Training with Doula Ireland
Doula Ireland began providing the first Doula Services to Irish women in 2005. We are the longest established birth doula training in Ireland. I began my Doula 'journey' a while before then when I gave birth to my eldest son Jack with the support of wonderful staff, a wonderful husband and a wonderful Doula over ten years ago. I have been very fortunate to train with Childbirth International, Dr. Michel Odent and with Penny Simkin (the ‘mother’ of doulas). I have also trained with Nurturing Birth as a Postpartum doula and am a Midwife. My experience as a doula was a huge advantage in my Midwifery training supporting parents on this amazing day in their lives.
Over the years I have also certified as a Lactation Educator become a regular contributor to Infant and Baby Magazine, Modern Mum and Oh Baby. I spent several years actively involved with volunteer groups and maternity care providers working towards improving maternity services in Ireland. I am also the Founder of GentleBirth the most successful antenatal education program and pregnancy app in Ireland and Author of The Irish Better Birth Book and the Irish Cesarean and VBAC Guide.
Each Doula training I've experienced offers something different but I've found DONA International really embraces the essence of what a Doula is and the doula 'spirit' of unconditional support. It was this reason that I chose become a trainer and continue to re-certify with DONA International.
With over six thousand members worldwide I'm proud to have an opportunity to teach the gold standard of Doula training representing DONA International in Ireland. Naturally the focus of the training is on working as a doula within Irish maternity services, I believe it's important that the Doula has a clear understanding of the unique maternity care offerings that their clients will be faced with here in Ireland as well as the opportunities to develop as a birth professional with a thorough understanding of the 'business' of being a doula. In my experience it is important to train with an organisation that understands the unique aspects of Irish maternity services and has experience providing those services.
The DONA philosophy is simple but profound – “how will she remember this”? If all you do as a Doula is keep this at the forefront of your own mind and 'Doula' from the heart instead of the head then you can’t go wrong.
What do I mean when I talk about ‘Doulaing from the heart’? It means meeting the mother where she is, accepting that her birth preferences may not be the same as yours and supporting this woman – eye to eye, breath to breath and heart to heart. When you Doula from the heart you don’t speak for the mother but you help her find her voice. Being a DONA trained Doula is about serving and supporting the mother in this magical time. When you serve a woman in labour you take on her values as your own. Even as an experienced Doula I found the DONA training inspirational. It brings us back to the core of ‘doulaing’ – supporting and serving the mother in a home or hospital environment.
During the workshop we explore the following
Encouragement, reassurance, continuous physical presence - what doulas do best!
Assistance to families in gathering information about the course of their labour and their options, explanations, non-medical advice. Where to find evidence based information.
Comfort measures, positioning, massage, breathing, relaxation and other non-pharmacological pain relief options including an introduction to rebozo. Supporting a mother with an epidural - ways to reduce side effects and promote normality when possible.
Helping the mother find her voice and help her feel heard
Role modeling, encouragement and reassurance
Building positive and lasting relationships with midwives and other hospital staff.
Getting Started as a Professional Doula - business basics
After the training you will come away with the confidence to support a mother in a hospital or home birth, be able to support a mother physically and emotionally with an epidural, you will be able to identify the causes of challenging labours and determine which comfort measures work best for different kinds of labours... and much much more.
Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you’d like to talk more about the upcoming training.
Doula Ireland offers Birth Doula training, based on the DONA International curriculum and ethics. DONA sets the bar for doula education and professional development. It indicates to families that a doula has achieved a high level of training and professionalism.
DONA International has the highest certification standards for doulas worldwide.
Achieving certification is a process that requires a commitment. Before beginning the certification process, we recommend that you learn about what it means to be a Doula Ireland doula by browsing the website, reading the position papers, Standards of Practice, Code of Ethics, and other DONA International literature you will find on the DONA website. Find Doula Ireland certified doulas in your area and talk with them about their experiences as a doula or join in a discussion on our Irish Doula discussion list to understand what being a certified doula is really like.
When you become a certified birth doula with Doula Ireland, you gain a respected credential. DONA certification means that you have met a high international standard, ensuring expectant parents and their medical team that you will adhere to the highest standards of conduct and ethics. It means you are trained to support a woman emotionally, as well as to help the mother determine the services and information that she needs during labour and childbirth.
Students who successfully complete all requirements will be certified with DONA International.
A note about medical training and the role of the Doula.
I'm often asked how it is possible for a Doula to support a Mother through labour and birth having only attended one weekend workshop and not having a medical background.
The weekend workshop provides Doulas with hands on experience in supporting a couple through childbirth and focuses on the importance of the Mother's emotional mindset during labour. This is only one step in the certification process which usually takes about a year to complete.
As we offer no medical advice only emotional, physical and informational support our role is complimentary to the care a couple is receiving from their chosen caregiver. Throughout history and still today in other cultures women with childbearing experience offer that critical emotional support to the birthing woman. Our scope of practice is very specific and we find that Doulas who have medical training sometimes find it more difficult to stay within the guidelines of not providing medical advice - even when trained to do so. We find that once the Doula focuses on providing emotional support that her role remains focused rather than diluted.