You may have noticed a new logo being shared around for Doula Training Canada, or what we have now come to call simply call Doula Canada (nickname, or truth? We like to think 5 degrees of separation).
We are after all, a Doula nation in the form of an organization.
In summer 2017 we worked with our graphic designer to come up with a series of logo images that we could "plug and play."
We recognize that Canada is a diverse nation and that each province and territory brings its own flavour of support and its own experience when it comes to perinatal care. Our new logos seek to represent this, but allowing us the opportunity to change the interior images province by province.
The circle of life represents the base of our new logo. Our doulas and childbirth educators support Canadians and families worldwide through birth, breath, and death, and as such we felt the circle of life image fit well. The circles are also a metaphor for the changing of experience we see in our field, and the inability to define the Canadian experience.
Evolving, shifting, moving, but always connected to this great nation.
In our primary logo we chose to initially include a mountain at the top. We often use the metaphor of mountain climbing in our discussion of labour, birth, and the transition to parenthood. Thus, we thought it spoke to many lessons.
On a philosophical level the spirit of our country, through history and modern day experience, has been connected to the strength of our land (history PhD geek here). Whether it be the Rocky Mountains, the Canadian Shield, the Great Plains, or the jagged Atlantic Canada coastline, many Canadians connect with the power of mother nature and our students holistically speak to that daily. Indigenous culture is rooted in the connection to nature, new Canadians speak to the beauty of our landscapes, and our doulas know the connection we should have to the earth in labour and in finding ourselves after baby.
In 2018 the mountain will be switched out in our new provincial apparel lines, and specific provincial initiatives - perhaps placing a wheat sheaf instead of a mountain, or a lighthouse, flower, or animal emblem as we work with our Doula nation to meet their needs and represent their character.
However as the circles of life continue to turn, we will stand tall like the tallest mountain, stay connected to our communities, and continue to Doula Canada.
This series of blog posts is brought to you from our East Coast instructor Jillian Hand. Jillian shares her perpesctive on trauma from the lens of social worker and doula in this 3 part series we will benefit from her personal and professional experiences.
I suppose it’s no surprise that over the past seven years, I have gravitated toward providing therapeutic support to birthing persons, their partners and birth professionals in the area of birth trauma processing and recovery. My master’s degree in social work combined with my passion for birth work has provided me with the education and skill to facilitate these therapeutic conversations toward healing. Of course, as with all experiential learning, I’ve gained a lot of insight into this topic over the years and it has influenced how I work with doula clients while wearing my doula hat.
I have developed this three-part blog series with the intention of trying to provide some answers to three questions that are posed to me on a regular basis by other doulas. First, as a doula, what can I do to help minimize the risk of birth trauma; Second, How can I best support my client after they have had a traumatic birth experience; and third, how can I protect myself, as a birth professional, from vicarious trauma? There are no quick, easy answers, but I will do my best to share what my experience has taught me, beginning with how a doula can minimize the risk of birth trauma.
In the early days of this work, one thing I struggled to understand was how two people could have very similar birth experiences and yet, one will describe their experience as traumatic, while the other seems to have taken it all in the stride. For example, I have had the experience of working with two different birth doula clients on separate occasions. Both had the same obsterician, the same doula (me), the same induction procedures, the same complications down to the letter, and in the end they both ended up giving birth by cesarean. In debriefing with the first client, it was obvious that she was devastated. She used the following words to describe her experience – “violated”, “just a file number”, “cut open”, “robbed”, “disrespected”. I supported her in the best way I could in those early days, and as a new doula, I remember feeling that I had somehow let her down since she didn’t get the experience she hoped for.
Fast forward to my second client with the similar experience. I had prepared myself for the same feelings of loss, trauma, and anger afterward that I assumed this client would also experience – but surprisingly, her attitude was completely different. She was disappointed, sure, but she felt like there was nothing more that could have been done and she was happy to have the experience behind her and move on. These two practically identical births but vastly different reactions started me on my quest to seek out how this could be so. If the actual events themselves didn’t create the feeling of trauma, what did?
Birthwork is personal. Everyone comes to this work with some level of personal investment. Clients may be drawn to your logo, website or social media but who they hire is you.
Imagine you are following a company on Instagram and Facebook. The images are warm and cozy feeling. The person in the images is wearing relaxed clothing and a big smile. So you set up a meeting. You are excited to connect with the person you see every day online.
When you arrive to meet with this person you walk into an office with modern décor and are greeted by a person in a business suit. How do you feel? Do you stay? Do you continue to want to work with this person?
This persons marketing was not representative of who they are. For whatever reason they were trying to be someone else in the marketing of their business.
Finding your voice in this business can be hard. You want to stand out, you want your ideal client to find you. The best and most effective way of finding your market is by showing up. Being vulnerable and honest about who you are.
Does this mean baring your soul on social media? Not necessarily. Authenticity is more important than transparency. Clients are not looking for every detail of your life. They are however wanting to meet you, not who you think you should be.
So what is authenticity? It means staying true to who YOU are, what YOU do, who YOU serve and, most importantly, why YOU do what you do. To quote Simon Sinek of Start with Why, “It means that the things we say and the things we do are things we actually believe.”
Authenticity is the basis of the trust clients develop in your business. A client wants to have some sense that the beliefs and values you express in your business, align with theirs. People are drawn to others who are similar to them in certain ways. What it means is finding your voice. Finding your people and letting them get to know who you are.
Where do you start?
Confidence (even if you have to fake it till you make it)
This means believing in the power of you. Trusting that what you offer is so much more than the number of births you have attended, clients you have supported or classes you have taught. That who you are is unique, and your clients are excited to meet you.
Getting yourself out there matters, but what matters most is relationships. Relationships with clients, caregivers and other professionals are what business is built on. Through relationships all things are possible. Who you are matters in these relationships. Your business depends on your integrity of self.
Find a way to position yourself as the expert in your field. Find where your ideal clients hang out, what groups they are in, where they go to shop and build those relationships. Talk to the business owners, organize speaking events, be visible.
Clients are seeking connection. They want interaction, transparency and relevance. They want to feel special. If a client likes your Facebook page or gives you their email they are saying “hey I like you!”. How can you say that back? How can you connect with them? Maybe that is as simple as shout out on your social media platform or maybe that is a gift with purchase.
This is more than just regularly posting on social media. This means that who you are and what images and ideas you are sharing align. All the time. That your brand is consistent. Being authentic doesn't mean you have to post every day and rack up 1000 likes. It just requires you to deliver a consistent, compelling identity that gets clients talking.
It also means that if you are changing your marketing materials you need to be transparent as to what is to come. People have a hard time with change. Something as simple as a new haircut that makes you appear different from the headshot shown on your website, can effect a client’s trust in your business.
Going back to speaking to other business owners. We have a saying here at Doula Canada. There is no such thing as competition. WHAT?! Shocking I know. Here is the thing. Competition breeds contempt. Collaboration build business. Your market, your clients are unique to you. Visibility matters. The more birth professionals out there (in a small town or big city) the more clients there are out there looking for service.
Find like-minded individuals and collaborate. Put on a talk, share space, and find ways to build a market through and with each other. When you collaborate, you build connections. Connections bring clients.
Confidence, connection, consistency & collaboration. All of this to say authenticity matters. It really does. So how will you show up in your business today?
Interested in sharing your thoughts on the Doula Canada page?