Indonesian Doula & Childbirth Educator Advocate Zahra: Fall 2018 MSP Scholarship Winner


Bebo Mia Fall 2018 Doula Scholarship

For the Fall 2018 Doula  Maternal Support Practitioner Program Scholarship at bebo mia inc we had some amazing applicants and are thrilled to present our winners’ submissions. With the help of some incredible sponsors like Olivia Scobie & community partners we were able to offer 7 Scholarships to our combined fertility, birth and postpartum training. This year, we also welcomed four new people to the team,  in the form of our very own Scholarship Committee!

We are so excited to introduce you today to the recipient of The Childbirth Education award, which recognizes an applicant whose passion is to provide excellent prenatal education in conjunction with their doula practice. The recipient’s business plan, project, or personal statement will demonstrate an understanding that inclusive education is the foundation of any social movement, that evidence-based childbirth education is vital to improving birth outcomes, and will either have an existing background in childbirth education or a solid plan to implement it in their practice in the future.

My name is Zahra, a mom to my precious little baby, and a wife to my beloved husband. I am currently working as a Breastfeeding & Babywearing Educator and now on my way to becoming an Indonesian Doula!

Where I live Childbirth Education Classes and Doulas are still very uncommon. Only a small number of people here (mostly those living in the capital city and several who live in other big cities) have the opportunity to educate themselves before giving birth. Most women in my community totally rely on and trust doctors and midwives to deliver their baby. They don’t trust their own body and they are very scared about giving birth.

Unnecessary medical interventions are very common here and the caesarean rate is also high. Many women suffer from birth trauma and they don’t know where to find help. Most of them don’t even understand what birth trauma is and how it could potentially affect their postpartum experience.

Indonesian Doula & Childbirth Educator Zahra

Zahra babywearing

When I was pregnant, the reality that pregnancy and birth might not be as beautiful as it seems on social media sunk in; no one told me the things that I needed to do to prepare myself (and my husband) before giving birth. No one told me that breastfeeding could be A LOT more challenging than the birth itself (also it hurts a lot and that there would be hardly any sleep). I discovered for myself the power and freedom in baby wearing; it provided for me a calm baby and two hands free to do anything!

In my community, no one told me all of those things, not because they didn’t want to tell me, but because they had no idea.  It’s more common to follow old Indonesian customs and outdated information than newest evidence based practices.

I have seen a lot of women, just like me, who suffered from birth trauma, struggling with breastfeeding. We end up thinking, why is this so hard and no one seems to be able to help us?

Before I got pregnant, I didn’t even know that Indonesian doula existed. I did my research about birth when I was pregnant because I was scared to give birth. Then I was shocked, almost didn’t believe, when I saw a video of woman giving birth naturally, upright, and she was very calm. The baby was born very gently and he only cried softly. I didn’t see that horror pain that my community always taught to us since we were kids (my parents always said that when our mom gave birth, the pain was like having our bones crushed). After I viewed the gentle birth online I thought, what did I miss, all of this time?

There are a very limited number of childbirth education opportunities in Indonesia. I took what I could and also soaked in as many educational videos I could find on the internet. I ended up having major birth trauma because of the lack of knowledge surrounding the physiological process of birth at the hospital where I delivered; a doula attended my birth but I did not feel there was a very good connection between the two of us – and I really wish I had obtained some prenatal education on breastfeeding.

Indonesian Doula & Childbirth Educator Zahra

Zahra and her family.

Healing from this trauma has been hard…  I have found a whole community of people who have had similar experiences right here in Indonesia, which has motivated me to create change and become a doula and childbirth educator; in Indonesia, there is very little in person training available, and what exists is very expensive, and on another island which would require me to be away from my family. I had been following bebo mia online for sometime; I loved the community feel you get from their online presence, and the comprehensive course package that covers fertility, pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum period. I felt very drawn to taking the online training, but financial barriers still stood in my way.

I really connected with the values of bebo mia, and was thrilled when they posted an online scholarship application to their Fall MSP.

Zahra - and Indonesian doula and childbirth educator, and her family.

My business plan is to start my own childbirth education centre. It will have birth classes, breastfeeding classes, and baby wearing classes. I think that it is important for all 3 classes to be taught together so people will have a complete prenatal education heading into the labour, birth, and postpartum experiences.  I also plan to host classes in other towns and cities so I can create better access to childbirth education taught by other Indonesian doula. I’ll also provide doula support and breastfeeding counselling to help mothers on their birth and breastfeeding journey as Indonesian Doula.

Besides that, I will continue to spread knowledge about birth, breastfeeding, and baby wearing (as I already do right now on a daily basis) through social media and offline meetings. I hope to see a better Indonesia through education & support on birth, breastfeeding, and baby wearing.

bebo mia’s mission is to connect women* to their intrinsic value & power. One of the ways we aim to do this is by offering the most comprehensive combined fertility, birth & postpartum trainings of doula! Our team of instructors are diverse, interesting, committed to social justice & super funny.

Collectively we are committed to changing the landscape of birth experiences across the globe. 

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