A Book Review – Round the Circle: Doulas Share Their Experiences

They say that experience is the best teacher. However, another person’s experience can be an even better teacher. That is the idea behind the collection of doula experiences by CAPPA Faculty Member Julie Brill, CCCE, CLD in her book, Round the Circle: Doulas Share Their Experiences. The title gives a great glimpse into what the book is like. Imagine you are at a gathering of doulas, sitting around in a circle while everyone shares some of their experiences and what they have learned from them. That is what the book is, a chance to learn from experienced doulas by hearing their stories.

At your doula training you learn all the general basics on how to get started as a doula, but there isn’t time to go into the intricacies of every type of family or every situation you may encounter. In Round the Circle, you learn about working with different groups of people, such as Jewish, LGBTQ, teens, friends, immigrants, and incarcerated mothers. There are chapters about many different situations such as cesarean, unexpected homebirth, planned out-of-hospital births, and surrogacy. There is information on supporting prenatal bonding, food during the postpartum, and the importance of rituals. Some of the most common questions from new doulas are about business and marketing, Round the Circle has 4 chapters on these topics as well as the ever-important topic of self-care as a doula. (We preach it to our clients; we need to be practicing it ourselves.)

As a doula trainer, one of the things I stress to new doulas is the importance of community. It is so important to be involved in the local birth community. One of the reasons is to learn from the more experienced doulas, but that takes time. Reading the book gives you years’ worth of wisdom from some of the most experienced doulas out there in a quick read. (There are other reasons that getting involved locally is important, such as networking and having a place to share your own stories, so local community is still important.)

Round the Circle is on the reading list for certification as a CAPPA doula. I highly recommend it for both new and old doulas alike. You will laugh, you will cry, you will learn, and you will feel like you are part of the circle.


Laura Nance

CPD, CLE®, CLD, CCCE, CPFE, CLC, Senior Program Advisor of Postpartum Doulas

Laura joined the board as the Senior Program Advisor of Postpartum Doulas in January 2014 after being a CAPPA member since 2001 and faculty since 2006. She is CAPPA Certified as a Postpartum Doula, Labor Doula, Lactation Educator and Childbirth Educator. In addition to teaching for the postpartum doula program, she also teaches for the labor doula and lactation educator programs. She is very active in her local birth community as a doula and an educator as well as a mentor and adviser. She and her husband of over 20 years live in the country with their 2 teenagers whose births were the spark that ignited her passion for all things “birthy”. They enjoy spending time together as a family especially in outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, biking, boating and just relaxing outside. She also loves photography and getting lost in a good book. She is looking forward to many more years of inspiring others as doulas, educators and mothers.

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