Can you tell us what this is all about?
Momdoulary Method is a training and certification program designed to prepare graduates to work with new and expectant families as they make one of the most significant transitions of their lives. Our certified professionals work with them through the pre-natal period, can attend their birth providing labor support, which can dramatically reduce the level of interventions, rate of c-section, need for medications, and likelihood of vacuum or forceps extraction. They are also prepared to help families master newborn care, while also helping them explore their lifestyle, goals, and even the physical environment they live in, to address any needs that may help them more successfully make this transition.
Why are you so passionate about Doulary?
It isn’t so much about doula work, Robert, as it is about the whole picture: helping new and expectant parents navigate the big learning curve of the birth year and beyond, or which doula support is one portion. We actually train our professionals for 6 areas of certification so they are prepared to help people through all aspects of their journey. Each professional Must master all six areas in order to qualify.
The transition into parenthood today is unlike that of any other time in history. We have modern technology to support us physically – often a blessing, but also, at times abused and overused. We have an endless array of options and choices, about pre-natal care, childbirth, and parenting methodology. Families today suffer the pressure that accompanies the information avalanche that results from modern technology. Additionally, living in a world where we are pressured to ‘‘keep up with the Joneses” as we ‘‘seek the one right answer’’ there is a sense of constantly being judged. It makes what were once simple choices very complicated. We train our professionals to help parents learn to cut through the noise, and asses all of their choices – about prenatal options, labor choices, and parenting approaches – so that they can best discern what makes the most sense for their family. This helps them create a stronger, more positive foundation from which to parent. More confident parents tend to create stronger connections with the community.
We find that the benefits spread outward, and downline, when families are given proper support. So I see this as the opportunity to help create dramatic change in the world at large, one woman and one family at a time. Our graduates are able to be out there in the world, impacting positive change through the many small actions they take with their clients. We have witnessed first hand that tremendous changes don’t always happen from places of protest, but too from gentle whispers over a cup of tea, woman to woman, as they share their experiences and their successes, triumphing in one another’s joy, and supporting one another through times of sorrow. It is in harnessing this power that we see tremendous change happening.
What sets you apart from others in your industry?
I think it would be our comprehensive approach. Others tend to be only about one thing: being a birth doula, or a postpartum doula, or perhaps a parent coach. We look at this holistically, creating a net of support throughout. Too, we approach things from a coaching model: Never do we put our own agenda on someone, or tell them which choices to make. Rather, we guide them through a self-assessment, and through the steps of developing an action plan, then we support them as they implement it. A lot of others in the industry have almost, well, for lack of a better word, dogmatic beliefs about ,for example, birth. We do not. We see each woman and each of their circumstances as unique, and feel there is no cookie cutter one-size-fits-all answer. How could there be, given the rich tapestry of human circumstance and potentiality? To think that one could ever begin to tell someone else what is right for them just feels too arrogant to me. Which is why the core of our program IS a coaching model, focusing on education and information, followed by support through the assessment process. However, at the end of the day we believe only the individual can know what truly fits their family best. So in focusing on that – making sure people know and understand their options, supporting them, free of personal agenda, and being by there side as they execute their plans – that seems to set us apart significantly from others in the industry, who seem more often than not intent on delivering service from a different philosophy. Which is ok by us – people will seek the support they need. Different people need and want different things. That options to choose exist is a gift for all.
We are very committed to quality. I believe we are the only ones in the industry with pre-qualifying admissions, as opposed to open admission policy. Too, we have stringent requirements such as passing a complex 6 hour Board Exam, completing other training such as blood-borne pathogens, food handler safety, infant and adult CPR and first aid and safety, body mechanics safety, and so on. We believe this also puts us in a position to seek other avenues. At this time we are exploring the path of accreditation, with the hope that a few years from now our graduates will be able to attain CEUs and even potentially university credits for this training. It is in the future, but if it comes to pass, there is a strong likelihood that students could be grandfathered in. This is an exciting opportunity, and we are looking forward to seeing where it will go.
What have you learned from all of the interviews you’ve done on www.theliberationartist.com?
Oh, where to even begin? I’ve deeply enjoyed these interviews, as they are with people I deeply admire, who reflect the Liberation Artist traits I so deeply respect. The majority of them are people I have known for quite awhile, and some of them I know quite well. Yet, categorically, I discovered new insights and depths within each. I suppose the biggest thing I learned was how varied the backgrounds were of the given individuals. I suspect I was subconsciously looking for a pattern, a trend, as to where the tendencies toward such strength in ownership of individuality took root, yet I have, so far, seen no pattern. What I do see, in every instance, is a deep sense of commitment to core values – whatever those may be. The values themselves vary from individual to individual, however the one constant is the core value of being true to oneself, and honoring one’s own being, and living in integrity to self. Truly, the interviews have been such a gift – what remarkable people have allowed me to get a glimpse inside their minds. I am truly honored by it, and feel so fortunate to have had such an opportunity.
What’s next for you?
This fall we are launching a publishing imprint at Momdoulary, through which we have a number of titles due to come out, for both doulas and for expectant and new families – we are really excited about this! Additionally, we are launching a new, more advanced certification. There is also a series of over 100 “whiteboard video” presentations currently in the work, about half of them designed for use in training our students, the other half becoming tools graduates can use with their clients. These are a lot of fun to work on, but also a serious exercise in distillation and clarification of ideas, in order to deliver them in short, direct, and largely visual ways. It has been an interesting experience, working on these, to say the least.
Aside from the Momdoulary projects, this year will also see the release of a book tied to my “Liberation Artist” work, called “Rejecting the Cult of Brokenness,” which focuses on how addicted we have become to this idea we are broken, how that has impacted us, and how to move beyond the negative results.