By Sharon Muza, BS, CD(DONA), BDT(DONA), LCCE, FACCE, CLE
International Doula Month 2017
May is International Doula Month and a great time to celebrate the efforts that birth and postpartum doulas have on improving maternal-infant health outcomes. Doulas work hard to offer the best of themselves to their clients, to their colleagues, to the health care providers they work with and to their community. This month it is time to recognize and celebrate you! Here are ten easy things that you can do to celebrate International Doula Month.
1. Change your social media profile picture
Update your social media profile picture to include a “Twibbon” that honors International Doula Month. There are two choices to choose from but both help spread the word about International Doula Month. Try one with a color logo or a white logo, depending on what works best with your profile picture.
2. Read a month of posts dedicated to doulas
DONA certified doula Stacie Bingham is in her fourth year of celebrating International Doula Month with 31 Days of Doulas 2017 – blog posts written by all kinds of doulas, one for every day of the month. They cover so many interesting and varied topics that you get a little treat every day when you read the new post. If you want, you can go back and read 31 Days of Doulas 2016, 31 Days of Doulas 2015 and 31 Days of Doulas 2014 as well.
Help get the word out about doulas and promote your business at the same time. Write a short press release letting them know about International Doula Month and your efforts to help families in your community. Send it to local news outlets, radio stations, community blogs and area newspapers. They are always looking for public interest stories and you can be a great source of information. Here is a handy outline and sample template for writing a press release.
4. Host a meet the doula event
Consider hosting a meet the doula event for parents to be in your community. Do some fun coping practice activities, talk about the benefits of a doula and provide a few yummy snacks. A short Q&A can close the event and you may even pick up some business for yourself. Local libraries are often a great place to host these free events open to any community member.
5. Connect with health care providers
Reach out to obstetricians and midwives in your community and ask them if you can join them for five minutes at an upcoming staff meeting to share about doulas. Be prompt, be friendly and informative, and stick to your five minutes, but wow them with your professionalism. Thank them for helping you to celebrate International Doula Month.
6. Participate in the March for Moms on May 14th
Join other doulas at the March for Moms on May 14th in Washington, D.C. and stand up and march for improved maternal-infant outcomes for all parents. Connect with the other DONA doulas who will be there by joining this event on Facebook so you can confirm plans and the meet up location.
7. Get some fresh testimonials about your doula services
Reach out to some recent clients and ask them for a short testimonial about their experiences with you. After they sing your praises, consider adding this to your website, sharing on social media or including in a welcome packet or other printed material that you give to potential clients. You work hard and do a great job – no shame in letting others know that you can do the same for them!
8. Support a new doula in your community
Reach out to a new doula in your community and offer to help them as they start on their journey. You certainly remember how hard it was in the beginning when you started. Buy them a cup of coffee and spend an hour boosting their confidence and answering some questions. I have no doubt that they will appreciate your kindness and welcome the opportunity to connect. Gifting it forward always feels good.
9. Host a book or movie night
Select a book or movie on a topic having to do with the childbearing year and host a movie night or book review gathering for others in your community. Hear other opinions, connect with professionals and enjoy the discussions.
10. Pamper yourself
Remember that you work hard as a doula. Consider a massage, spa treatment, theater tickets, a lovely meal, a nature hike or something fun and special that honors how much you give to others. International Doula Month celebrates you and you deserve something special. It doesn’t have to be big or expensive, but take this opportunity to treat yourself as a reward for your hard work.
How will you celebrate?
International Doula Month is a time to recognize the contributions that doulas have made to families around the world. Do you have special plans this month? How are you going to honor the impact that doulas have with parents and babies? Do any of the above ideas look good? Let us know in the comments section what you plan to do and let us all celebrate along with you.