By Sharon Muza, BS, CD(DONA), BDT(DONA), LCCE, FACCE, CLE
DONA International is truly an international organization in every way. Our membership is over 5,000 members strong and represents more than 56 countries around the world. Our birth and postpartum trainers travel to many countries to train and collaborate with doulas and birth professionals. DONA also invites people from many countries to become doula trainers so that trainings can be offered wherever and whenever someone wants one on a global level.
To celebrate the international flavor that makes DONA a rich and diverse organization, I am starting an exciting new series about doula work with birth and postpartum experiences around the world. In order to do this series justice, I would love to have doulas who practice internationally connect with me. Together we can collaborate on individual experiences and share them on the blog. To submit your interest in participating, please fill out the form below.
I am fascinated with how things may be both similar and different for families and doulas globally. I very much enjoy exploring this topic and would like to share some of my favorite resources on this topic.
Babies – The Movie offers a peek into the birth and early parenting experiences in four places around the world. The photography is beautiful and somehow, without a single word in the entire film, this piece conveys the richness of each family’s experience. While the film is only 30 minutes long, it offers great insight into the uniqueness of local customs and values.
A World of Babies: Imagined Childcare Guides for Eight Societies is a great book. The authors examine birth and parenting customs from eight places and points of time/history. The guide is written as if for people becoming parents at that time and place. There are chuckles and fascinating insight into how things are (or were) done.
One of my favorite books ever on the topic of babies is this “oldie but goodie” from Meredith Small, a medical anthropologist. Our Babies, Ourselves does a great job explaining infant behavior and parenting responses in families on a global level. I first read this many years ago and occasionally re-read it from time to time because it offers great insight into why babies do what they do!
So here is the ask: If you are doula practicing outside of the United States, would you mind filling out this form with some information about yourself and your practice? I will reach out to you and discuss a potential future blog post to be included in this new series. I would love to hear from as many international doulas as possible so please pass the request on to anyone you know. Thank you.
I am not a doula serving in other countries but I am a certified doula interested in serving and learning in other countries. This interest was sparked during my doula workshop with Tammy Ryan, my instructor, who does travel around the world teaching and serving. Perhaps as this blog evolves there might be a doula that would start an intern program for new doulas, such as myself, who would love the opportunity and experience to travel and assist? What an amazing opportunity that would be.
Christine Ratajski, CD(DONA)
I’m a doula (not global ) but am on the same page as Christine and would be interested in that same idea!
Thank you so much for developing this series! I’m really looking forward to reading the blog!
Also, I second what Christine mentioned below! If we approach our doula service with the mindset that “all women deserve a doula”, then considering expanding our scope and reaching the world’s more vulnerable and/or marginalized populations makes sense. I believe we not only have the opportunity to serve, but we have the opportunity to learn! Having exposure to various cultures around the world would allow our Doulas to learn from generations of traditions and make them more empathetic, well-rounded, and adaptable for their future clients.
I truly believe offering an internship or fellowship program would be a great opportunity for many of our doulas. Alternatively, if DONA has members in over 50 countries, maybe a sponsorship program could be developed where internationally based Doulas host other Doulas for a time being!
Anyway, thank you for showing interest in this topic! I’m looking forward to seeing what comes from it!!!