There has been more buzz than usual about doulas in mainstream media. Doulas are used to flying under the radar, known only by a very small percentage of individuals who are currently expanding or have recently expanded their family. Well, that all changed last week when the proverbial pot was stirred by a BuzzFeed article that now has doulas, and their fans, choosing sides. The bebo mia team was taking it in, talking about it a lot at the office, and feeling lots of feelings as we watched our industry become more divided than it already was. The more we tried to stay under the radar, the more we were asked by our amazing community to comment about the latest #douladrama. We have chatted, processed and observed until we felt clear on our feelings about it all.
Not every training is right for everyone and how a woman chooses to run her business, well, it is her business.
To us, the foundation of doula care and of our business is informed consent. This means we want our clients to gather all of the information and then they can decide what feels best for them in their birthing or parenting choices. It is their choice, not ours, and we support them in this. We feel that choosing a doula training or running a business must follow the same principle. Not every training is right for everyone and how a woman chooses to run her business, well, it is her business. That is the beauty of being an entrepreneur. We run our Maternal Support Practitioner Training and our Don’t Doula it Yourself Business Membership with the same philosophy of informed consent. We provide all of the information and then you decide what feels right for you, as we firmly believe that every individual is capable of determining what does and does not work for them. A prescriptive one-size-fits-all doesn’t work in business and it certainly does not work in birthing and parenting. As doulas, business owners and parents, we know that.
Sustainable profitability can support philanthropy.
The other point that stood out for us in the article, and in the discussions that followed, was the profitability piece. We can sum it up by saying that financial success and compassionate care can co-exist and they are interconnected. Prolonged and sustainable success is achieved with hard work while upholding the values of honesty and integrity – this is a concept we communicate to all of our students and a concept we live by. The bebo mia team offers potential and new members of our community awesome free business tips, webinars and tools. We give back to local communities with free doula care to homeless women and teens and we offer scholarships to our certification programs for women who would otherwise not be able to afford our trainings. This is important to us and it is every bit a part of our profitable business.
There’s no such thing as bad publicity, right?!
Initially, we were excited by the press for doulas, and yet as we read the article we became disappointed with how our industry was portrayed and it was unfortunate that the conversation was about trickery, deceit and shaming and did not showcase the care, passion, skills and tools doulas hold. It felt scrappy and unsupportive and toxic. How we are perceived as an industry is important and this was not reflective of the women in our community or the amazing work that doulas do.
Abundance. It’s real.
There will always be differences of opinions in our industry, or any industry for that matter, and we simply do not wish to engage in the ‘us vs them’ conversation. As an industry we should be unifying our message around the benefits of having a doula and reaching the soon-to-be parents that do not yet know what a doula is, or why they would hire one. We must shift this conversation. No, actually, we need to flip it! Yes, it is true that less than 10% of expectant parents are hiring doulas. That’s a good thing! That means that there is an incredibly large pool (read ocean) of soon-to-be parents that are completely unaware that we exist. Talk about potential business opportunities! The name of the game for us is, and always will be, abundance rather than scarcity. There is more than enough to go around for everyone.
The idea that we must play by certain rules in order to be of any value in business/life is a deeply patriarchal one.
As entrepreneurs we do not have to try and fit into a box that is not built for us. Furthermore, it is definitely not beneficial for us to fight against each other within that box. At bebo mia we have a mission to connect women to their intrinsic value and power. We want the women in our community to understand that everything they need in order to have the life they want is within themselves. You have it already. You will know what feels right for you in your business. You will know if and how you will give back to your community. You will know what to charge. You will know your worth. You will know how to serve the women that need your care.
And since we were just talking about being honest we have to admit that we felt overlooked on Buzzfeed. Yep, that’s right, we did! We are a growing training organization that offers comprehensive skills for birth professionals, as well as business support, ongoing community care, and empowerment. Well, not 24 hours later after admitting this out loud, we received a lovely shout out from Seattle-based Emily Fontes, the founder of Bloom Business Solutions, as she listed bebo mia inc. in the top business resources for doulas and birth pros in her latest blog post.
There is a growing need for the doula community to come together for the sake of our industry’s reputation and promotion.
We were reminded that there is a very strong and supportive community out there as we read the list of wonderful businesses in her post; businesses that are working to create and strengthen connections within the doula industry. We were reminded that if you take a moment (or several) to step back and take a breath from a heated situation the lessons and gifts will present themselves. We learned that there is a growing need for the doula community to come together for the sake of our industry’s reputation and promotion. We are dedicated to building a community of doulas and birth professionals that feels safe, inclusive and powerful! #doulasunite
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