Friday, January 21, 2011

My Coming Year: Doula Training

It used to be that when a woman got pregnant and had her baby, the "women of the village" would come and help her work through this change in life. Young women would go with their mothers, watch and learn, and then when it was their time, other women would come help them. Unfortunately, now people don't know what to do with a baby. That's where a doula comes in. They are essentially non-medical support for women during the pregnancy and postpartum period. They aren't midwives or doctors, but work with those professionals to assist the woman in her day-to-day life. Some women have a postpartum doula for a couple hours, just to answer a few questions. Some women, especially those with twins or triplets, may need more time adjusting and can have 24-hour doula support for weeks (the doulas rotate shifts).

My training was done by Rosemary Mason, who is such a sweet, energetic woman. You can tell she loves what she does and has buckets of experience behind her. There were four women in the class with me, one of whom was a birth doula already. The format was relaxed but very educational, and though I don't plan on advertising postpartum doula services (though I can certainly offer them on occasion), the material is incredibly useful for a pregnancy massage therapist to know.

The next step is my massage therapy certification. Last summer, I looked into some schools in the Houston area, and about a week ago made my final decision. Unless something unforeseeable changes, I will be studying, starting April, at the Texas School of Massage Main Campus. It means a lot of driving (if anyone knows Houston, picture Katy to Clear Lake...during rush hour... twice a day) but I do love driving. After that is some sort of pregnancy massage program. They are a little harder to get into, because of the recent increased interest, but most consist of prenatal, postnatal and labor massage classes, as well as certification to teach infant massage. There is one in Houston that includes an internship, as well as several around the country.

Like I said last time, I have really enjoyed my time here at university, but I am so very much looking forward to studying what I actually want to do.

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