Welcome, birth nerd...
You're in Dynamo Doula territory now.
I am so glad you are here!
Originally, I was creating this for in-person attendees who would have access to our discussions in a condensed format in the long term for reference purposes. Of course, this is exactly what this is. But it is more. As I worked hours into the night and then into the day, I realised that this was a DELICIOUS - easy to access - bite size but big picture way of getting all things Dynamo Doula into your hands WITHOUT commitment to a curriculum or requirements, or a certificate of completion, or needing to seek out professional training if you are strictly wanting to learn this for pleasure or personal reasons.
It is the most accessible, encompassed learning material I have at this price point.
The content below is mind bending. Really. And it is my gift to you - over 100,000$ invested in creating it and 17, 250 hours spent breathing & birthing what you will come across.
The contributors and friends that are included in this are remarkable individuals who have helped make the Dynamo Doula world as dynamic as it is - please respect their work and mine by refraining from sharing it with anyone who is not an enrolled student, graduated student or paying participant.
The boring and brutal truth is failure to respect this involves…
You acknowledge that if you create or attempt to create a course which is in competition with this course or with our/my business anywhere in the world, we/I will cancel your membership of our site and groups, remove your access to our site and groups, and you will receive no refund in such an event.
In addition, you agree that at a minimum, you will be liable to us/me for an amount of 500,000$ liquidated damages for breach of trust, being our estimated investment in the creation of this course, in financial outlay as well as unpaid time and paid time expended by the course creators.
I/We reserve the right to an injunction to stop you from offering such a course and also reserve the right to recover from you damages and/or an account of profits.
On the other hand, if you wanna share screen grabs on your Instagram or speak about how killer this content is - GO FOR IT! But please tag my Instagram handle and the handle of the contributor you are referencing.
Diversity & Inclusion Agreement
I want to see every human fully and completely supported in their autonomy and ownership of who they are and how they live. A massive component of approaching this soul-shattering work responsibly and sustainably is acknowledging whom I may not be best suited to work with. Because my work is rooted in the womb – which is often seen as a gendered space - I want to address gender diversity, specifically.
My work centers women. It is the embodiment of the feminine experience, of pussy power, of taking up space and celebrating the beauty of menstruation, birth, and sex.
If you are a cisgender woman with shared values and vision, I can confidently say it is time for you to step into my sphere – come on in! If you are a person who was assigned female at birth, a person with a uterus, a person whose embodied and lived experience expands beyond the binary – I hope you are equally as excited about working together, but I want to be clear and upfront about the ways in which my work centers women, so that you can decide for yourself what is safest and feels best for you.
I see and love my trans, non-binary, and gender non-conforming siblings, and am forever committed to the continuation of my own education in order to better show up for and make space for the gender-queer community. I am also working on a stellar directory of trans-centered and trans-competent professionals to better meet the needs of individuals who may be best served by someone else, so stay tuned.
'You can learn a lot about a culture by paying attention to what is missing within that culture.'
When you decide to learn how to ‘Doula’ with me – it isn’t about taking in powerful content on how to slay the dragon – I’m not in the business of breaking the spirit of powerful creatures. Instead, you can expect an immersive and interactive choke-hold of love and ravenous light that teaches you how to earn the trust of the dragon, dance with the dragon, and become the dragon.
I am here to challenge the story you’ve been sold, as you chart new territory in the art of wisdom and secret keeping at life's thresholds, in the most blazingly integral way possible.
I trust that if you’ve made it this far, you found me serendipitously and that your soul dragged you to this training with every intention to tug at your heart strings.
You’re here because curiosity is coaxing every hidden desire you have to change the world, out to the surface where it can play and thrive.
You’re here because you recognise the world is sick with disconnection, and you are ready to change this, by challenging the ways you take up space in your own body, and in the ways, you live your own life first.
You’re most likely here because you know I have the unique ability to Doula you through this learning process, in a container that is as safe as it is scary and as inspirational as it is confronting.
This is precisely the reason I insisted on pursuing this passion, even when I couldn’t necessarily articulate it or make sense of the amount of money I spent making it.
Because I was destined to midwife you through your rebirth, and hold the belief in you as you brave every ring of fire imaginable until you meet the face of your greatest potential.
This is a full spectrum Doula training focused on equipping you with the necessary perspective, insight, information, tools and strategy, to confidently position you as a dynamo confidante + coach + consultant + secret keeper + bestie in whichever catalyst moment you choose to sherpa, on the spectrum of the human experience. Examples of this might include helping individuals from all types of communities, to move through an array of thresholds, such as – bleed/menstruation, gestation/pregnancy, labour, all types of childbirth and new arrival of children, motherhood + parenting, career or relationship changes, menopause, loss, death, etc.
From start to finish, you will be encouraged to find a realm that speaks directly to your joy, anger, natural inclinations, gifts and passions, as to work within a niche that breathes every aspect of who it is you are and what you can bring to the world.
This is not a birth & postpartum Doula training anymore – it is the secret keeping of the divinity expressed in each and every single one of you, through the shadows to the light, through the fight to the life, through to fear to the fruit, in a way that is unequivocally supportive, whole-hearted and free of agenda that traditional parameters or timelines placed on people, in the sport of ‘productivity’.
I am so f*cking proud of you for stepping up to the plate and making moves in a world where staying put is safer – where being a Doula has been reduced to hip squeezes and high fives, sugar-coating circumstances and avoiding advocacy & activism.
As of such, current Doula training programs lack the dynamic and industry
specific support necessary for Doulas wanting to create exceptional bodies of work. I uplevelled everything I did for myself, and turned it into an immersive learning experience I dream up for you.
Well, I wasn't anticipating pissing so many people off, but I suppose that is the byproduct of demanding more from the world, from your community and your peers. I am totally cool with pissing people off for the greater good.
What am I aiming to create with this Doula Training?
Something worth investing in because the return on that investment is globally supercharged.
I Doula the Doula. I birth womxn. And I do this in such a way that creates the necessary space for them to excavate, bulldoze, prune, garden and BLOOM with vigour. I teach Doulas how to take up space in themselves and in their lives, find their voice and come alive BECAUSE THIS IS WITHOUT A DOUBT A PREREQUISITE TO CALLING YOURSELF A KEEPER OF KNOWLEDGE OF CROSSROADS & THRESHOLDS.
Don’t call yourself a Doula if you haven’t gotten uncomfortable enough where the universe has commanded you to Doula yourself.
You EARN this line of work and purpose by leaning into the roller coaster of life and making love to the demons & angels dancing on the stage of your bones. You can’t help people move mountains, and you can’t change the toxic climate of birth, and you can’t dismantle the systems that oppress + suppress + kill those who remain invisible and mistreated - IF YOU ARE UNABLE TO BREATHE FIRE INTO YOUR OWN WOMB.
I have made every effort into creating something that was authentically me - even when I was too fucking scared to be brave. I kept the vision of your individual impacts alive which has kept me moving beyond what I thought possible.
There are three legs associated to the cauldron of my Doula work:
Deep excavation, inner work, self-actualisation - learning to Doula by Doula’ing yourself.
Activism and advocacy - weaving change into the world by consciously participating in conversation and action.
Knowing each layered component of wellbeing, and taking these into consideration in order to provide a holistic offering (no stone unturned) to those you serve.
You are already all Doulas in your own right - I don’t need to teach you to Doula...I just need to take you back home to your instinct, intuition and conviction. From here, your Doula voice can come out to play.
As the program has evolved, and I have grown, and my definiteness of purpose has become even more anchored in conviction and courage - my messages have, too, have become remarkably multi-dimensional. It is funny to me, that the words Dynamo Doula came to me in a download I assumed had something to do with 'being dynamic'. I trusted the download and applied it in faith. Would you believe that until today, almost two years into inception of this program, I hadn't ever looked up the definition for DYNAMO.
a machine for converting mechanical energy into electrical energy; a generator.
an extremely energetic person.
"she was a dynamo in Doula work."
Let me use the above to preface the few and only objectives I have for you, darlings, as you move through every expertly and intuitively applied piece of information or insight you come across in this curriculum.
I want you to covertly and compassionately convert the linear, restrictive and destructive energy that the machine has made of life's truest human experiences (birth, death, sex, pleasure, parenthood, etc.), into electrically supercharged soul fire energy that moves, heals and shakes up the divine perfection and purpose of our experience on this planet - here - right now - together.
The Dynamo Doula is like the manifesting generator making love to every human design archetype, and making magic in the process...the Dynamo Doula is power.
And yup, you bet your bottom that the Dynamo Doula is high energy, high emotional, high empathic, highly sensitive, high impact, too. Irregardless of whether you are introverted, extroverted, healing, reeling, and or swimming in a sea of labels - this training IS for those who have the (or want to have) the energy to create their best work. The Dynamo Doula is not quiet, they are not meek, they are not submissive - they are forever using their uniquely harnessed and expressed energy to enquire, ask questions, challenge existing norms, advocate for themselves to then activate change in the world.
It is no coincidence I called this Doula Training Program - Dynamo Doula.
No - I said Dynamo, and nothing else.
Your objective is exactly this, come into this program as all things seperate, severed, unsure, insecure, perplexed, overwhelmed, mediocre, naively enthusiastic, curious but perceptive....
...and leave a god damn supernova - a core and crust lined with intergalactic vision, brimming with whole-hearted love, committed to creating change.
You don't need to use this to pursue Doula work. You might be here to compliment your profession or educate yourself before your own birth experience. Have a damn good time, that's what I want for you. How to make use of this material?
Break up with any relationships you hold in close regards to time, perfection or control - they are illusions that will ruin you. There exists no such thing as either perfection OR control in birth and parenthood, what sort of false logic are you grappling at, and how will this affect the expectations you clients have of themselves?
Get to know how the body works by running through provided content and materials outlining anatomy, biology, processes, science BUT also in your own independent research. My speciality is NOT observing the body from the outside - my special sauce is living it from the inside and sharing that phenomenological perspective.
Get to know how the body works by both researching independently AND deep diving into provided content on menstruation + bleed, cycling, ebb + flow, seasons, menopause, chapters and catalysts (as it relays to the individual woman, womxn, queer, trans, non-binary people etc. and/or the individuals you plans on serving).
Get to know how the body works by getting to know how YOUR body works. Do not attempt to help a person understand their body if you are consciously avoiding knowing yourself. I suggest having a journal or recording device to take account of your findings and to honour your own journey of self- exploration.
Watch this video of Matt Kahn speaking 'You Are The Way'. Please watch. I know nothing about Matt nor of his brand, so cannot vouch for him, but what I do know is the things he discusses in this particular video are the kind of truth medicine Doulas need to here - particularly those here to challenge the martyred Doula role. Full disclosure, it is spiritual but NOT specific to any religion, nor does it appropriate any culture - it is all about standing for your experience, committing to your personality and being a warrior for your ethics.
Explore and understand not just the physical and 'physiological' processes of conception, gestation, birth and the immediate postpartum - I am not interested in you being able to memorise numbers, refer to evidence based research and become obsessively attached to concepts. If you are a clever cookie, fantastic. But that will not be the trail to your dream client nor will it correlate to the impact you create. Get to know the territory that people walk, track and train for during these times...become the expert of SOUL as it moves in birth and parenthood, then draw the f*cking map. That is how you become the sherpa.
Fall in love with yourself, the ALL-ness of you. Make this possible to digging into what plugs the light into your brilliance. Your faith, astrology, human design, personality type, boundaries, where you source your energy and what depletes you, what your gifts, talents and abilities are, what makes you come alive and what makes you feel alight with purpose. Give yourself 101 reasons to love yourself, and in turn, give yourself a lifetime of reasons to back your vision.
You will change 10000 times between now and completion of the curriculum - love yourself enough to allow it.
WHATEVER you do, do NOT disregard the personal development and life + leadership coaching I infuse and inject into this course. Do so, and you do it to your detriment. In my opinion, it is the content that speaks directly to your soul and the reason you came here in the first place. You are meant to be confronted - not because I enjoy making my life more difficult. But because I love your heart and know you can do better for yourself, and because I know the people counting on us to help them deserve the best of you, too.
Breathe life into your biggest dreams by siphoning them out of your head and onto paper, on a regular basis. No one has to see this list, but please give your individual version of success, a stage to dance on. It is critical you see & believe in your capacity to create...before anyone else does. No small picture, self-deprecating, universe negotiating allowed.
Do a stock take of your thoughts & inner narrative, on a regular basis. Are you poisoning the soil in which you are trying to grow fruit? Or are you fertilising it with self-revering fertiliser?
Take key note of the cornerstones of this program; holistic well being (whole picture + unseen dimensions of health), self-awareness + self-love, activism and advocacy to weave a web of change in the world, equipping birth workers to run sustainable and profitable businesses to get funds into the hands of good people (money as a tool for change). Do you feel aligned and on purpose with each of these?
Watch every single Masterclass and call-replay available. Inspiration strikes when you least expect it. Expertise is built in your sleep. Reputation is built in your commitment to learn.
Seek out initial work experiences as emerging Doulas, with clients who reflect the people you want to help. Ensure these 'qualifying dream client exchanges' will provide you with the information and insight you will extract to move forwards - not backwards. Knock these out of the park and impress yourself before you worry about impressing me or anybody else on the DDT team.
15. Leave this program with nothing else than the realisation you learnt exactly what it is the universe intended on you to learn while being here, go on to create your best work, leave knowing you are loved and believed in, leave a legacy to keep this world warm after you're gone...and if you do all of these things....my work has been done.
Welcome to the revolution!
Call To Arms
Not everyone who moves through this curriculum will leave as a Doula. That might seem hard to swallow, but it should be liberating. Why? Because everyone who leaves this content will leave a better version of themselves - and in that change, will be the delicious meeting of your personal potential. And that is worth its weight in gold. This is why this is more about 'The Doula of YOU' than it is about chasing certifications that don't exist.
Your purpose, your story, your vision, your happiness...they are not mutually exclusive to being a Doula. They rely on you following what feels GOOD. And this is the introduction to your why.
Your ‘WHY’ is the purpose, cause or belief that inspires you. It will continue to inspire you through every single thing you do or modality you pursue.
Often, it is a struggle for those moving through the curriculum or any of my offerings, to make sense of their purpose, their passion, or their reason. I get it, it is such a huge concept. But let's break it down...
Let’s begin with why, of all places on the vastness of the world wide web, you’ve found yourself here. Your ‘WHY’ is the purpose, cause or belief that inspires you. Your ‘WHY’ is your reason for being, for thinking, for acting, for persisting. The big WHY question is also the enquiry that has people shitting themselves. Definiteness of purpose freaks people out. Everyone has a reason they do what they do, and being aware of this reason gives us greater power and understanding in the decisions we make & take in our Doula businesses.
Your ‘WHY’ is the very first seed you plant - the same seed of which your new journey as a Dynamo Doula begins. Why is knowing your ‘WHY’ important?
Well, it helps you tackle problems and challenges. It inspires you to inject passion and a sense of greater purpose into everything you do. And, it keeps you motivated and committed when it might be easier to feel defeated. Simon Sinek says, ‘Most people lives their lives by accident -we live as it happens. Fulfillment comes when we live our lives on purpose.’
Your purpose can be found in asking yourself firstly one basic question, what pisses you off? Seriously - ask yourself this. Make a list. And then voila - passion is born and you are now acquainted to your convictions. Now I want you to ponder- are you a part of the problem or are you a part of the solution?
When it comes birth & parenting, I would like to invite you to perhaps consider another perspective. One that was born from me - the poet dancing with her purpose, two shy creatures swaying quietly in shadows to songs they have never been able to make sense of. The philosophy I am about to share came from the exact ways of which elixir of life sprang from my passion & fury - it erupted in response to big feelings.
You see, conception...gestation...childbirth...raising our young....it is so much - SO MUCH MORE - than what is sold to you in medical text books and databases.
But you already kinda guessed that, didn't you?
What you read in this curriculum is my unique interpretation and one that I am deciding to unleash unbridledly into the world.
For all the things that matter in this world, there never exists enough proof to satiate the cynic. The boisterous ego, overwhelmed with not knowing anything at
all, desperately clings to a life of hyper-intellectualising in a bid to make sense of everything. Years, decades, centuries spent chasing truths solely to reach a destination where you can say 'I conquered this unknowing and made it known.' It is worth saying, that even when that ‘sense’ is man made, it cannot claim to come from an otherworldly source, so arrogance takes the stage and perpetuates the ego to keep moving with agenda. Our brains are incredible, but they could never understand otherworldly concepts - let alone debunk them.
Make no mistake - man has made an art out of conquering & claiming by use of violence, assault, arrogance and evil. What he does not understand, what he does not respect, what he cannot use, what he cannot control - he destroys by one medium or another. This extends to every part of what you see in our world. But we resist, and the calling you have felt to participate in this work is actually why you are here.
This immersive learning experience is a reclamation of what was taken from us.
Everything about the processes you have come to learn from me or will learn from me here, are otherworldly. To understand this, you need to explore what I say next.
Most of what happens within our blood and bones, is the product of inner-woven mystery + intergalactic highway travel, of which could never totally be explained or rationalised by people in space suits. Our marvel isn’t meant to be conquered and the moon was never man’s to begin with. You can watch the sun, moon, the stars, the planets, every galaxy available for us to stalk, intently, with the most sophisticated telescopic lens known to man kind, but this will never bring you closer to being the sun, the moon, or the stars, or the planets. So instead of saying, 'How beautiful, how majestic. I do not understand, I will never understand. This complexity takes me to my knees and I admire it. I protect it, I do not prod incessantly until I feel like I understand.', we refer to galactic masterpieces as 'uninhabitable', 'too cold', 'too hot', 'too big', 'too small'.
You and I have a lot in common with the stars.
Every womb holder walking this planet right now is the total blazing embodiment of her own unique milky way. She and they ARE the Milky Way. Holding the entire solar system of humankind, etched deeply within her genes. I want to challenge you with this first, what do you know of the Milky Way? To the naked eye, it looks as though‘nothing more but a hazy band of light strung together from stars. - stunning, its complexity entirely underestimated. You should know, darlings, that the Milky Way is a barred spiral galaxy, about 100,000 light years across. If you could see it from the eyes of heaven, you would see that it is one central bulge (the womb) surrounded by four spiral arms that wrap around it (that of the mother and the womxn that hold her).
The Milky Way does not sit still, much like me and you - she is constantly moving, rotating, changing position to upholster the tragedy, beauty, sadness, death and life that she carries. And get this, the Milky Way is surrounded by an enormous halo of hot gas that extends thousands light years - as massive as all the stars in the Milky Way combined - an angel in an aura of disguise. The spiral, known historically as the divine feminine shape, representative of our weaving and way of moving - the arms of the Milky Way.
How fitting that the Milky Way be a series of spiral arms, dancing an embrace of constant decay, death, rebirth and blossom - emotionally and energetically traffic controlling - in the exact same ways you and I move through this world, too.
Believe me when I say that this aura, that magnetic field, that strength, malleability, conviction and splendour of the woman is just as majestic, intriguing, frightening and misunderstood; the stories and power we carry in the tapestry of our beings have been pillaged by presumption and perversion. Our obsession with looking at space for signs of life and intelligence, of creating artificial intelligence in hi-tech robots, of searching for life in the deepest of oceans, in developing utopic retreats and colonising other planets, has come at the cost of sterilising the universe, sterilising women, sterilising the world we know it from the womb in which it was propagated (in both cosmic and physical form).
We've made a dystopia of birth & death - how the Dynamo Doula reinvents this apocalypse is HUGE.
The word sterilisation literally refers to any process that eliminates, removes, kills, or deactivates all forms of life - look at the cruel irony in all of this. Hand sanitisers, contraceptions, the obliteration of our fertility, the blanket of safety in surgery, the annihilation in the ways we include or exclude emotional context in the decision making process that involves our bodies, our children, this world - THE WHOLE FUCKING MILKY WAY - you’ve lumped them all into one word and one category - STERILISATION. The masculine linear tsnunami rolling in, to plant its flag in our pussies, our lovers, our bodies, our babies, our love, our vigour, our laughter, our joy, our orgasms, our power, our softness, each dark + unknown + uncharted inch of territory in YOU - my world - THIS WORLD - your world; it is not one to be conquered, paraded on, shown off. It is meant to be revered, respected, kept safe, worshipped - we are meant to be in awe.....so, what went wrong? And what does this have to do with you, Dynamo Doulas?
Irregardless of whether you recognise this in yourself or not, the most supreme form of intelligence resides in the Milk Way of woman and womxn. Irregardless of how you identify or present, the womb is the central bulge that carries, propels, fuels, anchors it all. Does the current maternal health care system support such intricacies? Does the restrictive and linear nature of policies, protocols, insurance limitations, fear of litigation, ego, arrogance and the misogynistic rage of the patriarchy support the Milky Way of woman?
No. It really fucking does not.
In a climate of chaos and upheaval, you might have notice the psychology of what humans do when they're angry and want to be seen doing something or taking a stand. I would very much appreciate each of you to consider what 'activating change' looks like for you, and what type of 'change activating' energy is required (depending on the resistance and circumstance at hand).
In the last five years, I have noticed quite dramatically how Doulas teeter between extreme and almost radical efforts at playing the loud ally, and existing in the shadows of the non-existent voice. It is often a lot of hiding and staying completely quiet OR being overtly loud and attacking everywhere on the online sphere (almost as a means to compensate for when they didn't do enough or didn't do anything at all).
This can look like choosing what fragments of feminism suit them, to focusing on outer journey and small picture issues that keep them engaged + enraged on matters that derail them from tackling large scale efforts (for example partaking in aggressive online conversations on car seat restraints), to having absolutely no interest in marrying political activism + human rights + holistic well being, and lastly, the bi- product of their efforts often lead to alienating & isolating more people than the original plan of educating + bringing people together.
As with the work I am sharing in this program, when it comes to activism - activating change has to come in from a preventative level. Why you might ask? When activism and advocacy come in at the crisis point, it is often lined with an energy that is incredibly defensive and aggressive - even when backed by the best of intentions.
I want you to remember that without a doubt, your passions are born from the place in which you are pissed off. That reclamation of anger and frustration leads to conviction & courage that would otherwise not be set of stage! And this is a beautiful thing, no doubt. My concerns lie in the ways your activism moves through you, what your intentions are, what your objectives are, how you are being perceived, whether your message is being heard or whether you are isolating those listening.
I would very much appreciate you reading the below with an open heart. There are no right or wrong answers - these are questions created to prompt you in a deep way.
At this very moment in time, there are 7.5 billion people, 4200 religions around the world and over 7,000 languages. We are looking at rampant abuses, injustice, starvation, genocide, children being trafficked, deep poverty, crime, corruption, conspiracy, climate change, slavery, death, destruction...the list goes on. The world is an unjust place. There are so many elements, so much anguish, so much pain, so much disaster...
Is your activism asking too much of those who feel unsafe participating, who are mentally or physically unwell, who are highly sensitive, who are empaths crippled by feeling 'too much', are negatively affecting people who might feel cut down the middle because they are not queer enough or not black enough or not poor enough to actively participate on either side, are facing significant hurdles with accessibility, are being misunderstood or having assumptions places on them?
Is your activism bringing people together or tearing them apart?
Is your focus in activism disregarding the people / scenario / big picture/s?
Are the ways we throw micro-agressions at each other for not doing enough, not saying enough, not being enough, exaggerating harm?
How many of us are activating change from a place of trauma, grief, turmoil and unresolved issues?
And how many of you are using aggressive, passive aggressive, defensive, presumptuous activism to heal that pain?
Are you playing the ferocious ally to a marginalised community or demographic of people of which you are not a part of? Is your voice suited to represent these people?
What type of mission, message and energy do you expect to be projecting from that place when activating change?
I know that as a highly sensitive person, who feels things in what can only be described as shrapnel piercing the chest, who would be so perturbed by what she saw and heard, it left her feeling like she could never possibly save everyone in the world - so why would she ever be worthy of feeling complete enough to care for herself? To care for everyone? If I couldn't save every animal, every child, every person - how could I call myself a good person? These thoughts were toxic, destructive and based on unrealistic expectations I would never reach. Therefore, any sporadic bursts of activism coming from this would be born in insecurity and hopelessness.
These days, I have moved my focus to modelling a sense of being, a way of showing up, a way of living and breathing my beliefs, beyond what was previously considered as the gold standard of activism (volunteer work, sacrificing time, burn out, riot, aggressive outbursts used to convert, pain projected, etc.), using $$$ as a tool to inspire, educate and circulate good and my message, and so on.
Please, please, please continue to fight the good fight.......please, please, please do not extinguish that flame. Just be aware that we each have two ears, one heart, two hands, one brain, one soul, one body...as you blossom, as you sharpen the edge of who you are and what you are here for, you too will come to see that the aspects of this work you might be clinging to in order to fight for relentlessly, are indeed the ways you sabotage yourself from upleveling where a WORLD full of people need the expression of you which has the tone, message, delivery and energy they will require at that time.
What Is A Doula?
I . Literal Definition of a Doula
A person, typically without formal obstetric training, who is employed to provide guidance and support to a pregnant woman or person during labour.
‘from admission through delivery, a doula stayed at their assigned patient's side’
1.1 A person employed to provide guidance and support to the mother or parent of a newborn baby.
‘My mother-in-law hired a postpartum doula to help me for a couple of weeks’
1960s: modern Greek, from Greek doulē ‘female slave’.
To me, a Doula is someone who is guiding, loving, inspiring, believing, amplifying, pushing, holding, knowing, holding space at thresholds, mentoring, coaching, acting as a confidante, feels like a best friend, etc.
The illusion attached to requiring any expertise beyond being the expert of you, will remain an illusion despite what anyone else says or what you try and convince yourself of.
The Doula need only focus on being the absolute expert of their whole self. This is the absolute freaking prerequisite. Knowing yourself in order to help others know themselves.
You are not meant to be perfect. Perfect is not a prerequisite to help people as a Doula because the people you are helping are NOT perfect. They require the wounded healer and the gifts that come from their marvellous mess. They need someone honestly existing within their own bodies, to help them navigate uncertainty and take up space in theirs. This is the kind of Doula ethos you should be striving to embody.
The Dynamo Doula is one that asks questions, inspires, preempts and plants seeds - everything is approached in a way that is as preventative as possible. It isn't about being useful when things go wrong. It is about helping people to plan appropriately, to feel as empowered as humanly possible as an active participant in a process that has to happen before crisis. Active participation in or after crisis is nearly impossible for the individual who hired you. Active participation in or after crisis is only possible for the Doula, and that is a level of self serving I can't get behind.
Of course, the Dynamo Doula in crisis control and damage control is a powerful thing (especially with what you will learn), but please consider the angles you come into this work with.
The entire medical and health care system is based on 1) economics 2) politics 3) productivity 4) crisis control 5) avoidance of litigation. The reality is this 👈🏻 but what YOU are sold is a front that says 1) we are here to protect you 2) we are here to care for you 3) we are here to save you. This ruse is also sold to students pursuing careers in the field, a marketing tactic that preys on the earnest desires of people wanting to help. And then, when the reality sets in and empathy deficits kick in necessary for staff to survive in a desperate bid not to waste their degree and/or not lose their job.
It’s a sick system that remains not only stable...but FESTERING because 1. SO LONG AS YOU ARE SAVED - you don’t complain 2. YOU ARE SO TRAUMATISED - you disassociate to survive and filing a complaint depletes you of energy you need to parent. .
What I have noticed in years of this work and countless hours of this conversation, is how the meaning of ‘care’ is so deeply different in the system VS between lovers and friends - IV bags VS chicken soup and a hug. This is NOT an attack on medicine - it’s a call on including more than machines because this does not encompass what humans need to thrive.
I had this vision of Dynamo Doulas being the curators of the ‘I SEE YOU’ unit, as opposed to the ‘ICU’ intensive care unit. And really so much of what we do is this....we SEE you. Because witnessing a human as a human with a soul, desires, needs, fears and vision is EVERYTHING when they feel vulnerable. That is radical support that literally reimagines a person’s nervous system. Their immune systems. How they socialise, how they feel safe & how this translates to their life. And ultimately, how they heal. Bedside manner and hand sanitiser is not enough. Degrees and doctorates and the talent...that is half the story. Being unwell or birthing or healing or being in the postpartum, this does not make you half a human - it makes you MORE HUMAN than you will ever be. Therefore witnessing humanity IS a non-negotiable that the Dynamo Doula perfects.
TRIGGERS, JUDGEMENTS, BIAS
What words, conversations, images and content triggers a conscious or subconscious reaction in you?
How do you project this?
How in turn, do people perceive you and/or your business?
How in turn does this affect your business viability and model
How in turn does this create potential to do more harm than good?
Let’s take a look at these words…how do they make you feel?
FREE BIRTH - CESAREAN BIRTH - VACCINATIONS - CIRCUMCISION - ABORTION - NATURAL BIRTH - BREAST FEEDING - CHEST FEEDING - FORMULA FEEDING - CRY IT OUT - SEX - SCHEDULED INDUCTION - POST PARTUM HEMORRHAGE - FOETAL STRESS - ADDICTION - OBSTETRICIAN - MIDWIFE
Our triggers, judgements and biases are not inherently bad.
To the inexperienced or emotionally stifled individual, empathy, instinct and intuition will sometimes present themselves as a trigger, judgement or bias.
Triggers, judgements and biases are often just a reaction that comes from ‘I don’t know anything about this’, and our fear of admitting we don’t know. Instead of educating ourselves and empowering our ability to think critically, we clutch to either side of polarising opinions. Are you avoiding learning about something? Why?
The wounded healer is a concept attached to the notion that each time we are triggered or we cast judgement, there is something calling them inwards to pay close attention to heal.
The context and socio/cultural location of our trigger, judgement and bias is necessary to unpack where it is coming from and how we are going to respond appropriately.
Remember that most of what we know is learnt behaviour, adopted models taught to us, conditioning and so on. This means that it is very possible to work through these successfully in order to not bring them or project them unnecessarily into our client interactions.
Triggers, judgements and biases can sometimes help us create parameters, containers and filters that lead to safer spaces because we are not intentionally letting in the individuals we might harm unintentionally.
The Dynamo School of Thought
No one births or becomes a parent or experiences loss and remains the same. This is not possible - the person you are when you move through this threshold is never the same individual who comes out the other side.
You either become better, leave worse off, or become the wildly fragmented mosaic of mess but never, ever, ever the same.
It is imperative that you - the Dynamo Doula - know, that in every breathe of your being, that in everything you do and are aiming to be...you will also never enter the birth space or gate of a threshold, and ever come out the same person you were walking in.
You aren't only Doula-ing your client....you're holding the space...you are Doula'ing yourself through your own resurgence.
And so, what exactly does this mean and what am I asking of you?
What does it mean to establish a career in a continuous state of motion?
What essentially does it require from a person, to be able to confidently surf the duality of this movement?
How does become proficient in the language of both predictability & complete unpredictability?
And how does one acquire the lens that which sees the dance of death, the fruit of fear, the not-knowing that comes before KNOWING - as the ultimate predecessor to be the Doula you need to be?
Well my darlings, you need to become friends..forgive me, I mean...LOVERS with life and death...LOVERS with birth and rebirth....LOVERS with the breaking down and the breakthrough, before you can even begin to elude that you understand the landscape in which you are attempting to guide the blind through.
If we know for certain, that birth - death - rebirth is the catalyst....is the door...to what awaits you...the ways you face that cliff are very much linked to how you fall or fly - your rebirth strategy best be a priority for the sake of the soul you live in and the souls you collide with.
It is unfortunate, quite frankly, how so many people view birth as they do death.
'I won’t remember, therefore I don’t care in investment, therefore I can afford to procrastinate on exhuming the demons dancing on the grave of my evolution, therefore I can afford to ignore any feelings associated with preparing OR experiencing this birth - death - rebirth.'
We don’t prioritise what we don’t care for - even when that lack of investment affects the lifetimes that came before us, this life, the lifetimes that follow our epigenetic makeup and the emotional landscape our children (and our children's children inherit), our relationships, our joy and our mental health.
Whomever coined the term 'ignorance is bliss' was clearly not the person drowning in the aftermath of denial, procrastination and naivety.
We see birth and death as non avoidable matter of fact parts of the human experience, unimpacted by our actions and yet completely avoidable by our illusions of control.
How does a Doula bring humanity back to the human experience without bringing the above misalignment to the exchange?
Ditching your attachment to concepts, hyper-intellectualised ideas, pre-conceived notions of what being a Doula means, finding the balance between being justifiably upset VS anger + ego derailing you from doing the big work for yourself AND others, releasing fine-formed sabotage you've disguised as expectations (you have on yourself or you believe others have of you), ability to call yourself out on the ways you are single-handledly cockblocking your up level and lastly - sitting down with yourself and realising that at the end of the day...degrees, certifications, politics, conversations that don't solve problems in-the-moment and any obsessions you have with looking a certain way for ego or fear purposes.
When should a Doula be able to call themselves a Doula?
When does a Doula command the credibility, respect and trust necessary to genuinely help/advise/consult?
How does the coach earn the right to coach?
How does the sherpa earn the right to sherpa?
How does the consultant earn the right consult?
How does one earn the respect and right to give advice?
How does the Doula earn the right to Doula?
Where is this credibility and integrity born?
Is it OUTER experience or is it INNER experience?
Consider that if you got into this work just so you could 'keep women, pregnant and/or birthing people, and babies company' during the threshold...you are akin to man journeying to the moon just so he had could plunge his flag in what was hers, to claim as conquered, to bring home for bragging rights.
What your heart is begging you to listen to, what is your soul is crying out to this world, why your instinct is pulling you to this work, what are your guts pleading you to honour?
Honour your insides...do the music of you justice by taking the time to master your instruments...fight for your joy....and then, just then - you will have earn the right to guide golden lions to the top of the mountain, around the mountain and in the mountain.Birth and death, both alive and vying for our attention in every burst of air we gulp - on our way in and on our way out. The ways we are born are intrinsically tied to the way we live and the ways we die; the world’s most marvellously macabre connect-the-dots.
We’ve traded the stop, smile, seduce the sensory aspects of the human experience, + help others feel safe and seen, for a dog eats dog world. The same dog eats dog world, that calls dog man’s best friend.
We don’t know when to quit the antics and enjoy the show. This connect-the-dots isn’t about control...it’s about reading the story, page by page, as each chapter was meant to be devoured. ‘How to stay human in 2 simple steps’ - and we couldn’t do that either.
There’s a line in a song that I love, ‘so who’s going to watch you die?’
I couldn’t help but be entranced in deep thought as I listened to Ben Gibbard speak those words. The acoustics floated through the room, meeting the walls of my interior with more force than I expected.
It came to me in one long, weepy, flush of emotion - the sad realisation that humans are so invested in resource management, economics, chasing immortality & status, all the while avoiding emotions with depth, that they have voluntarily forfeited the importance of how they are born and how they die.
No connection, no reverence, no sacredness, no space to exist and no space to be remembered. Just inconvenience VS convenience, amenity as the focus of value in the experience and skewed perceptions of what it means to amplify the human experience by CHOOSING to give a f*ck about what our entrance and exit looks like - for the sake of our own minds/bodies/souls, but for the sake of human kind, culture, tradition, ancestry, the survival of compassion & empathy.
Let me ask you... Have you given some thought to who is going to watch your baby’s soul meet their body, the ways you birth and the ways you are reborn? Or how you are going to witness that for someone else?
Have you given some thought to who might be the company you keep at your dying breath? Which people and what energy might present, what eyes + hands + heart might hold space for you when the end of your physical days come to an end?
Now might be the time to consider that there is an infinite amount of celestial power, wisdom and wonder begging to be excavated at the tap - it is BURSTING. And the one thing stopping us from being powerful with purpose, is our stubbornness to move past the idea that life is simply about surviving, and that the only things worth investing in or understanding, are the ones we can rationalise or place value on.
So who’s going to watch me die? I’m not sure. But I KNOW that a lifetime of work being the woman to witness birth of all types, means that whoever is lucky enough to share my last bat of an eyelid with me, will be the one to cherish the sparkle in my eye and carry the quiet legacy of that bittersweet moment with them forever.
The Dynamo Doula is commissioned to bring the humanity back to the human experience - but how exactly can they successfully do this?
Easy. Take in the experience as if it were the world’s most famous artist letting you in to briefly see the world’s most famous piece of art - one that has never been seen by anyone else and one that will never be seen by anyone else.
By bringing a palpable sense of reverence to every grey scaled, messy, beautiful dance between the moments that exist between sex, birth and death.
Witnessing the unseen.
Celebrating the emotional + spiritual + mental context with a lens unique to your perspective.
Baptising the air with your tears - showing human emotion and modelling empathy and compassion.
Paying close attention to the energy transpiring, the milestone, the moment, the catalyst that this person has been slowly and achingly working towards for months and years - holding space at the finish line with a reliable enthusiasm and belief.
Celebrating how f*cking phenomenal that person is when the rest of their team is typically proclaiming, ‘it’s a girl!’ ‘it’s a boy!’ ‘aren’t you glad we were here to save you?’.
Facilitating the space for this person’s ‘death’ to take place, creating the ashtray in which the metaphorical phoenix will be reborn, charter the funeral party that will bridge your client into meeting the newest version of themselves.
Honouring the gifts that come with seeing the truth that manifests when all ‘masks’ slam to the ground and the most honest + vulnerable version of your client/s are exposed, and when the real face of this baby makes its entrance into the world and you are privy to that pure, untainted power before the world forces them to wear a mask.
Injecting warmth, humour, laughter, affection, eye contact and energy exchange, tears, sharing sadness.
Making the room, always, for the anticipated breakdown in order to create the space for the breakthrough.
Feminism cannot be anything but intersectional, inclusive and pro-choice. And if we are to target change and drastic improvement in maternal health, outcomes and experiences for birthing people worldwide - there is a necessity to strip this back to basics.
Bleed. Blossom. Sensuality. Bud. Birth
All of the above MUST be treated with the same effort and regard we are moving towards in Doula work - they can only succeed when interlinked, and no hypocrisy, duality or double standards dissuades the bigger picture.
If we cannot support a framework where by women, womxn (and those identifying as + non-binary people) are unequivocally held and kept safe - IRREGARDLESS of what decisions they choose to make with their bodies - nothing can change and nothing will change because this selective activism created segmented change that isn't sustainable.
If we cannot support women to have sex, earn money, work where they wish, love, laugh and take up space in the world in a way that seems them respected and revered - nothing will change.
If we continue to perpetuate the Madonna / Whore complex, if we continue to stigmatise the free woman, if we continue to label the most respectfully orchestrated of kink subculture as taboo - how will we ever move into a paradigm where the culture of consent and bodily autonomy is a non-negotiable aspect of our day to day?
If women, womxn (and those identifying as + non-binary people) are not supported to leave domestic violence, leaves employment that oppresses them, walk the streets safely without fear of being killed, work ethically and safely in the sex industry, to study what they wish, to have access to fully subsidised childcare so they might pursue abundance and purpose, to be supported and defended as they legally pursue their perpetrators and assailants...how in the actual world do we expect to improve the safety and health of our clients?
The decisions womxn make about their bodies, their babies - with the use of their voices to assert their choices, this is not something that can exist unless we support the same voice and choice when it exists and pleads for help. The paradigm that eradicates black maternal mortality, trauma rife beyond comprehension, hospital inner-workplace bullying, midwifery burnout rates WILL be a paradigm unexplored and unexperienced ANY WHERE in written history.
This KNOWING precedes us and we must return there.
My logic is that...
When I can express myself without fear...
When I can have sex without fear...
When I can laugh without fear...
When I can confidently seek out health care, without shame or prejudice...
When I don't need to shrug, shroud, slug or self-deprecate as a means to make others around me feel bigger at the expense of me feeling smaller...
When I don't need to barter, bargain, negotiate the care that holds my baby & I hostage...
When I don't need to have conversations on why circumcision is barbaric, that we don't associate virginity with value and hymens with integrity, on why sex workers need our help to stay safe, on why the systemic oppression at the hands of the patriarchy and misogyny is a GIGANTIC issue that requires even more GARGANTUAN dismantling, why the systemic lobotomising of wombs + mothers is a direct attack societal health, why social media is the platform and megaphone that we've been waiting 9000 years for but the point gets wasted, on why the current baseline expectation of birth and introduction to parenthood is NOT life...
we can bring all of these values to the birth space.
The perspective I would like for you to adopt today is this one, Dynamo Doulas.
YOU ARE the medium, the time traveller, the space explorer, the clairvoyant, the clairesentient, the fierce protector, the elder, the ancestor, the ghost of every woman who has come before you and every woman who you will come after you, the viking, the voodoo priestess, the angel, the archangel, the devil, God, Goddess, all seeing - you are it all.
Do you believe it, though? Because that is the prerequisite.
This work requires you to be as cataclysmic and you are enigmatic - are you willing to break down every limiting belief you have to make way for unadulterated and unbelievably powerful humility?
Darlings, If you are to TRULY implement a lens that serves each major catalyst moment you will move through, at the side and support of your clients, you must jump through fire yourself.
Call me Professor X. Fuck it - call me Professor XXX. I am not here to tell you that you are powerful. I am here to guide you, love you, see you and give you a safe space to explore your unique gifts, talents, passions, power and rage. More importantly, I want to help you cultivate the confidence to harness the powers you are censoring + stifling. You may have been bullied, felt crazy in your own mind, felt cast out, felt judged, have spent so much time hiding your beliefs and values - you've spent a lifetime turning down the lights.
You cannot guide others through the thresholds of life, death and rebirth if you do not first know yourself.
Love and compassion are the gateway to type of evolution and paradigm shift we're all working towards. For this to happen, fear, negativity, anxiety and guilt has to be overcome in some monumental ways and assertive decision making.
In what world do you deem it appropriate to be the sherpa of such thresholds, when you have more experience avoiding the inner work + indulging every ounce of self-sabotage, than mastering every light + shadow living in your body + mind + soul?
Let’s start with this....what does it mean to be and feel POWERFUL?
To be in your body, to feel safe, to feel cellularly aligned, to be free, to flex your fuck- no muscle without so much as a cinch of guilt, to be guided by intuition, to trust your inner knowing, to feel in flow, to be buzzing at your highest frequency and magnetising the most delicious and impactful soul food into your life - these are but a few days to describe personal power.
When it comes to feeling powerless, there is nothing to be desired. Being underestimated, living as the martyr, being swamped in a monotone existence, being misunderstood, knowing the thing/s feels gross and or misaligned but you doing them anyway, juggling the moral qualms of your interior, comprising your boundaries - the list is extensive.
The distinction between feeling powerful and feeling powerless COMES EXCLUSIVELY WITH THE UNDERSTANDING that one is born from the self-fulfilling prophecy + victim brain wave, and the other flourishes in unwavering self-belief and radical self- love.
There is no such thing as semi-empowered. It is either a HELL YES I am vibing in my full power, or HELL NO I am compromising and therefore anything more from it is a compromise.
Being + feeling powerless comes from putting all your faith, all your hope and all your eggs in one basket - relying on the outer journey, buying all the things, hiring all the people, trusting everyone you believe is better or more than you, and then feeling incredibly disappointed and disheartened when nothing works out the way you envisioned. No one can ever do the work for you, so in fact, operating from this place is powerless in its true form.
Joseph Campbell is one author, visionary, poet, writer I cannot recommend you pour yourself into quick enough. I have been losing myself within his ELABORATE explanation of the ways myth and purpose connects us all, the roots of our nomadic roots and the ways departing, death and rebirth resurge the hero in each of us. He defines hero as,
"A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself."
So many of us have little intuition to where our joy is - as he says, only you can learn how to recognise (and therefore swim) in the depths of your own bliss. If you find your bliss, you realise that it is the track you should have been on all along...the track that has been waiting for YOU all along. He describes invisible hands, serendipity, synchronicity, faith...all the things that bring you to living your purpose in a way that feels almost ethereal. All of this by thew way, strictly coming from following your joy, your bliss and being energised by the thing that give you life.
Going where your body and soul want to go - this is the instruction manual, this is the answer, this is the place where vitality and health and joy play.
'I have never done a thing I have wanted to do in my entire life.' ---- The motto of the man who did not follow his bliss. Please go and watch this video from Joseph on the matter.
He also says, 'My yoga is underlying sentences.' God, I love him.
What good is life is you haven't done the thing in which you wanted to do?
So as your mentor and teacher, believe me when I insist, you make following your bliss - HIGH PRIORITY.
When you explore the things that light you up, when you pay attention to the places and people you're naturally drawn to, when you shed light on the sadness & heaviness in your life and where the root of that is, you will (and you WILL) become acutely aware to the direction in which bliss presides, and the direction in which takes you further away from pursuing your bliss.
So many of us avoid pursuing our bliss, for a multitude of reasons, but I am begging you today, to understand that while Doulas harp on about ecstatic and joyful birth, about mothers and people fulfilling a 'PURPOSE' of parenthood or birth, even striving for the gold standard 'blissful birth', YOU MUST FIRST MAKE LOVE TO YOUR OWN BLISS.
Find it, meet it, invite it, honour it - what action could you take to move closer towards it? And how will doing so, affect the ways you help those you work with to find theirs, too?
So where did Doulas come from?
“Greeks used slaves or bonds-women to wet nurse and care for infants. The term later referred to women who helped new mothers with domestic tasks.” (Cassidy, 2006, p. 195.)
Dana Raphael first brought the word ‘Doula’ onto the scene in 1969in her book ‘The Tender Gift Of Breastfeeding’. She described Doulas as one of more individuals (most often cis-females), who provide psychological encouragement and physical assistance to the newly delivered mother. (Kennell & Klaus, 2012, p4).
Kennell and Klaus came across the phenomenon of Doulas by pure accident. They were conducting research in Guatemala but had to ask a female medical student to ask the women for permission to be part of the study. When the medical student entered the room, she felt compelled to stay and support the labouring women. The rooms were set up so that labouring women (up to 10) would labour unattended, and then be moved to a ‘delivery room’. The result of this female support of the labouring women was very unexpected:
“Three of them delivered in bed and three had milk spurting from their breasts from a surge in oxytocin, the ‘love’ hormone that also causes the uterus to contract… [they] couldn’t make sense of the phenomenon. We said “are the women getting something out of Wendy?”
“Indeed, the student had fouled up their research by remaining with the women after collecting their signatures. Not knowing she shouldn't linger in the labour room, she felt compelled, as a fellow female, to stay, and to soothe and reassure them.”
After Kennell and Klaus witnessed the significant difference that the female medical student made to the birthing outcomes in their study, they decided to look further. They were unsure what to call someone without medical knowledge, someone who was a female support but not a midwife. This is when they heard the term “Doula” being used in the Middle East, particularly in Egypt, and read Dana Raphael’s book ‘The Tender Gift: Breastfeeding’ where the term was used in the same way that they were referring.
Kennell and Klaus went on to do the first real study into Doulas and the benefits of this non-medical female support. They were looking at how having support during labour affected the mother-child relationship right after birth. They anticipated having around twenty vaginal births in the Doula group, and around twenty births in the non-Doula group to try to accurately compare the post-birth outcomes. However, what they experienced was far more complication, and significantly higher cesarean section rates in the non-Doula group. In order to make an accurate and statistically significant conclusion they needed to be able to have similar birthing experiences so they were required to observe 103 non-Doula births (compared to 33 Doula supported births) before they reached the twenty vaginal births to compare outcomes without variables other than the Doula.
In 1975 American doctors John H. Kennell and Marshall H. Klaus took the term and created the first Doula training. Dr. Klaus and his wife, Phyllis Klaus, were among the founders of DONA International.
Kennell and Klaus went on to develop the bonding theory, and started important conversations about the ‘sensitive period’ after birth.
This is not to insult the PEOPLE in these roles with one broad brush stroke, it is to challenge the general nature and spectrum of these roles. They exist to serve on the basis of economics and productivity - not on the investment of what the future looks like for humanity.
Kennell & Klaus may have had the right intentions in what their work was about, but it is worth mentioning this…
Their findings prompted many hospitals to allow and even encourage parents to have more contact with normal and premature babies immediately after they are born, rather than isolating infants in nurseries and incubators, and to focus more on the mother’s care and comfort. Hospitals began to give new mothers more private time with their infants, allow fathers into the delivery room and let young children visit their baby siblings in the hospital. “We are bringing back an essential ingredient of birth,” Dr. Klaus told The New York Times in 1993. “This is humanizing maternal care.” (New York Times 2017)
If Kennell & Klaus implied bringing humanity back to birth, what are they implying it was before? And if we dehumanized birth, who was responsible for this? Lastly, was there notice of the ‘phenomenon of Doulas in birth’ simply a witness to the contrast of the sterile, dehumanised version in their line of work?
As fascinating as a little history looks, let’s look at this from a few angles…
- ‘the phenomenon of Doulas’ that two male researchers fell on while observing how humans act & react in a setting such as the one they were partaking in, was no phenomenon at all. It was an insight into ‘tend & befriend’, the critical need of connection before rescue, the simple ‘out of this world’ value is just being with someone who sees you vs studies you vs searches for ways to save you.
- while Kennell & Klaus seemed like good people in text, they actually chastised an 18 year old woman who defiled their original instructions, stole her findings, and did research on the backs of Indigineous Guatemelan women
- DONA was built on the collective findings of both Kennell and Klaus, plus other founding members like Penny Simkin. By default, this makes this Doula school more in line with studies, statistics, observations and evidence based approaches that ‘support the good work of Doulas’ by substantiating our worth in statistics & numbers, than actually challenging birth culture.
- there are generations of Doulas who spend 5+ years of their on and off careers (hobby jobs) still using the stats from that original Kennell & Klaus study as ‘proof’ Doulas matter.
'Childbirth is a moment of heightened risk and it is a moment of epiphany. And yet maternity care cannot accommodate these two moments at once.
' It feels nauseating to me that society needs proof that continuous emotional, physical, mental, spiritual support during a moment of peak challenge as they mitigate some of the most vulnerable, lonely, confusing and cataclysmic moments of their life, begets the question ‘how phenomenal that kinship in chaos might be productive and profound!’
At some point down the line, we traded human connection and support as the byproduct of being with those we love and trust, with medical-support with no connection to us other than keeping us alive.
We currently live in a world where humans are losing ability to connect to themselves and to others - if you want to be heard, speak or be seen, hire a therapist. If you want to have a baby, hire a mechanic in birth - what the automechanic is to cars, the obstetrician is to babies. There is always a service provider referred on to you to do the work for you or have the answers you’re seeking.
If you are an aspiring Doula, let me ask you...what Doulas do you know and respect? Why do you respect them? In what ways do they influence you? Do you know any successful Doulas? How could you confirm they were successful? How would you define ‘successful’? What do you want to be ‘known’ for? How would you like to be perceived?
You are already all Doulas in your own right - I don’t need to teach you how to Doula...I just need to take you back home to your instinct, intuition and conviction. From here, your Doula voice can come out to play. Furthermore, Doula work is soul work. You cannot learn this. It chooses you. So you are a Doula or you aren't - it is that simple.
To be a Doula does not require having attended 1000 births, supported 1000 clients, worked 1000 hours in the intrapartum fields, have 1000 references, or obtain 1000 additional certifications or skills.
There are typically two clusters of people who want to be a Doula;
1) folks who complete a training program and assume this is enough to call themselves worthy of carrying safe, inspiring and effective space.
2) folks who complete a training program and seek out a lifetime's worth of additional training in a bid to somehow feel confident (all the whilst avoiding the inner work that would actually help them feel confident).
A large portion of qualified and graduated Doulas are of the 'damage control' degree. The damage control Doula is the kind who is more about band-aid and crisis control approaches. They aren't intentionally malicious. Often, they're simply operating from a place of unawareness or from what they've been taught or shown. They are usually using a 'bare minimum' model which is 'delivery based'. You will learn more about this later, but basically this means that they sell a package, deliver on that package as it looks on paper, and off they go. For example, they will say they're delivering three 2 hour meetings, and consider their work complete should they do nothing but this. When not nearly enough excavating, discussing, prempting and planning happens during the course of their preliminary interactions, said Doula has to usually revert to damage control once things change.
I have an astoundingly deep respect for what Doulas are, and where their potential truly lies. It is the belief in this that keeps me working towards a Doula training program of a calibre that I can pass down to your children and the young people you care about - as a legacy learning experience.
It would be naive to believe that the only thing that the Doula should be focusing on when supporting any which individual, through any major defining moment or catalyst, is the physiological process taking part at that given moment in time. Whether it is birth being measured in cm or hours, or death being being measured in last breaths and the pulse of one heart beat - there is so much more than meets the eye, and it is what the Doula sees in the unseen where their greatest gifts and abilities shine. The ‘hidden in plain sight’ is where the Dynamo Doula makes some serious fucking magic happen.
If I were to ask you what meets the eye, what would you tell me you see? Usually, it is what looks obvious and in direct line of sight. Conversations, colours, sign posts, symptoms, loud noises - anything that requires little to not effort to get your attention. Basically anyone with minimal training on ‘what to look for’ can get by…on the bare minimum.
Whatever the eyes and brain take in on the ‘bare minimum’ range, leads to the level of support and attention the Doula might feel prompted to provide, based on what she/they register.
Can you think of some of the a-typical signposts Doulas are told to look out for in….
• labour & birth
• fertility and/or infertility
The best analogy that I can provide here is learning how to drive. You can read the textbook, hire a teacher for some lessons, hear the theory, do the tests - but there is a huge level of instinct and intuition that comes with the skill level of a driver. Not in experience that is tallied up for the sake of ego, not in the amount of cars driven, but experience in backing your own eye and gut feeling is paramount.
Now imagine if you moved past what meets the eye into the unseen. This can feel a little out of the box for some people, so I would encourage you to start with the peripheries. First exploring beyond the circle we are accustomed, too. From here, play with your senses. I rely so heavily on every one my senses to hold the space and carry the ‘thread of feeling’.
These senses include sight, sound, hearing, tasting, touch and most of all - SIXTH SENSE. I put this in caps locks because this is the place where intuition and instinct kick in with full force. Denying and discrediting the sixth sense deters from your ability to see the whole picture.
In the birth space for example, the Dynamo Doula’s point of difference is that while the whole room is paying attention to ‘vitals’ represented by breathe, oxygen, heart rate and so on. Hawk Eye is the perspective that looks into the layers underneath the skin and between every muscle, the perspective that peels away any pretence and asks, ‘What does this person’s soul need, right now at this very second?’
What is happening, what am I hearing and what I am seeing in conversations that don’t involve me and/or aren’t immediately obvious to me?
When you cultivate a practice of paying attention with your instinct & intuition, you will notice other senses become acutely aware of things, too. Not just amplified hearing, but also noticing the impact of words for example, or how the tone in someone’s voice can actually predict what interactions will look like or what the outcome will be.
Notice the temperature of the space, how their pupils react to lighting or how their body pulls away from brightness or leans into the darkest spaces, how they might be carrying tension in their foreheads and whispering ’no no no’ every time a contraction is easing its way to a start. Notice the energy of everyone else in the room - what does it feel like? Why? Have they eaten? Are they tired? Are they projecting energy that compromises the birthing person? Or the person grieving? Notice how the body moves with joy and pleasure, and notice when they body is begging for help in quiet cues before it reaches the part where it spins out of control. Notice how the disposition of your client changes depending on who is in the space. Notice when your gut talks to you. Notice every square inch of the space, even the kind of space you’re assessing over the phone.
THIS is the Hawk eye.
The 5 P’s
can be applied at any time, anywhere
the insights can (and will) change moment to moment
always consider the Hawke Eye when gathering the information you need
I literally use the 5 Ps constantly. They play on repeat in my brain. They are the every possible move of the chessboard, the every expressed potential or problem of any moment or scenario, and they are bloody integral to the ways I extract information and think ahead. The 5 Ps are just as much about avoiding damage control as they are about being a ninja and getting the information you need to execute Hawke Eye.
Position - positioning your client based on their psychosocial location, environment, history, needs, fears, relationships, etc.
Prompt - asking the right questions to get the right answers
Preempt - the art of anticipating based on the information you are extracting and receiving
Plant Seeds - laying down the right information, clues and did bits into fertile soil
Plan - create the appropriate plan/s based on the above
I call this active Doula'ing (a play on words to active listening).
Take the below examples - what would you do to assess and take action, using the 5 Ps?
• Rebecca is 39 weeks pregnant. They call to tell you they think they have peed their pants.
• Jackie is 37 weeks pregnant. They call you in tears, proclaiming defeat after an appointment with their obstetrician.
• Mary is 42 weeks pregnant. They call to tell you they are in labour and their midwife will no longer support them.
Doulas & Rape Culture
*TW Rape Culture
Why is a doctor or a midwife who orders a woman or birthing person to ‘lay on the bed, open your legs, hold still’ with manipulative coercion & abuse of power, NOT considered rape when that is RAPE? Assault, violence and abuse in reproductive health & birth is SEXUAL ASSAULT in a clinical setting - the kind we have NORMALISED.
Worse yet...THE KIND WE PAY FOR. With our lives and with our wallets.
Rape culture and violence towards women will NOT stop UNTIL sex & birth are brought back to a sacred state of affairs where the person with power is the person actively participating in said event. How can we work towards eliminating domestic violence and the fear of being murdered on our way home from a night out, if we can’t be safe in hospitals under the CARE of professionals with enough authority to kill us or destroy our soul WITHOUT SO MUCH AS AN EYELID BEING BATTED?
Consent isn’t consent unless you can take back your YES & promptly assert a NO without consequence. TRUE CHOICE IN CHILDBIRTH DOES NOT EXIST UNLESS THE PERSON MAKING DECISIONS is not bullied, threatened, submitted to a power struggle they didn’t sign up for, knows EVERYTHING before they decide on anything, and can ask ALL THE QUESTIONS they like AND change said decision at ANY MOMENT. 👉🏻
Trouble is, that doesn’t exist. Trouble is, WE - the consumers - accept this on a daily basis and don’t complain because 1) we’re traumatised and have to compartmentalise to move forward 2) lodging a complaint would cause immense and prolonged distress in a period of deep vulnerability 3) no one believes the victim and everyone believes the perpetrators (system) 4) our professional perpetrators believe they’re saving us because feeding themselves lies is the only way they survive empathy deficits caused by a sick system making sick demands 5) racism, sexism, patriarchy, misogyny, arrogance and NO WILLINGNESS to want better 6) ‘if it doesn’t concern me, I don’t care’ despite the fact this normalisation of rape that poisons mother (birthing parent), baby and family unit is destroying our collective sense of self and confidence.
What do you think our babies learn when they’re BORN into this?🤯That they are not safe in this world. That they are in danger. That they cannot trust people. That their birth parent/s are not fit to protect them. That bodily autonomy is not a concept that exists. That touching other people’s bodies even when they say NO….is OKAY.
If we as Doulas help to dismantle this culture in our work - we CAN dismantle it in the world.
Is is postpartum psychosis or is our body responding to not being cared for?
What you need to remember - the system fails us, then calls us ‘crazy’ or ‘unstable’ when we break.
can be applied at any time, anywhere and in any scenario where you are responsible for the care or recovery of a client
the F’s work to compliment truly holistic care from the Dynamo Angle
The F’s are not meant to replace medical care or diagnosis, but they are absolutely an incredible place to start when seeking out the best approach in empowering your clients to take action from a place of confidence VS a place of broken hopelessness
you can use the F’s for any kind of funk you want to get out of!
Take special notice how the ‘symptoms’ and ‘signs’ of postpartum depression, psychosis and other ‘mood disorders are the exact same as the below - imagine what a difference you can make from going through this list?
Flex the Fuck NO Muscle
Friendship & Connection
What happens when we work are grossly under supported? Chronic fatigue, headache, dizziness, sore or aching muscles, muscle weakness, slowed reflexes and responses, impaired decision making and judgement, moodiness, irritability, appetite, loss, reduced immune system function, blurry vision, short term memory problems, poor concentration, hallucination, no motivation, suicidal thoughts, harmful thoughts, anxiety, inability to breastfeed, inability to bond or care for our children, and so on.
- So are we crazy, or are our most basic needs being met? And is our vulnerability being gaslighted?