Networking has changed quite a bit from when I started in this field many, many moons ago. In a technological world, we are quickly becoming more connected and disconnected all at the same time. Before the Internet and social media was a thing, we used to have to actually make appointments with others and have lunch or coffee. Networking groups were all over. We would go and take our brochures and fliers around town and leave them at places, meet new providers in the area and do our best to work together to create a support system and team we could work with. It often had to start with one of those in-person, face-to-face (oh no!), intimidating kinds of experiences. As an introvert, it was at least one of the most dreaded parts about my work.
Technology has made networking so much easier and, at the same time, has created many challenges as well. I now network with hundreds of people I have never met in person and have met some of the most amazing people in doing so. It has allowed me to travel as a Labor Doula and Childbirth Educator faculty all over the United states and bring the amazing work that CAPPA does to all parts of the country! I get a peek into others’ lives before we ever even meet. I establish connection and compassion for their struggles and enjoy their joys as well.
I am always looking for ways to challenge myself and lately have decided to do more in person networking locally here as well. The birth professions have grown ten-fold from the time I got into this work until now. There are so many people we can create connections and teams with. So many more bridges we can build. I believe that this is more important than we realize. This experience that lessens more and more over time as we deal with our own busy lives…online classes, online conferences, online trainings, online marketing, online…everything. While we can connect, this makes it quite difficult to really see the other people who you are creating a birthing community with.
I have started in my own local, bridge-building team to get out there and get to know all the newer people in this profession, leaving the comfort of my own routine and from behind my screen. While I am still very much introverted and still keep very strict boundaries to keep my balance, I want to break free from behind the screen some. The more this seems to happen, the more connection seems to happen in small ways with my community and me. I believe very strongly in the “team” ideals. I believe that the more of us that work together to support each other in a profession that has very real horizontal violence, the better off we will be. Sitting and having coffee in a little shop with someone who is interested in my line of work and I in theirs, allows me not only to network, but also to see the person and who they are. While I can go and Google 10 other labor doulas in my area, sitting down with them and meeting them gives me an entirely different perspective. We are all human. I think seeing that, now and again, other than on a screen, is imperative to our well-being and ability to make the change we want to see in the world as well.
One-on-one or in a group, don’t forget to get out and meet other birth professionals. It will even renew your faith in what you do.
CLD, CCCE, Labor Doula & Childbirth Education Faculty
As the Founder and Executive Director of Women Honoring Women in 2002, Ruth Kraft, has been working with women and mastering her ability to nurture in a profound for way her entire life. After researching and having great interest in the birth process for many years prior, she then chose to turn it into a career. She is certified as a labor doula and childbirth educator through CAPPA. She enjoys training and mentoring new labor doulas through the process of making this a career and spreading the empowerment to as many women as she can reach. Ruth also provides hypnobirthing, private classes, mentoring, childbirth education and breastfeeding consults. Ruth has engaged in many local speaking engagements to help women understand the options and empowerment through their birth and motherhood. Ruth is the proud mother of Emma and Jacob and lives in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.