can you handle blood and a medical environment without being triggered? 

These are all valid things to consider. It seems like a lot, and it is, I won't lie. I've been in this birth worker world for years and years. If it's truly your passion, I know you can do it!

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Have more questions? Need help deciding which direction to take? Are you already a doula and need help to decide your next step or refining your business? I'm available for Mentorship Consultations! If you're local to the Asheville area I'm happy to set up a consultation in my office over tea. If you're not local, let's facetime, skype, or email. I'm happy to answer any questions in detail, help you hone your skills, next steps, or give business guidance. 

Feel free to email me at info@marandabussanich.com and let's chat.

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