A New Trend
As a certification agency, New Beginnings noticed a new trend rise in the birth world when Covid came around. We affectionately called them “Mama Doulas”. Essentially, they were mothers kept from attending their grown daughter’s birth because of guest restrictions. These resourceful parents discovered that many hospitals allow certified doulas to attend births, so they hunted for how to become certified. One-by-one our phone began to ring with calls from these mama doulas, searching for a solution.
At first, as the pandemic began to unfold in the early part of 2020, no one was allowed to be present at a birth, not family, not doulas, not even partners. Our first response to this was remote doula support. However, as things began to settle, the value of doulas were asserted. Hospitals began to make space for support professionals (certified doulas) within the birthing space.
So we began brainstorming.
How could we help mamas realistically achieve doula certification so they could attend births? We didn’t want to use the world situation as a shortcut to certification, but we also didn’t want birth attendance to sink any further than it had to. Experimentation ensued. We tried different scenarios with different students to see what worked. As the shutdowns stretched on and regulations evolved, adjustments to our policies developed in crucial ways. Rachel Leavitt, New Beginnings’ co-founder, spoke with numerous hospitals while attempting to develop a strategy. In our next post on this subject, we will share more in depth some tips for not-yet-certified students on how to collaborate effectively with multiple regulations and situations.
Options We Provide
Ultimately, because of all this, New Beginnings now equips our students with varying levels of certification. These levels of certification include:
1: Letter of Enrollment – This document states that the doula-in-training is enrolled in our training program and actively progressing through the course. For some hospitals, proof of enrollment in a doula certification program is sufficient to meet their certified doula requirements. This is the fastest option, but may not be enough to meet some hospital requirements. The key is that you meet the minimum requirements for “progressing student” within our program. By definition, this is completing at least one assignment per month. Payment alone does not qualify someone as an enrolled and progressing student.
2: Basic Doula Certificate – The next step up is our Basic Doula Certificate program. This is a stripped down version of our training, designed as a “fast-track” option to get through the program. We use the term “fast-track” loosely, as the basic doula certificate requires at least 16 hours to complete the required readings and assignments. This is an ideal solution for those who don’t intend to complete all of the certification requirements, nor practice as a doula after their training. It meets the requirements of most hospitals that requires a doula to be certified. It is valid for only 30 days, and does not hold the same weight as our full birth doula certification. The basic doula certificate, however, allows a student to continue towards full birth doula certification, if desired.
3: Full Birth Doula Certification – traditional birth doula certification, described on our main website here.
Not Only Mamas
It is worthy to note that mothers are not the only ones seeking options. Fathers, partners, sisters, daughters, friends, and peers are all utilizing New Beginnings’ certification to attend their loved one’s births. If you are in a situation like this, then feel free to contact us and see if we can find what may work for you.