Alumni in Action – Catching up with Maternal Oak Doula



Twice a year we, the bebo mia team, lovingly dubbed by their community as the #bebobabes, wait excitedly for the doors to open for our Maternal Support Practitioner Certification program (aka doula training). The 13-week program is taught live online in the Spring and Fall and attracts women from all around the world. Like coming to a party where you don’t know anyone, the private Facebook group at first is hesitant and polite, people sticking to introductions and niceties. We are used to this as we are coming into our 15th session. The group takes a bit to warm up to one another and then it is magic! The hundred or so women in each session all bring so much to the training and to the community. Each group gets so close during their training experience as they share the highs & lows of their lives, their business hang-ups, material questions and client successes. We keep all the groups open after the training is done so they can still offer peer-to-peer support and keep in touch.

We want to follow our amazing alumni and see what they are doing now!

To kick off the Alumni in Action we are featuring Kayla Vannieuwenhuizen, owner of Maternal Oak Doula in British Columbia, and a graduate of the Fall 2016 MSP program.

The MSP training offers more than just the skills of a fertility, pregnancy & parenting doula – throughout the training we offer business and branding challenges to support the bebo mia students in building their entrepreneurial skills at the same time. These challenges showcase some amazing business talent! The largest challenge was building and populating an Instagram channel over their 13 weeks in class. Kayla’s contribution was wonderful! She has a knack for taking beautiful images and was clearly enjoying making infographics and interesting posts that showcased her talent, her passion and her business.

Let’s take it back to Kayla’s why. Why did she want to be a doula?

Through my own childbirth experiences, my innate passion to become a doula emerged. I want all women and their families to have the education, access to options, and loving support that they deserve while going through this momentous life change. Be it the first or fifth time. I want mothers to know they have a voice, and it deserves to be heard and respected, and to guide them to release the confidence they already have within themselves to birth their babies how they want. I believe there has been too much fear for decades, around childbirth, and I want to bring light into a place that is not scary. It is warm, loving, and beautifully raw and deserves to be celebrated.”

Maternal Oak Doula

Kayla came to us as a busy stay at home mom to 3 boys (yes, 3!) and needed an affordable doula training that fit into her life. The online feature worked for her so she could be at home while working on her certification and there is little offered by way of in-person trainings in her rural area of BC. She loved that she could work her classes and homework in throughout her week; whatever worked best for her and her family. “The in depth programs bebo offers have left me feeling confident, well rounded in my knowledge, and ready to run my own business.”

We know that it can be hard juggling a business and a family – we are all in the same boat! Kayla agrees that the balancing act can be hard. She admits that it is getting easier to give attention to Maternal Oak and her boys.

“I am extremely proud, of how far I have come in the short 6 months I have been doing this. Through laughs, many late nights, and tears I have hustled my way to the top and have achieved more goals than I ever thought imaginable, for myself. I have learned to be proud of my accomplishments and not shy away from the fact that I am doing as well as I am. A huge part of that is because of bebo mia’s programs. The undying and constant support from my mentors and classmates alike have helped me achieve all that I have done.”

Kayla’s family and friends echo her pride as they are are cheering her on which gives Kayla the confidence that she has made the right decision for her and her family.

We asked Kayla what her favourite part was about her training with bebo mia (we love this question)…

“Where do I ever start!? I loved everything. It has been amazing. Educational, empowering, uplifting, impactful, raw, funny….I could go on for days. I left the program feeling like I could conquer the world. The in-depth program covers a heck of a lot and I feel confident in all aspects of a birth and postpartum doula and beyond… I was even able to attend class while on vacation in Australia!”


Ok, so we know where she is 6 months out from her course, but where does she want to be in 5 years? She wants to keep educating herself in all things birth and parenting, which she definitely is, as she has taken 4 certifications already with bebo mia! She wants to have a collective in her community of other doulas working under her brand. Community is important to the Maternal Oak brand and she is building an open Pregnancy & Parenting community called Shuswap Moms. If you live in her area, make sure that you join!

Watching how hard Kayla works to achieve her goals, we have no doubt that she will hit them all! We think that she said it best:

“When you set your standards above the bar, and reach them there is nothing quite as satisfying. I have pushed every limit I have given myself, thus far, and plan to continue. I truly believe that if we are not pushing ourselves harder than we believe we can, we won’t get where we want to be. Be it 1, 2 or 40 years. Always strive for more than you think you can do; you will surprise yourself. The only thing I regret is not preparing myself for the on-call work; because let’s face it, I miss wine some weeks.”

Check out Kayla on the bebo mia directory if you need support for baby wearing, breastfeeding, pregnancy, birth or parenting support.

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