By Sharon Muza, BS, CD(DONA), BDT(DONA), LCCE, FACCE, CLE
There are many reasons that I am proud to be a DONA certified doula. DONA’s history, the vision of the five founders, our organization’s mission and vision, and the longevity and adaptability of the organization are just a few of the many reasons that I am glad to support DONA International. I also know that I have the support of DONA standing behind me as a member and certified doula with DONA International.
Recently, DONA International certified their 13,000th doula! What an accomplishment for the doula and the organization. I wanted to learn more about Johanna Mayfield who is continuing the tradition of serving families. I also spoke to her doula trainer, Rae Davies and Susan Young who reviewed her certification packet. There is a lot to celebrate as DONA International welcomes their 13,000th certified doula into the DONA International family.
Meet Johanna Mayfield, CD(DONA)
Johanna Mayfield: It just sort of happened. A friend of mine went into labor and wanted me there. After she had delivered, I realized how much I enjoyed supporting her during that time. So I just decided to jump right in!
SM: Tell us briefly about yourself?
JM: I’m a mom of two wild boys, and married to a sailor. I’m a La Leche League Leader and have been staying home since I had my children.
SM: How did you decide to train with DONA International? When did you train?
JM: I trained through a DONA workshop with Rae Davies in the spring of 2018. I decided to go through DONA International because the doula I had with the birth of my second son was trained through them, and I knew I would be receiving the most heartfelt training available.
SM: What was a big takeaway from your training with Rae Davies?
JM: When we’re supporting a family, we need to let go of our ideas of what their birth should look like. It is not MY birth. It’s THEIR birth. So if that client wants the exact opposite of what I would want, that’s okay. Our role isn’t to give them our idea of a perfect birth.
SM: How many births have you attended at this point?
JM: I have attended five births.
SM: Is working as a doula going the way you thought?
JM: Yes, and no. Yes, because the passion I have for being a doula has kept me fueled and no, because I did not realize it’s not just what I bring to a birth, but that each birth is a new learning experience. Every family needs something different and I walk out at the end having been humbled and taught that while some things are the same, I need to be open to those new experiences.
SM: What has been your proudest moment to date as a doula?
JM: My first client who gave birth by cesarean section did not have the birth she wanted. When I left her birth, I felt as though I had let her down. She came back to me later to thank me, and let me know that I was the one who helped her through that change in plans and being okay with what had happened. That’s when I truly realized what my role as a doula is.
SM: Have there been any hiccups or unexpected challenges
JM: Having two young boys has made building my business incredibly difficult. I can’t take clients often due to a lack of reliable childcare. However, this really allows me to have a very close connection and ample time for the clients that I do take on.
SM: Tips for new doulas getting ready to start?
JM: Make sure your heart is in it. It’s not about your physical actions, but your heart. You have to really love supporting families through difficult times.
SM: What are some goals you have for your future professional work?
JM: Currently I’m training to be a baby loss doula. I’m not sure exactly what I want to do in the future, but midwifery may be in the picture once my babies are older.
Note: You can reach Johanna here.
Meet Trainer Rae Davies, BSH, LCCE, BDT(DONA), AdvCD(DONA)
Rae Davies: I have been attending births since 1969. I have been training doulas since 1996 and I have trained around 3,000 doulas through my company, The Birth Company.
SM: What stood out about Johanna during the training?
RD: As a LaLeche League Leader, Johanna is passionate about breastfeeding – consequently she is very committed to providing support for birthing families. Johanna has a very gentle spirit, and she is very caring.
SM: What is the most challenging thing about being a birth doula trainer?
SM: What do you like most about being a birth doula trainer?
RD: Everything! Specifically, meeting the passionate doulas, learning from them, and enjoying the networking and connections that come out of each training.
Meet Certification Packet Reviewer Susan Young, CD/PCD(DONA), LMT, ICCE
Susan Young: I began reviewing birth doula certification packets in November 2017. I believe I’ve reviewed about 75-80 since then.
SM: What is it like to telephone a newly certified doula up and tell them that they have just received their certification?
SY: I really enjoy making those calls. That phone call represents the end of a really long process that the doula has invested heart, soul and countless hours into. Often times it has taken a year or more to complete every step in the process, so I encourage them to celebrate!
SM: What have been some of their responses?
SY: Joy! Happiness! Relief!. One doula told me that she was dancing a happy dance when she listened to my voicemail and called me back. It’s a lot of fun.
SM: How long does it take to go through the average packet?
SY: Most packets are well organized and complete- those take me about 1-2 hours including the various email notifications. Even when I need to contact the doula to ask for additional information, it’s a pretty tidy process.
SM: Why did you decide to become a certification packet reviewer?
SY: I became a packet reviewer because it’s a way that I could volunteer my time to make a positive impact, right from the comfort of my laptop. It’s easy to fit into my workload.
SM: What do you like about reviewing certification packets?
SY: The thing I have come to enjoy the most about reviewing birth doula packets is reading the birth stories. It’s great to hear how doulas are working with their clients. I get the feeling I’ve been to hundreds of births!
You can learn more about Susan on her website. Are you interested in becoming a DONA International certified doula? Finding a doula workshop to attend? Check out the DONA International “Become a Doula” page to get started. Congratulations again to Johanna Mayfield – DONA International’s 13,000th certified doula! Job well done!