Years ago when I was looking into becoming a doula I quickly realized that I had a lot of options on organizations to certify with. I spent a long time researching each organization to find the one that was the right fit for me. It seemed that there were many excellent choices but after carefully looking at my options it was clear that Birth Arts International (BAI) was the perfect one for me.
The very name, Birth Arts International, the ART of it called to me. The fact that this was going to be more than a job, that it went deeper than that because there was something in me that was moving me towards this career. I felt that it required tapping into parts of myself in order to truly do the work of a doula. I knew that I would be going into the most intimate of times with families and that this journey was an artistic one that would require flexibility, creativity, and trust in the process.
The next thing that spoke to me was the autonomy that BAI allowed for. I was interested in learning even more ways to help and heal people and as long as I was properly trained, I would be able to bring those skills to births without breaking rules on scope of practice. This has allowed me to study other interests of mine including aromatherapy and craniosacral therapy and I have the ability to bring in more things to my practice if I discover something else that I am curious about.
Once I became a student I was instantly sure that I had chosen the right place to be. There was such a warm and supportive feeling from the student group. Demetria Clark, the Global Director of BAI was always available to answer my questions and encourage me along the way. There has been new material, webinars and worksheets added for students often and as new information becomes available BAI has always been quick to share and discuss it. This could be anything from a new comfort technique to help our clients, the latest ACOG recommendations, or things that help us build our business in the ever changing world of technology and social media. In every aspect of building a doula career, from having the skills I need to knowing how to market them, I feel like BAI has been there to show me the way.
Another reason that I choose BAI was because I wanted to feel very solid in my skills and though it was a little intimidating, BAI came with a rigorous workload (with a flexible schedule.) At the time when I was looking at programs, I noticed that BAI required more work than other organizations. I would have to read more books, do more assignments, and even attend more births to become certified. My certification would not expire though, so once I was finished that couldn’t be taken away from me. Despite having had my own children at this time I still felt like I knew so very little about birth and I wanted all the education that I could get. I am glad that I didn’t let the intimidation of the work load stop me because I grew so much going through the curriculum. Reading the books, each one showing me more to a world that had previously only had one level. As I worked through the writing assignments and was challenged to explore how I really felt about birth and nature something began to happen to me. I began to grow roots working through that curriculum. Deep roots that I draw from in my work now, these roots help me trust birth, help me believe in the person who is birthing. When I am in a tough situation with a client, when things seem to be taking a turn for the worse, I can breath and draw strength from the roots that grew through my journey with BAI. Those roots still grow deeper even now, as I am still part of that community, only now as a trainer. I still learn things all the time though, we never really stop being a student and I am always seeking new knowledge and understanding.
I am so thankful that I made the decision to train with BAI and even more thankful that I have the opportunity to share BAI with aspiring doulas. It has been such a great community to grow in and perhaps it’s not for everyone but I can’t imagine being anywhere else.