The Doula Movement
Honoring the Past, Embracing the Future

The Doula movement owes a profound debt of gratitude to countless individuals—indigenous peoples, Godsibs and people who offered support at birth through the ages, grand midwives, doula organizations and modern advocates—who have tirelessly championed the cause of compassionate childbirth support.

From the transmission of ancestral wisdom to the integration of doulas into healthcare systems, their contributions have shaped the landscape of perinatal care.

Years ago, I had the privilege of interviewing Dr. Wendy Freed, whose work in Guatemala inspired Drs. Klaus and Kennell to research doula care in the 1970s. Meeting Wendy, alongside my mentor, the late Penny Simkin, underscored the generosity and love that permeates the doula community. Penny’s presence in my life, forever changed my life. We are blessed when a person has a lasting impact on who we are and what we do. I know her words and wisdom will keep touching others for years to come. As I mourn her loss and celebrate her life, I know she was so happy to see doulas spawning the globe each in their own cultural context. Wendy’s presence at birth also touched and changed the births and thus lives of the people she provided her doula care too.

Today, the evidence supporting doula care is robust. A recent blog and podcast by Rebecca Dekker on Evidence Based Birth eloquently states this facts and cites compelling statistics that demonstrate the profound impact of continuous labor support. From reducing the risk of cesarean birth to increasing the likelihood of a spontaneous vaginal birth, doulas play a pivotal role in improving birth outcomes.

Furthermore, initiatives like the International Childbirth Initiative (ICI) are spearheading efforts to implement doula care as one of their 12 steps globally. In webinars featuring ICI sites from Mongolia, Tanzania, and Kenya, the successes and challenges of doula integration were explored, igniting a wave of interest in doula training worldwide from others on the webinar.

Everywhere one looks, the presence of doulas is palpable. This month’s cover of DONA’s International Doula magazine has a picture of a group of us, global doulas at the FIGO International Federation of Obstetricians and Gynecologists congress in Paris October 2023. I was so honored to be a part representing DONA along with Uta Mattox. You may have heard the saying if you do’t have a seat at the table bring your own chair, or in our case – your birth ball.

It was a collaboration between the European Doula Network, DONA International, ICEA- International Childbirth Education Association and the Doulas of France to come together to take over a corner of the exhibit hall to listen, learn and talk to doctors and midwives about doulas. It planted the seeds of more efforts for doula organizations to come together to work globally to support the expansion of doula care and support doula collaborations with providers and each other.

As we reflect on the rich tapestry of the doula movement, we are reminded of its transformative power and enduring legacy. If you feel the call to join this movement, to become a doula and make a difference in the lives of birthing families, we invite you to take the next step.

Join us at one of our upcoming doula workshops, where you’ll receive comprehensive training and support to embark on this rewarding journey. Whether in person or virtually, our workshops offer an opportunity to connect with a vibrant community of like-minded individuals dedicated to birth justice and equity.

Don’t miss your chance to be part of this transformative movement. Reach out to us today and say “I’m in!” Let’s work together to create a world where every birthing person receives the support and care they deserve.

Join the doula movement - become a practicing doula before the end of May 2024!

DONA Approved Birth Doula Training Ocean Grove, New Jersey

  • VIRTUAL | Welcome Session and Anti-racism + Birth Equity - April 30th, 4:00 - 6:00 PM ET
  • VIRTUAL | Introduction to Childbirth - May 2nd + May 3rd, 9:00 - 5:00 PM ET
  • IN PERSON RETREAT | DONA Birth Doula Training - May 7th - May 9th, 9:00 - 5:00 PM ET
  • Includes 2 nights of accomodations
  • Meals provided
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