Posts by Category : student


Student Comments and Reviews Birth Arts International Doula Program

As we are coming to the end of the year I thought I would share some comments and reviews from our students. We are only sharing a few of the doula students comments, just to share with you our relationship with our students.

I love everything about this program! I especially love that it is all online, and I can work on the assignments when I can. It has made it possible for me to earn my bachelor’s degree, work, and still work towards my doula certification. I also love the additional herbal and holistic teachings that is included and how they relate to pregnancy and childbirth. I really like that more than the usual number of books and evaluated births is required. This ensures that I get a well rounded and full knowledge and understanding of many different types of birth and life situations.

A. Long 2013

Lisa Lute

June 12, 2013

I have thoroughly enjoyed this BAI course thus far. I am almost done with my certification and am so glad I decided to go through BAI. I am part of a local doula group here in Boise and I am the only none DONA trained Doula. At first I was a little self-couscous of this, but now am very proud! I have learned a lot about DONA and their certification requirements in the last year and I have to say that BAI beats them in every way hands down! I feel like I have received a well-rounded and thorough doula training. BAI does not just teach about the body and the birth process, but they go so many steps further. BAI dives into the spiritual and emotional aspects as well as getting into nutrition, herbalism and aromatherapy…..etc. A lot more course work is expected of us initially, but I believe we are better for it. I have learned so much through this entire process.  And I can’t wait to finish and have my certification in hand! I do not have any real suggestions that I can think of, just keep on doing what your doing and the great word of mouth will spread. I tell all my friends and acquaintances that are thinking about going into birth work to check out BAI. I can’t wait to check out some of your other courses!


I very much enjoyed and appreciated the BAI Doula Program. I have learned so much and I feel like I can take so much information away from this experience. I think that reading all of the books was great for me to understand what I as a doula can provide for a laboring mother and her family. Being able to watch birth and be a part of it has been one of the most miraculous experiences for me in my life. I truly feel blessed that I was able to be a part of this program.

Karen Hamel

I have enjoyed this past year tremendously.  I have learned so much.  I love my Birth Arts International Certified Doula Education Program Book and I will keep it for reference.  I will do all of the assignments listed in the book as I believe they will definitely benefit me.  The books suggested for reading have been so educational and I have learned so much from them.  All of the births I have been able to attend have been awesome.  I have had the privilege to attend at least 15 births over this past year and each time has been an amazing experience.  I will consider taking other courses with Birth Arts International in the future.  Thank you so much.

Patricia Hoxie

Leslie Westenhaver
Student Suggestions
I find myself at the end of this journey to become a Certified Doula and I am truly amazing at all I have completed in the past two years. Going into this course, I honestly thought I would be able to finish most of the work within 6 months with one year being the longest it would take me to get the clients and such to complete all the requirements. Little did I know that as soon as I signed up for the course, I would find myself pregnant with baby number five and go through the first year hardly able to complete much of anything. Still, despite many of the setbacks and frustrations in figuring out childcare with 5 young children, I wanted to push myself to complete this course within the time limit given. Now here I am, about to submit all my paperwork for the course and I see what a long way I have come from the person who joined up almost two years ago. I feel this course is absolutely and completely thorough and come back to the page often to read through different things, from the links to rebozo use to the traditions of healing, and I am so proud to have worked through the Birth Arts International certification for doula over some of the others I had looked at before. I love that there is a Facebook group where I can go to voice any issues I might be having with my certification work or to network with other fellow Birth Arts doulas. I am proud to be a part of this group of wonderfully wise women and look forward to serving expecting women and their families for many years to come!


BAI Doula Trina Baggett

Where are you located?

I am located in the Birmingham, Alabama area.

Why did you choose Birth Arts International?

I picked BAI over all other organizations because I felt that it is the only organization that offers a multicultural approach. To BAI, the doulas are trained to serve mothers and keep birth family centered. Birth belongs to the family and families deserve to have a doula who understands the sacredness of birth.

BAI meshes well with my personal philosophy that  birth belongs not to the doulas, not to the midwives, and not to the OBs. It belongs to the families and as a doula I am thankful to be asked to share their journey with them.

I feel BAI helped me to find my own path into birth work. It took me on a path of self reflection and discovery. BAI helped to make me a better person and doula.

I would encourage mothers to seek BAI doulas because we are trained holistically. We respect the mothers right to choose what is best for herself and her baby. We trust the mothers wisdom and support her choices.

Learn more about Trina at-



Growing a Birth Community

Growing a Birth Community

BAI Training with Mavis Gewant

BAI Training with Mavis Gewant

“Where there is no vision, the people perish” – Proverbs 29:18

When I first became a doula in 2009 I tried to start a doula network, facilitating meetings and workshops. I desired a community of colleagues, sharing their experiences and encouraging one another in their journey to empower women during the childbearing year. Unfortunately after 12 months roughly hosting regular meetings and plus two workshops, it had not thrived like I had hoped. I live in Delaware, up until several years ago it was near impossible to find a doula.

Most people had no idea what a doula was or did, if they had heard the term. The handful doulas I knew of lived an hour north of me bordering Pennsylvania. I had to surrender to the fact that the community I live in just wasn’t ready for a doula network. I put it on the back burner until the community was ready. However, I never surrendered my deep longing for a birth community.


Over the years as a birth professional I actively sought out doulas in my area; aspiring, new and seasoned alike. I worked to keep communication going, by adding those with an expressed interest to my email list or newsletter; to inform them about activities and events they may be interested in. Rarely I heard beyond the initial email inquiring about how to become a doula. It was disheartening for me.

This experience led me to change my approach a bit. Several times a year I attend events like baby fairs, holistic health expos and lactation educational seminars as a vendor so I can reach two types of audiences: consumers and health care professionals. It’s a really great opportunity to network with supporters in the community and potential advocates who can help promote your cause on a professional level within state health departments, health care practices, hospitals and various other organizations.


You could also seek out networking opportunities with like-minded women through babywearing groups and breastfeeding groups like Le Leche League. While these groups are not directly birth related, they are still a wonderful resource. 8 years ago we had no Le Leche League, but today we have two! When Delmarva Babywearers, first formed about 8 years ago about 5 women attended monthly. Their babywearing group has exploded into 6 meetings a month (some social and some instructional) with 15-20 women attending! I encourage all new local moms and my clients to attend their meetings. I have found it to be one the best sources of passionate advocates to tap into. While they may not be actively involved in every birth-relative initiative, they can help spread the word to new members joining their group.


Another fantastic option to creat a birth community is through an established organization like Birth Network National, who have chapters nation wide. The Birth Network is comprised of parents, professionals and advocates. Your state or community may be in need of you to start a chapter. An organization like Birth Network National has already done all the work to establish and can give you ideas on how to create a birth community. In Fall 2012 I started the Delaware

Birth Network with great anticipation. In June the Delaware Birth Network hosted a successful “Doula Night”. Several women came out to support doulas, learn about becoming a doula and learn about what doulas do. I wish I could tell you our monthly meetings have a lot of people attending or even regular attendees. However, Delaware has tremendous obstacles to overcome to grow a thriving birth community. I firmly believe in time with a lot of hard work and creativity we will reach more people.


At the end of May I had the great privilege of hosting a doula workshop for Birth Arts International, which 12 wonderful women attended. One of the most touching parts of the workshop was that one of the women who attended was a former doula client of mine! That is powerful and beautiful! I had planned this for nearly 9 months and been dreaming of ways to grow the birth community in Delaware for 5 years. For quite some time I have been the only active doula in central Delaware. While some may say by hosting a doula workshop I’m “training my competition”, I disagree, I believe there is power in creating colleagues so your impact may be greater. Helen Keller said it best, “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.”


In order to continue seeing growth in the community we must also facilitate opportunities for continuing education for birth professionals. Fall 2013 Delaware will be having its first placenta encapsulation workshop. In 2014 I hope to host a workshop with Lara Catone, to teach a workshop to birth professionals, about diastasis, pelvic floor health, scar tissue and it’s effect on labor. The neat thing about the workshop with Lara is that while I feel is vital information to all birth professionals, it will also be open to consumers. It’s a great opportunity to blend parents and professionals together!


If you are waiting for a birth community to start thriving in your area, stop waiting and start getting busy! The “community” may be waiting for YOU to cultivate it! Reach out, network, prepare to be rejected and ignored but don’t give up. It may take years but it will be worth it. If you are so fortunate to live in an area where there is an existing and thriving birth community, count your blessings and please go hug those pioneers that paved the way. They will appreciate it more than you know.

Cindy Collins is a native of the San Francisco Bay area but now resides in Delaware with her husband and 3 boys.

Before she became a doula she was a professionally trained baker, holding a degree in baking & pastry. In addition to being a doula she volunteers as the chapter leader for the Delaware Birth Network. She is also an herbalist studying dually with Heart of Herbs with Demetria Clark and Herbal Medicine for Women with Aviva Romm.

Cindy is also a professional photographer who specializes in maternity, birth and nursing portraiture. For more information she can be reached at and




BAI Student Profile- Echo Morris

Echo Morris

1. Why did you choose BAI?
I chose Birth Arts because I felt that it pertained not only to the physiology of birth but the whole woman. The program encourages personal growth as a doula and a person. I love that we have a a great network and support for doulas and doulas in training.

2. What did you learn about yourself while taking the program? I learned that I am capable. I am enough. I am strong and I can help other women.

3. Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Echo Morris and I am 27 years old. I’m married to a wonderful guy named Jeremy. I’m the proud mama of three strapping young men: Riley age 8, Harry age 6, and Max age 1, with another on the way. I love to sing, laugh with my dear friends, and do anything creative. I am from Indiana, but moved to Maryland 7 years ago.

4. Tell us about your business, or plans for the future.
After I return from maternity leave in January of 2014, I plan on concentrating on attending more community events, spreading the word about doulas! I also would like to work on volunteering for teen moms and military moms. I would also like to focus on attending retreats and classes to expand my knowledge and network.


BAI Student Profile- Angie-Pie Valentin

Angie-Pie Valentin

I chose BAI because the programs seemed to be far more extensive and in greater depth than programs with other certifying organizations. I also really liked that there were scholarship opportunities and that once certified, I would not have to continue to renew my certification or pay more. It wasn’t until I started the program that I found that there were many, many more benefits – like a community of other birth workers at all different levels of their journeys and that the Director would be so warm and genuinely caring of each of the students and their progress.

I have learned so much about myself since enrolling in the Birth Doula Certification Program. The program curriculum pushed me to dig deep within myself to access strengths I never knew I had. I have learned to better cope with everyday life challenges and obstacles, I have learned how to better care for myself by nourishing my soul and body

but most of all I have learned to listen to others in a way I never have before which in turn enables me to care for and support them efficiently. The BAI Birth Doula Certification Program has not only taught me new skills and tools but has taught me how to apply them in everyday life and everyday situations, including those within my family and personal relationships as well as advocacy for my own well-being, not just as they would pertain to birth work. This program is truly invaluable as the impact on my life has been so great. I highly recommend every doula take this program. Hands down.

I am a single “mumma” to two children, a former surrogate, and founder/ director of Doulaville Birth Services. I absolutely love my work as a birth and postpartum doula, childbirth & family educator and placenta processor. I one day hope to become a homebirth midwife but not until my children are a bit older.

While I am passionate about birth work in general, I am

  • especially passionate about community awareness and connecting free/low cost birth service providers with families who have no/low income through Doulaville CARES! a unique program designed to do just that – link families with birth workers so that every woman can in fact have a doula should she want one. You can learn more about Doulaville at where you can meet the Doulaville Doulas in the Seattle-Tacoma Puget Sound, in the San Francisco Bay Area as well as the Doulaville CARES! Directory of free/low cost birth service providers across the entire U.S. and growing in Canada too! I hope to grow the Doulaville CARES! Directory into a comprehensive resource for expecting families and birth workers alike.

    Angelina “Angie” Valentin
    Founder, Director, Doula
    Doulaville Birth Services in Seattle and San Francisco

    Doulaville Doulas in San Francisco Bay Area & Seattle Tacoma Puget Sound

    Support through the childbearing year by preparing, supporting and nourishing women and their families. Doulas in Seattle Puget Sound & SF Bay Area.

Meet a BAI Pro

Caroline Dotson

DotsonWhy did you choose BAI?

I chose BAI partly because of the distance learning program but also because I felt like after reading and researching about Demetria Clark that we were like minded in our ideas about birth, supporting women in their decisions and in the holistic approach to child birth (and life). I love that she was an herbalist and that she was so willing to mentor her students, even from afar. She was great about communication and always responded to my emails even when my enrollment was delayed. BAI is different than other doula certification in the way it looks at the whole woman and not just pregnant aspect of the woman.
What did you learn about yourself while taking the program?

I have learned that I have to set aside my personal view of birth when it comes to supporting women and their families in choosing the birth that they want. It is not my birth. I will not steal the “stage.” I have a strong personality but I realize that being that strong voice in a women’s ear is much more valuable than being that strong aggressive presence. Recently during a birth the couple didn’t know the sex of their baby and when the baby came out I said “IT’S A…” and quickly silenced my self, letting the mother announce the sex as she sat up to see. If that would have happened six months ago I would have proudly shouted out the sex with no regard to the sanctity of the parents being able to enjoy the moment for themselves. I am very grateful for all that I am learning at Birth Arts International.
Tell us a little about yourself.

Dotson Family

I am the mother of four boys, 11, 6,  almost 3 and 14months. I had 2 epidural births and two natural birth center births. I am passionate about women knowing what there choices are in birth and developing a community of female support, through a doula and/or midwife, will help women make better choices. I am also in school to become a midwife. I live in rural Colorado and there is only one midwife who covers a large area and no doula’s for 40 miles. I previously owned a bookstore but as my family grew I knew I was being called to a different career. I love Jesus, I have holistic view points and I believe in doTERRA essential oils. I love hanging out with my boys and my husband of 14 years, going camping, to sporting events and doing ministry. You can find me cooking, playing with yarn, sewing, reading, being silly and learning about midwifery at any given time.
What are your plans for the future?

My plans for the future as a doula are to offer a my services, birth doula, breastfeeding counselor, mother’s blessing ceremony, and postpartum doula, to the women of my community along with the surrounding areas for the next year. During that time I plan on implementing a program to offer my support FREE to single women and teens who desire it. I would love to teach  a few other women how to become doula and be a doula mentor, along with developing a more informative child birthing class and informing the community of the choices in childbirth. As I finish up my academics for midwifery, I plan on starting my clinicals and spending time learning about midwifery in the Philippines, this would put my doula work on hold but will add to my experience. I have two long term goals: one is to stay in my community and develop a better birthing community of people, possibly opening a birthing center on the Western slope of Colorado or becoming a missionary midwife (with my family) teaching the women in underdeveloped countries the skills of midwifery and how they can implament them with little to no medical supplies that would make the reliant on other organizations.

Learn more at


Meet a BAI Pro 0

Chelsie Towns


Why did you choose BAI?

I had been planning on enrolling in a formal program for doula certification for two years before I enrolled with BAI. I studied independently for some time and actually referred to BAI’s book list for resources. When I finally sat down to choose a program, I had several pulled up on my computer screen and I just kept cycling through them, reading through each one’s websites. I asked friends and in online communities for their opinions. I chose BAI, ultimately, because the people who recommended it jived more closely with my personal philosophies and BAI seemed to as well.

What did you learn about yourself while taking the program?

I learned I did not just have an interest in birth, but a passion. I went from having a self-centered focus in my studies (what originally prompted me to study birth arts was my own traumatic birth, it was an attempt to understand what happened and what I could do the next time around to improve my experience) to wanting to share what I had learned with other women and help them make informed choices in birth. I became more extroverted as I gained confidence in my knowledge. In the last year, I’ve learned that my path is one steeped in birth arts. And for the first time in my life, at 30 years old, I finally feel like I know what I want to be when I grow up! (Aside from a mother, of course.)

Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m a mother of three children, two boys and a girl, all born within three years of one another. Most of my life is centered around being an attached, peaceful parent. We’ve just bought our first home and we’re looking forward to “urban homesteading” with a huge garden and adding chickens next spring.

Aside from all things birth and babies, I’m an avid knitter, enjoy nature and love cooking and baking. I’ve long been very interested in holistic healing and have been very informally studying herbal medicine for a number of years. After struggling to breastfeed (and ultimately finding out that I have Insufficient Glandular Tissue and being unable to produce enough milk for my babies), I’ve come to learn a lot about galactagogue herbs, as well as herbal remedies for PCOS/hormonal imbalances and those used to support a healthy pregnancy and labor. So when I saw the program for Women’s Herbalism, I enrolled immediately and I’m looking forward to immersing myself in the program.

I’m active in my community as a babywearing leader through Babywearing International, by helping organize our local Improving Birth Rally and by organizing the first baby expo in our area in a number of years this year.


Tell us about your business, or plans for the future.

I’m currently working as a birth doula and placenta encapsulator under the business name Thanks Givings Doula Services (named for my daughter who was born at home on Thanksgiving Day in 2011). I absolutely love my job! I had planned on offering postpartum support but have had to push those plans off for a while after having my third baby in December. He is much loved but totally unplanned, so my business plans had to adjust.

My motto is, “Supporting your informed birth.” I truly believe women have the right to birth however they want, but they should have ALL the facts, something that is seriously lacking in today’s birthing culture. I stress to my clients that birth is not a means to an end of pregnancy, but the moment they become a mother. It’s significant and I believe the birth process deserves respect and serious consideration.

I’ve been talking with an organization that connects teen moms with volunteer doulas to help bring the program to my area (it’s currently up and running in the Green Bay area but that’s a good 40-50 minute drive for me, which is a bit much for a free client). Considering my city had one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in Wisconsin when I was in high school, I feel it’s a very worthwhile and important program.

I’m looking forward to continuing on my path in birth arts and plan to enroll in Ancient Arts in the next few months. I hadn’t started out planning on becoming a midwife, but I’ve found I truly feel pulled in that direction, though I don’t see myself ever totally giving up being a doula because I feel for those women who absolutely must birth in a hospital, a doula is essential and enjoy that aspect of my work.

My website:

My FB:


Meet a BAI Pro

Tammi Padilla


Why did you choose BAI?

I began to research Doula certification, in March, when I felt drawn to this line of work.  I have a friend in Portland, OR, who is a Doula, and she recommended DONA and CAPPA for my certifications.  But, when I found BAI, I felt like I had come home.  I love the holistic focus, and that we really have to dig deep for some of these assignments. Sure, it’s a lot more work, but I am learning so much more than I would have otherwise.  Not just about being a Doula, but about myself.  Also very helpful to me was the scholarship program.  I don’t know how long I would have had to wait to begin, without that assistance.
What did you learn about yourself while taking the program?

During the course of my studies, I have learned that there are times to stop thinking with my brain, let go, and just listen with my heart. I have learned to trust my gut instinct, and that it isn’t too difficult to feel what is needed in many situations. I have learned that I am stronger than I believed, and that many decisions in my life have led me to the path I’m on.
Tell us a little about yourself.

I am a mother of four, beautiful, perfect, children, aged 16 – 25.  My eldest, is expecting identical twin girls, who will be my first grandchildren.  Currently, I am working as an in-home caregiver for seniors, and in this capacity, I have really learned what it is to serve another human being.
Tell us about your business, or plans for the future.

I am concurrently working on my Birth Doula and Postpartum Doula certifications (although I am much farther along on the Birth Doula assignments).  Once these are completed, I intend to obtain my Childbirth Education and Breastfeeding Support certs, and also learn about Aromatherapy.  Although I do not intend to exclusively serve teens, I would like to specialize in supporting teen mothers, with these services.
You can find Tammi online at-



Meet a BAI Pro 0

Brandi Rainey- Student Spotlight

How long have you been a doula?

Officially, I’ve been a student for about a month now (as of 02/2008)  But unofficially, I’ve been a doula since I  was about fifteen.  When the women in my  family gave birth, I’d spend their first night home from the hospital with them,  to take care of them and the newborn.  So  it appears I’ve been a postpartum doula for a while.  I attended my first birth when I was  twenty-one.  My good friend demanded that  I be present during her labor and delivery.   She said her husband would be no good in the LDR.  She was right…lol.  She sang my praises to her family and they  kept me busy for a while.  Had I known  that there was an official capacity for a doula, I’d have been one for years  now!! But obstetricians don’t like to let on about the effacacy of women  helping women birth.


Do you feel BAI offered you something that was unique?  What was it?

I researched many different avenues for becoming a  doula.  DONA was offering a workshop in  my town in February, but I didn’t get the feeling when looking into it that I  did when I happened across BAI.  And  there was a training workshop for ICTC (International Center for Traditional  Childbirth) in Atlanta that I was all for, but circumstances prevented from  being able to attend.  But BAI is wise  woman-centered, which I love!  And it  offers advance doula training in herbs and nutrition.  I’ve already purchased the herbs course, so  when I finish the birth doula training and herbs course, it’s onto nutrition!


What was your favorite part of the training?

The activities!   They really make you go within yourself.   I can’t say that any other training that I researched focused so much on  preparing the doula-to-be for the spiritual aspects of this work.


Do you feel that the work Birth Arts requires will or does  allow you to work as an effective doula?

Definitely.  I was  raised in an obstetrics environment.  My  grandmother was an obstetrics nurse and I devoured all of her literature.  When my brother was born, I asked my mother  if she delivered vaginally or by cesarean.   I was six.  She said the nurses  were flabbergasted when she told them.   But I always felt like something was missing in maternity care.  A lot of soul-searching led me to become a  doula.  The work that BAI requires  affirms with each assignment that this is my path.  And it assures me that I have everything I  need to be an effective doula.  Maybe even  a good one.  But I’m not stopping  there…I’m looking into becoming a CPM in the future.


How are you working as a doula now?

I’m still not working officially as a doula, though my  first certification birth mommy is due any day now.  I’m glad I was so enthusiastic about getting  my bag prepared.  Though I never thought  I’d have a birth so soon!


Tell us about yourself.

I’m a thirty-three year old single mother of two future  midwives. (Oops, my hopes are showing!)   By day, I work in employee benefits.   By night, I’m a diligent and enthusiastic BAI student.  I practice Goddess-centered spirituality and  believe She is truly smiling on me right now.


Do you have a website? Please feel free to share.

And I just set up a new personal email account dedicated  to all things related to childbirth and midwifery.



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.