Posts for : June 2013


How To Become A More Confident, Busy And Totally Awesome Doula!

How To Become A More Confident, Busy And Totally Awesome Doula!

Just a disclaimer before I start: various things make for an awesome doula – please bear in mind that this article has been designed to help doulas on a professional and business level.

YES! You can be a totally awesome, confident doula with a thriving business! A doula that all your clients rave about… doesn’t that sound great?

No matter if you’re just starting out as a doula or if you’ve been a doula for a while, sometimes we hit professional or emotional plateaus (or even a client drought) where we start to doubt ourselves, are unsure of where things are going or if we’re as experienced as we need to be.

These tips are my top suggestions for doulas in this situation – so if you need a bit of a boost or guidance in getting fired up and super passionate again, help is just a few moments away!

Totally Awesome Doula Tip #1: Read, Read, Read!

Talking in front of others can be a really scary thing for many people. But, you will notice that it is so much easier to give a speech if you really know what you’re talking about. Remember back to your school days – how nerve racking was it researching a topic then having to talk about it?! The more you know your area of expertise, the easier it gets and the more confident you get. The less you need to refer back to your notes and the more you can hit the ground running without breaking out a sweat.

You can never know enough or learn enough, no matter what you choose do in life, so feed your brain with books, workshops and classes. Schedule some regular time – each day if you can – to read a new book on birth related topics.

Wealth and success isn’t a big screen television or a really fast car… wealth is in your library. Many very successful business people will tell you that one of their biggest secrets to success is to feed their brain every day. You may have heard of the story of Warren Buffett, one of the world’s wealthiest men (THE world’s wealthiest man some years). He wanted to become a business success, and decided he had to learn about finance. What did he do? He read every single book in the Omaha Public Library with the word ‘finance’ in the title – some twice… when he was 10 years old!!!

Warren Buffett is clearly a huge success with his chosen passion and you can be too. It’s never too early or too late – if you get reading, your confidence, knowledge and credibility will thank you for it!

“Think of something new you’ve actually learned in the past week; if you can’t think of anything, get comfortable where you’re at because you’re not going anywhere. To stop learning is to stop living.” — Robert Kiyosaki

Totally Awesome Doula Tip #2: Grow Yourself As A Person And Business Owner

You will only go as far as you develop yourself as a person and a business owner. Following on from the first tip above, its equally important to focus on learning about personal and business growth and development.

Read autobiographies of successful business people and entrepreneurs, like Richard Branson, Warren Buffett, Steve Jobs – you may not agree with the business decisions or choices of some of these people, or may not want to be as busy or famous, but it will get you an insight into the mind and thinking of highly successful people. You’ll learn how they got to where they are now. You’ll read about their attitudes and philosophies – the mindsets that are required to make it. You’ll find successful people have similar habits, which you can adopt too.

Not only are there many brilliant business books out there, but an endless number of seminars for personal and professional development, which I LOVE going to. You meet people who are movers and shakers just like you. Great people who are friendly, keen to network and learn. People with passion and guts. You know the saying about becoming like the people you spend most of your time with? The people around you can either motivate, encourage and uplift you, or they can keep you in the wrong place or chasing your tail. You must be willing to grow your comfort zone, and trust me, you’ll have an absolute ball learning and growing!

“You must constantly ask yourself these questions: Who am I around? What are they doing to me? What have they got me reading? What have they got me saying? Where do they have me going? What do they have me thinking? And most important, what do they have me becoming? Then ask yourself the big question: Is that okay?” — Jim Rohn

Here are some Facebook pages of some great leaders to follow:

Here are some great business books to read:

You Can Purchase These Books From…

There are many more resources, but these are a great start.

Totally Awesome Doula Tip #3: Network With Other Doulas

The doula world is such an awesome place to be. Doulas share your passion of birth and would happily talk birth all day (and night!). Not only is this great for you socially, but you can gain a wealth of experience from other doulas. Ask questions, hear their stories of births, share… there is so much to be learnt from other doulas. Start up a group and have a regular meet-up, or find out if there are any in your area – just do it! Try and get involved with other doulas, and make an effort to learn and share together. You’ll leave feeling awesome and loved up, overflowing with oxytocin and food for your birth junkie soul. Local doulas may even be able to team up with you to help out with childcare while you’re doula’ing or even forming a business together!

I can’t imagine any nicer people to spend your time with than other doulas – you’ll be sure to make many friendships along the way! You also get to know them well enough in case you happen to need a back-up or just some great advice one day.

Totally Awesome Doula Tip #4: Open Your Mind And Believe In Yourself

I know doulas can sometimes doubt their abilities, usually due to one or more of these three things:

  • They’re unable to get the number of births they want
  • A birth they attended went awol
  • They’ve had an unhappy client

These things happen. No matter what business you’re in, you will get unhappy clients, births will go in a direction that we didn’t expect, and you’ll have to deal with unpleasant situations sometimes. But never stop believing in yourself, because this is all part of the learning process – see it as an opportunity to grow. If we don’t have challenging experiences, then we don’t grow or learn. Its when we resist and take it personally, we can’t see what we need to see. Its important to stand back, look at the situation and say, ‘What could I have done differently here?’ or ‘What can I learn from this situation?’ or, ‘Is there something I need to learn more about?’ Feeling crappy about it all and giving up is just going to make you, well, feel like crap. And you wont get to where you truly want to go.

Remember, nothing prepares you for anything in life quite like hands-on experience does. If you always consider yourself a student, learning every single day, you’ll feel much better about yourself and have a great attitude that will move you forward.

A successful business owner in any given field knows to expect plateaus. Business will be going well, growing, growing… then a crisis will hit, business will slow down, or something will happen to cause you to question it all. But, instead of giving up, feeling hopeless, useless – the successful business owner keeps working through it until they get to the other side. If you give up when it’s tough, you don’t get the huge rewards of getting through a tough spot and come out fine the other end – usually quicker and easier than you initially envisioned and you’re back on track once again.

I’ve had experiences where something awful has happened in my business, usually I have been attacked for my beliefs and stances and had to deal with really nasty comments or feedback. These sorts of situations can really rock you to the core – sometimes and you wonder how you’ll get through the next day with it hanging over your head. I’ve had fantasies of just deleting BellyBelly off the server in my earlier days – in my grumpy head I would think, ‘Fine, you don’t like it, see what it’s like when it’s all gone!’ which was all so easy to think in my early 20’s as a new mother who was very sleep deprived and with PND! But, every single make or break moment is all in the past now, gone, forgotten and something valuable learnt from, and thank goodness I didn’t give up, as today BellyBelly is busier than it has ever been, with close to two million page views a month. I can work from home with my babies, the hours that fit in with my lifestyle and I get to do what I truly, deeply love. Don’t give up on your dreams just for one sticky moment. You can get through every single one of them! And doing that makes you a much more confident business owner.

Totally Awesome Doula Tip #5: Find Your Niche

What makes you different from all the other doulas out there? A woman looking through a directory full of doulas will read the same thing over and over…

  • “I believe in supporting women”
  • “I became a doula in xxx after the birth of my children xxx”
  • “I am passionate about birth”
  • “Feel empowered about your birth”

… but what makes you any different to any other doula? Why should they choose you, with a smorgasboard of choices? Whats in it for them? What experiences can you draw on to make you different?

Something you might think is small may be the difference between you being chosen over another doula. In a recent coaching call I did with a Sydney based doula, I helped her realise that her own experience as a twin mother having a natural birth is a fantastic draw card and speciality for her to focus on. While twin births aren’t as high in number, she has a distinct advantage over other doulas, being able to understand exactly what they are going through, carrying and birthing twins.

Totally Awesome Doula Tip #6: Focus On What You Do Best – Let A Skilled Team Do The Rest

Any highly successful business owner – even Richard Branson – will tell you, he comes up with the amazing ideas and then steps aside for people who know what they’re doing best.

Many doulas have shoestring budgets (hopefully not for long after adopting some of my tips in my doula articles!) which means its harder to pay for what they really need for their business, for example a professional web designer, marketing or advertising.

If you do things on the cheap, or have unskilled people doing important things for your business, your results will reflect this. I know it’s really hard if you don’t have any finances when you started up your business, so if you don’t have the funds to have someone help you, check out my other article, 5 Effective Ways To Get More Clients. Then try to make a budget out of each payment to reinvest back into your business, so you’re not always on a such a suffocating, restrictive shoestring budget. Out of every paying client, and/or your own funds, assign a certain amount into your business savings account so you can work towards it.

A business mentor is always a great thing too. This is something successful business people do well – they have mastermind/mentor groups and have business coaches. They learn off one another, and motivate each other based on sound, experienced advice.

If you’re interested in getting one on one business help, I do Skype consultations (no matter where you are in the world) to help with improving business success, increasing website traffic, ranking higher in google, achieving a better marketing response and more. Find out more information here.

Kelly Winder is a birth attendant (aka doula), the creator of BellyBelly and mum to three beautiful children. Follow Kelly on Google+ and become a fan of BellyBelly on Facebook. BellyBelly is also on Twitter. Please note that all of my suggestions and advice are of a generalised nature only and are not intended to replace advice from a qualified professional. – The Thinking Woman’s Website For Conception, Pregnancy, Birth and Baby. View the original article here.


Doula Trainer Beth Goldberg 0

Beth Goldberg

Beth Goldberg

Beth opened Believe In Birth in 2001, a year after the birth of her first child. At first, she became a Certified Childbirth Educator, through BirthWorks, and an accredited La Leche League Leader.   In 2002, Beth expanded her birth knowledge by assisting women as a doula, and was trained by ALACE and certified by Doulas of North America (DONA).  She then completed Art of Midwifery classes in Media, Pennsylvania and went on to apprentice for two and a half years with the well loved and well known Midwifery Traditions practice in Philadelphia. This was the key requirement of her training through the North American Registry of Midwives’ Portfolio Evaluation Program and she earned her Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) credential in 2008.

Today, although she is no longer “babycatching”, She is honored to be the Mid-Atlantic Doula Trainer and mentor for Birth Arts International (BAI) and holds trainings in Philadelphia several times a year.Philly Training

In addition to birth work, Beth is a Licensed Behavior Specialist Consultant, and has worked with children with Autism since 1995. She recently completed post graduate course work at Florida Institute of Technology and plans to sit for the  Board Certified Behavior Analyst credential in 2013.

She lives with her husband and three children in South Philadelphia.


Doula Trainer- Mavis Gewant

Mavis GewantMavis is a BAI doula trainer and she is a gift to BAI.

She is a Labor & Postpartum Doula and Certified Lactation Counselor also offering Childbirth Education, Breastfeeding Support and Birth Counseling in Ulster, Dutchess and Orange Counties and is a Doula Trainer for Birth Arts International. Mavis a Sacred Artist and her Birth Mandala is featured in Pam England’s book, The Labyrinth of Birth. Learn more about Mavis and what she can offer at Sacred Mother Arts and Gentle Care Doula Services.

You can find Mavis training BAI doulas all over the world. If you want her to schedule a workshop please contact her about what it takes to host a regional workshop.


Meet a BAI Pro 0

Student Spotlight- Sally Faulkner

How long have you been working in the birth field?
My journey towards supporting and educating women in birth began  with my own birth in 2000.  This hospital waterbirth, was, in a single  word, EMPOWERING.  It changed me.  Since then, I have had 2 more  births, both homebirths (one being a waterbirth, the other was was 1  hour start to finish!), each teaching me something else about myself.   It was my last pregnancy and birth in September 2006 that pushed me to  join Birth Arts in training as a birth doula.
Do you feel BAI offered you something that was unique? What was it?
Oh, how I ever did my research!  My third pregnancy was a  pivotal moment in my life, and I knew that working with women was what  I was called to do.  I spent most of my pregnancy (and nursing time  afterwards!) researching every possible doula program.  It was Birth  Arts International, with it bold mission statement, its feasible  distance plan (I had just had a baby, you see), it holistic model of  health, that resonated deeply with me.
What was your favorite part of the training?
 I am really starting to get into the “meat” of the program, and  have enjoyed processing every assignment.  Each assignment has really  pushed me where I needed pushing: to look deep into myself to answer  those questions that matter.  I also love that my daughters see me deep  in the learning process, the journey of my own self-discovery,  following this path.  Oh, what grand (and eye-popping) conversations we  have had!
Do you feel that the work Birth Arts requires will or does allow you to               work as an effective doula?
Thus far, I have found that my studies have allowed me a great  deal of reflection and consideration on my own beliefs and  perceptions.  I must face these feelings now, and consider how they  will affect my relationships with potential and working clients. I am  confident in the training and support that I am receiving!
How are you working as a doula now?

I am currently serving as a “doula to my family” while working  through the assignments in my Birth Arts International manual.  I spent  so much time struggling with finding that balance so many speak of,  that balance between family and work.  It was exactly what I needed to  hear (from a Birth Arts trainer!) that by serving my family in the best  way was being a “doula to my family.”  That one statement has made such  a difference in me.  As my youngest grows more independent, and as we  settle into our  new home and learning situation, I am able to move  more quickly through my work and hope to work with women my the end of  the spring!  While I am not currently attending births, I have found  myself supporting women in other ways, helping to build a network of  birth awareness and self-confidence in my community, being that ear,  offering what I can.


Tell us about yourself.
For being a homeschooling mother of three, I don’t stay home  much!  As a family, we are deeply rooted learning sustainable living,  in following our call to be good stewards of this earth.  As such, you  are likely to find books around the house on raising a variety of  critters, organic gardening, herbal remedies, and traditional foods (and plenty of Internet links bookmarked!). When we  are not at church, Girl Scouts, Mommy’s meetings or playdates (for all  of us!), you will find us reading, knitting, figuring out some new  craft or art (we have discovered modeling beeswax and dollmaking!),  collecting treasures for gnomes and fairies, or cooking!
Do you have a website?

Safe Motherhood Quilt Project 0

I spent about 4 years working on this project, doing the website, fundraising, etc.. with Ina May Gaskin. I have even made panels for the quilt. This project is so important to me.

Please take the time to learn about this project.

Spread the word.

Participate if you can.

Make a donation if you can.

Visit the site and check it out.





Doula Trainer- Helena Wu 0

Helena Wu

Helena Wu

Helena Wu is a fabulous BAI trainer. She is a gentle and thoughtful teacher. We are so blessed to have her on our team.

Helena of Moon Mountain Midwifery and Herbal Medicine  is a Licensed Midwife who has   been attending homebirths in the southern Vermont area since 1990. She trained   by apprenticing with different midwives and is a Certified Professional Midwife.   She has been a La Leche League Leader, Childbirth Educator (trained through   ALACE and Cooperative Childbirth Association), Doula and Postpartum Doula. Helena has been a BAI trainer since 2003.

She loves teaching about natural birth. “I am committed to keeping alive the   old ways of being with women, developing our tools (herbs and other natural   therapies, simple ritual, love) and passing along the wisdom.” She is the   owner of Good Medicine Tree, an herbal apothecary, where she   offers products, herbal education courses (Happy Heart Sacred Plant Medicine and others) and health consultations. Fostering humankind’s awareness of their   connection with Nature and Spirit is her passion. She is a member of the Vermont Midwives Alliance, the Midwives Alliance of North America, National   Association of Certified Professional Midwives, United Plant Savers and is on   the Council of the Northeast Herbal Association.


Despite medical cautions, mom ‘trusts her own body’ – I was at this birth:) 0

Just a little flash from the past.

Despite medical cautions, mom ‘trusts her own body’

JESSICA YORK, Staff Writer
Friday, February 24 SHAFTSBURY — Hers were the first hands to touch Jennabel Emma’s newborn head as she emerged into the world three months ago.
As the national trend spirals downward for natural births after a previous Cesarean section, Barbara Snyder not only had a natural birth after three previous Cesareans, but is encouraging others to trust their own bodies.
“I just had this feeling that I could do it and that I could be healthy,” said Snyder, who is a licensed nursing assistant. “If I hadn’t been as healthy, I don’t think I would have been a good candidate for it. In my opinion, it was a good option for me. But it’s not for everyone.”
Cesarean repeat rates increased from 69.8 to 88.7 per 100 births to low-risk women from 1996 to 2003, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Increases in repeat Cesarean numbers corresponded with a decrease in vaginal births after a Cesarean (VBAC), from 30.2 percent in 1996 to 11.3 percent in 2003 for low-risk women, the CDC reported in 2005.
Dr. Mark Novotny, chief medical officer for Southwestern Vermont Medical Center, said he is seeing VBACs increase locally. Novotny said there is a balance between women who have natural births and women who have surgically assisted births.
But just because the numbers are going up for VBACs, Novotny and the hospital aren’t convinced that they’re the way to go. People in the medical profession are now aware that the risks associated with VBACs are higher than had been previously believed, Novotny said. Emergency surgeries that are needed in the case of a failed VBAC are always higher risk, said Novotny.
“Once things go wrong in obstetrics, they tend to go wrong rapidly,” said Novotny. “You’ve got to be able to act quickly to get the baby out quickly.”
SVMC is among thousands of hospitals nationwide no longer offering obstetric patients the option of a VBAC, according to Dianne Cutillo, SVMC marketing and public relations manager. The decision to do so was made after much consideration last fall, she said.
“It was not an easy decision, because caregivers in the childbirth center at SVMC value offering women the ability to have the kinds of birth experiences they choose,” Cutillo said.
Support group
Snyder, 27, runs a twice-monthly support group called “Trust Birth” for women who want to learn more about the birthing process – the natural, intervention-free birth process, according to Snyder’s Web site.
“It’s to find out more about trusting their bodies and learning that they can birth babies,” Snyder said.
After having her third child by Cesarean and a lot of research, Snyder said she decided that she would have a fourth child vaginally and at home, without assistance.
In November, after a false alarm two weeks earlier, Snyder was adequately prepared for the big push. After 14 hours of labor, some time on a birthing ball and a final rest in a birthing pool with friends and her husband gathered around, Snyder gave birth to her fourth child. Her husband was able to leave a little bit of umbilical cord for their oldest child to cut later on, Snyder said.
“She came out in the water – they swim right up,” Snyder said of the birth. “When the placenta’s still attached, they’re getting oxygen from the umbilical cord. But you get them up quickly, because the placenta detaches pretty soon.”
Serious complications
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has suggested that serious complications may occur more quickly during VBAC than during other labor, according to Cutillo. Because of this, the group’s guidelines suggest that the delivering physician and an anesthesiologist, as well as a standby surgical team, be on the hospital premises during labor when a woman is attempting a VBAC.
“Given those guidelines and the resulting impact on resources, fewer and fewer community hospitals perform VBACs,” Cutillo wrote in an e-mail. “As a rural community hospital, SVMC is among them.”
Novotny said patients have the right to choose what they want for health care, but it is important that they understand the consequences.
Snyder said if at any time during her pregnancy or birth she had noticed any problems, she would immediately have gone to the hospital. For Snyder, a natural home birth was the way to go. She said she was happy to be able to avoid the bright lights, fear and commotion of a hospital setting of her previous births, which did not take place at SVMC.
“They got me scared, thinking something was going to happen,” said Snyder. “It was different in that I was more relaxed. I think I was very well prepared. … Ask me three years ago, and I would have said, ‘No way, I’m not birthing at home.’ But I learned so much during my pregnancy. I did so much research, and I just met wonderful people.”


Aromatherapy for Pregnancy and Labor 0

by Demetria Clark

Pregnancy has always been a time when I have been so thankful for my knowledge of essential oils and aromatherapy. I am not one of these women that carry pregnancy beautifully, I gain tons of weight, swell, have heartburn, gas and sleep all the time. Even though I am not the perfect pregnancy specimen I feel like it. I first saw the results of aromatherapy and pregnancy when I lived with midwives as a teen. I then took and expanded upon this knowledge when I myself became pregnant. Another wonderful thing I discovered about aromatherapy when pregnant and after the babies are born is that it gives you a reason to take the time to heal yourself and pamper yourself. What better that pampering “medicine”.

I originally formulated these blends for myself over five years ago they have since become ones used by pregnant woman, midwives and doulas all over the country.

Nausea Spray- In four ounces of distilled water in a spray bottle add 20 drops Spearmint 15 drops Lemon Essential oil 5 drops Sweet Orange Essential oil

Shake well and mist air when feeling nauseas. You can also try using Ginger, Neroli and Rosewood to find a mixture that works for you.

Leg Cramp Oil

This is great for leg cramps, varicose veins, varicosities and sore backs. 2 ounces St. John’s Wort Oil 5 Drops Neroli 5 Drops Grapefruit Essential oil This leg oil is fabulous. This is so soothing and relaxing on tired muscles.

Belly Balm~ Stretch Mark Prevention Oil

This oil feels so wonderful going on. It is smooth, moisturizing and it can really help with itching that often becomes present when our skin starts stretching. In a double boiler melt 1 cup coconut oil ¼ cup Cocoa Butter 1/8 cup Apricot, Almond or Grapeseed Oil 1/8-cup Kukui nut oil, Shea Butter or Mango Butter ( I love using Mango Butter) When the oils are all melted, allow it to cool and add the essential oils and pour into another container for the mixture to be stored in. 10-20 drops Sandalwood (try to find an ethical source) 15 drops Patchouli 15 Drops Sweet Orange You can try varying amounts of oils and types of essential oils but I love this combination. You can also use Rosewood, Rose, Lavender, Tangerine and Neroli.

Massage all over thighs, breasts, stomach and everywhere else that needs nourishing and moisturizing. I have also used this on my face, living in the Green Mountains we get frigid winds and my fair skin often needs a protector.

Labor Mists

Relax and Focus This is a relaxing blend to promote clarity and focus. In a four-ounce spray bottle almost fill it with distilled water. Add 20 drops Grapefruit essential oi l 15 drops Sweet Orange Essential oil 10 drops Spearmint Essential oil

Shake well and mist labor room, or you can make a compress using a wet cloth and misting the cloth, apply to forehead or the laboring Mom’s back. This mist is great for Dad too.

Transition can be a trying and tiring time for the mother. We want to support her and use a mist blend that will ground, calm and help uplift her spirits. Add water to mister container as above and add

15 drops Mandarin 10 drops Bergamot 10 drops Lavender 10 drops Clary Sage

This is a strong blend and it should be used away from the mother. Never spray the mother directly. The point of using mists during labor is to be as non invasive as possible. Every person is different and their needs are individual and different also. Make sure that you understand the person you are making the blend for. The wrong blend can assault the senses and we must all realize in our need to help we make may something not so beautiful for the mother.

Disclaimer- Use essential oils with education and care. Research each oil before use, especially with pregnancy, labor, and children’s health.

Demetria Clark is a practicing herbalist, and aromatherapist living with her husband and two sons, teaching and working in the luscious Green Mountains of Vermont. She is the Founder of Heart of Herbs, herbal education programs

copyright 1999 Demetria Clark

For permission to reprint please email the author at