My inspiration to be part of BirthWorks started with my childbirth educator workshop in 2005 and the amazing mentoring afterward to support my BirthWorks-certification. At that time in my life, I was earning a Masters degree, but honestly felt I did more work for BirthWorks certification, and work that was more valuable! The depth of evidence-based support for BirthWorks childbirth education approach, in addition to the deep personal work, which asked me to consider my knowledge, motivation and strengths and then taught me to humbly step back and trust — the power of birth, of my clients and of life — was so useful. I was exceptionally proud to finish my BirthWorks exam, after all the amazing knowledge and insight from the very large BirthWorks Childbirth Educator manual soaked in!
Given the option years later to cross-certify as both a BirthWorks Birth Doula and a BirthWorks Postpartum Doula felt like an obvious next step and felt right. I did not need another certification — I earned doula certification long ago through another organization [at that time BirthWorks doula programs were not yet launched]. I knew there was something valuable to gain for myself - professionally and personally, and thought it would be easy to cross-certify with BirthWorks.
I was also hoping for a bit of the magical BirthWorks inspiration that I experienced in the past, and seemed to be missing for me in my career and life at times since. Going through BirthWorks cross-certification programs, I have been happily surprised by the additional depth and breadth of knowledge and tools I gained. I understand more and more, going through step-by-step, the value of BirthWorks programs. They empower me… to be myself, trust myself and serve in the best way possible…. by deeply listening to clients’ or others’ needs, encouraging women to birth where they feel safest, helping them to work through emotions, past grief at times, and hopes for their pregnancies, labor choices, birth outcomes, so they can easeful bond, breastfeed and embody being the most peaceful, aware parents as possible.
BirthWorks training and mentoring is always is built on the “outer work” like other birth training organizations - evidence-based research that we read, write and reflect on, to understand the labor/birth process and how to best support the time after birth. AND…the unique distinction of BirthWorks is the “inner work” needed to complete our programs…. As a BirthWorks student we go within to clarify our own views, emotions, belief systems and often find ourselves learning and growing deeply from what we find. BirthWorks connects you to your own inner knowing and inner strength, not just as a birth worker but as a person.
Today, in conversation with one of BirthWorks Birth Doula students, she said that all evidence/information parents and professionals want is available to them easily on the internet, any time they want it… but that what we learn in BirthWorks is invaluable! We discussed that the uniqueness of BirthWorks is empowering parents and mothers-to-be to listen deeply to their own needs. As BirthWorks professionals, we learn to do this in a unique way… one that allows us a pause, an “opportunity to marvel at the power and beauty of a woman in labor” and gives us the humble awareness to mindfully tune in to our whole beings as we approach our lives and our work
When we, as birth workers, stand witness to mothers, to babies, to births, we often experience that being in the space of love, truth, peace, right action and non-violence leads to the best birth outcomes, happiest mothers and healthiest babies. In BirthWorks, we deeply understand that the universal truth is that women already know how to give birth, and as BirthWork professionals, we embody the qualities and values that allow parents to connect to this depth of knowing within themselves. I am grateful to cross-certify as a Doula, because I feel I am better both as a person and as a professional having experienced again a deeper understanding of why BirthWorks.
* If you are a birth professional, who is interested in cross-certifying in BirthWorks International programs, please reach us: firstname.lastname@example.org. A lot of your prior training work and professional work since is likely to count toward your BirthWorks certification.
By Cristin Tighe