Shadae interviewed Amanda Rhodes a New Beginnings Doula Training certified doula, and the organizer of It Takes a Village Prenatal and Postpartum Convention. Enjoy!
Where are you from and tell us a little bit about your journey to be a doula.
I’ve just moved to Kansas City, but before that from Cape Girardeau, in southeast Missouri. I didn’t have a doula, and my daughter’s birth didn’t go as planned.
During a postpartum doula visit, my daughter was dealing with a persistent diaper rash that wouldn’t respond to ANY treatments, and the doula recommended checking into elimination communication, which I did, and the rash cleared up right away. That started my journey into the natural realm as it relates to parenting. We already did a fair amount of “crunchy” things, so it wasn’t too big of a leap!
From there I discovered soooo much about birth and birth prep that would have been helpful to know ahead of time. I was interested in becoming a doula, but the training options I’d seen were cost-prohibitive at the time, so I first became a potty learning coach. A few months later the postpartum doula mentioned the New Beginnings Doula Training program, and also that she knew someone who needed a doula on short notice, so I dove into the training and haven’t looked back!
What core values do you hold and how has that influenced your work as a doula?
INFORMATION IS POWER.
Every woman should have access to accurate, up-to-date information so she can make the best choice possible for HER situation. I am PASSIONATE about informed choices – if I offer you an apple, and you take it, you “chose” the apple, right? But what if I didn’t tell you that an orange, a peach, and a watermelon were also available? Did you really CHOOSE the apple?
I do my best to help mama know all her options so she can really make a true CHOICE for her care.
How have you seen growth in yourself as a doula?
I think I’ve gained a greater ability to support someone else’s path, even if it is not the one I would have taken.
What important aspect of yourself have you brought to your work as a doula?
A willingness to serve others.
I do my best to help people when I can. Need someone to help paint a room? You got it. Car broke down and you need a ride to the shop? I’m there. You need me to rub your feet or do a hip squeeze through contractions? No problem. I feel that if everyone was more concerned with helping each other, and contributing to the good of their communities, that the world would be a happier, healthier place. I try to practice that through service to others, and serving as a doula is one of the most meaningful ways I can think to do this.
How have you worked to build community, both with your clients, and other members of the birth team?
Communication is generally a strength for me; I do my best to communicate clearly between all members of the team, and to be helpful in whatever capacity is needed so that the others can do their jobs as well.
Any advice for new doulas who are navigating being themselves while doing birthwork?
In the moment, it’s not about YOU.
You can provide information, resources, share opinions, but when it comes right down to it, the birthing mother is the one who you are there to support. If she changes her mind about something – that’s ok. If she doesn’t envision the same birth option for herself that YOU would, that’s ok. If she needs lots of help, that’s ok. If she just wants you to hang out and stay hands-off unless called on, that’s ok. It’s important to make sure ahead of time that your personalities work well together, since you will be in such an intimate setting, but whatever she decides that she needs, your job is to support and validate her. All women deserve to feel heard and supported.
Stay within your scope of practice.
Understand what the limits of your expertise and training are, and stay within them. If you aren’t a medical professional, don’t prescribe medicines. If you aren’t a chiropractor, don’t perform adjustments. Be clear with everyone exactly what it is you CAN or CAN’T do, and stay true to it.
Check out Amanda’s Doula page https://www.facebook.com/beyondthebumpdoula
And her work to train Doulas in her area, https://ittakesavillagesemo.com/