Have you heard the old saying “We are Better Together?” There is so much truth in this statement when it comes to connecting with other doulas and educators in our arena. After working as a doula for nine years, I truly believe “Building Connections” is the single best thing you can do to set yourself on a career trajectory of success.
My goal is always to share information and insight that can help you, my community, to thrive in your work. Here are three key ways to build your own personal doula-educator network.
Get Plugged In
First, take the time to get plugged in to or put together a group of professionals you know will bring value to your network of connections. It may be a good idea to approach professionals that you admire and have been helpful to you in the past. If you tend to be a loner, be intentional about pulling professionals together from time to time for lunch or coffee. The reality is, as one person, there is only so much you know from your birthing and training experience. However, by organizing a small group of fellow doulas and educators, you create opportunities to discuss your experiences together and create a circle of support.
We all have a network of colleagues that have had unique and valuable work experiences. This may include insightful solutions to common problems, warnings about challenging patients, or even job leads in the area.
If your life looks like mine, it includes kids, a spouse and wonderful clients who require a lot of my attention. However, don’t forget about your circle of support! Commit to finding and scheduling time to connect for at least an hour as a group once a month. This gives you the chance to share your successes or frustrations and tap into your network for whatever you need. Remember to use the technology at your fingertips, connect with web conferencing tools, such as GoToMeeting or Zoom Video Conferencing. But most importantly take a leadership role in being plugged in and encouraging others to, as well.
Resource sharing is probably the single most powerful component to creating or joining a circle of support. The needs of your connected members may range depending on your years of experience and number of clients. While some members may need serious advice about setting prices, others may be looking for a great blog (other than this one) or networking events to attend.
Two invaluable resources I want to share with you right now are: (Do you have a blog/website/podcast/YouTube?)
The key to resource sharing is your wiliness to LISTEN to your friends in the field. What are their needs? How can you or your circle of support best support them? The ultimate goal of resource sharing is to provide encouragement and to help each other be successful on the job.
Another important factor in sharing resources is for your circle of support to determine the best method of communicating with each other. Perhaps your circle can create a Facebook group or private LinkedIn page to share information. Or, maybe another social media platform is more convenient for your members.
Learn From Each Other
Sharing personal experiences will help equip your circle if and when they are in similar situations. I’ll never forget when I was a newer doula and I had to rely on guidance from a more seasoned doula. She helped me understand my role as a doula. There were times when I was frustrated about marketing and getting clients, she would lift my spirits and encourage me to keep going. Guess what, she is still the most important person in my tribe today!
She’ll never know how valuable that guidance was as I continued to grow and develop as a doula. Likewise, don’t be afraid to share openly with your circle because you never know who can benefit from your stories.
In closing, know that great things can come from a personal network if you take the time and have the willingness to get plugged in or create a circle of support. Next, generously share your resources with each other, and lastly be open to learn from each other. In order to build your circle, all you need is an eagerness to help others, mindfulness to collaborate and a willingness to share.
Resources: A Tribe Called Bliss, by Lori Harder
CPD, CLE®, Faculty
Prinscilla Moore is a wife, mother of 4 beautiful girls, and grandmother. Her enthusiasm in childbirth and maternal health was sparked by her own birth experiences and outcomes. She started her journey with CAPPA in 2012 taking the Labor Doula and Postpartum Doula training programs and found that assisting women in the postpartum period was where her true passion lies. In 2013, she attended the CLE® training and that furthered her knowledge as a Doula and began teaching classes to educate parents on baby care needs and building confidence as they welcome their new baby. Since forming Delighted to Doula Educational Birth Services, she has been working with families throughout Michigan and Los Angeles, CA. In 2019, she became the head of CAPPA’s IDE Taskforce. She can be found at www.delightedtodoula.com.