Birth & Bereavement Doula

A dear friend of mine told me about this course and it was something I really want to do as I had struggled through miscarrying a baby myself. This was really hard, so for me there was a need to support women who go through that or having a stillbirth.

                   Birth & Bereavement Doula

This is the text from the website of StillBirthDay, which says what the course syllabus is:

8 open book exams, each corresponding with a designated file.  Each open book exam has approximately 10 questions.

Chapter One

fertility, pre-conception, conception, diversity in beliefs about pregnancy, birth and loss

Complete study of gestation and conception, integrated with exposure to personal, spiritual, cultural responses to pregnancy and to pregnancy loss, including an exposure to preperinatal psychology. Participants will be exposed to the importance of identifying opportunities to provide holistic, pre-perinatal and early obstetrical care

Chapter Two

prenatal bonding, nutrition, partners, physiology of childbirth in every trimester

Study of prenatal development through weekly physical changes, coupled with identifying the personal, spiritual, and cultural variables in a mother’s emotional response to pregnancy and to pregnancy loss at any point in pregnancy. Participants will be exposed to the importance of identifying opportunities of providing wraparound support to any mother experiencing pregnancy loss at any point in pregnancy.

—Prenatal bonding per month, especially for known fatal diagnosis and “rainbow” babies
—How miscarriage and stillbirth are like and unlike happy birth emotionally and physically/signs & stages of labor in all trimesters

Chapter Three

medical support options during childbirth in every trimester

Study of the processes of childbirth, of medicinal options for childbirth, and how these compare and contrast during birth in any trimester.
Hospital admission through discharge:

—Medical options and why some are different in loss
—Special permissions, “releasing” baby, funeral planning

Chapter Four

non-medical support options during childbirth in every trimester, birth plans, building a doula bag & networking

Study of the processes of childbirth, of non-medicinal options for childbirth, and how these compare and contrast during birth in any trimester.

Non-medical options:
—General and specific to loss
—including homebirth and emergencies
—Birth plans for all options and methods(non-medical and medical combined)

Chapter Five

physical postpartum in all experiences, NICU

Study of emergency care of infant after birth, how to provide wraparound support for family.

—Prematurity info – the experience of baby and family: live miscarriage, fatal diagnosis
—NICU info – the experience of the baby and family: fatal diagnosis, one living multiple
—Multiples info – when any or all of the babies die

Chapter Six

emotional postpartum in all experiences, hormones, grief

Study of postpartum care for newborn and mother, compare and contrast this postpartum care in any trimester.

Postpartum Care:

—Immediate physical postpartum care – lochia,breastmilk, etc.
—Emotional postpartum care – enlisting family support, navigating medical records/results, etc

Chapter Seven

mourning, the emotional experience of the doula

Study of postpartum emotional care, compare and contrast this postpartum care in any trimester. Explore emotional needs of each family member after pregnancy loss, and explore emotional needs of all professionals who provide the family care during antepartum, intrapartum,or postpartum.

Grief Education and Support:

—Immediate grief – parents,siblings, SBD doula
—Upcoming grief- milestones, future pregnancies, etc.

Chapter Eight 

the practical, professional and business aspects of the doula

Practical approaches of integrated knowledge gained into credentialed SBD doula, or into any already established professional position, including as a nurse, ultrasound technician, midwife, doctor, EMT, chaplain, social worker, perinatal hospice, or any other profession that may work directly with families during the pre-perinatal, antepartum, intrapartum, or early postpartum period.

While the first 7 chapters have a stronger, didactic, theory approach to each of the many significant aspects of care, this final chapter pulls every chapter together with real, practical application. It is the culmination and offers you the confidence to apply these concepts and tools into your role.

Big weird thing “Final Tasks”

In addition to the all of the materials above, there are three documents required for certification, that we collectively refer to as “Final Tasks.”  You will submit your Final Tasks in the mode we provide you in your student materials.  The Final Tasks consist of:

Two Book Reviews

The student will select two titles from our published reading list.  We have a wonderful selection to choose from, but you only need to select two books to read and review.  It is not required that you purchase these books; if you are interested in building a lending library for your clients you might choose to.  Otherwise you can choose titles that are available from your local library.  If there is a title that the student has a particular relationship with and would like a substitute for their review, they can simply check in with Heidi Faith on the substitute.

Your book review will be a simple synopsis of the text: identify the intended audience, the core message the book conveys, what you gained from the book.

If you are pursuing nursing contact hours, one of the two books for your review must be “Companioning at a Time of Perinatal Loss” as outlined in the book review page.

Community Project

The primary message of the Community Project is that you are not alone as you are serving families.  Compiled as a page on your website or as a printed brochure, you will compile resources that will be relevant to the families you’ll be serving, from fertility clinics, birthing centers, midwives, chaplains, social workers, funeral homes, support groups and more.  We help you with establishing your Community Project in the program.  Ultimately, your Community Project will be a living document, always changing as resources for your community become available or change over time.

It was a fantastic course. I learned a lot and also ended up working through my own emotional struggle with regards to my own miscarriages. I highly recommend anyone who wants to do this work to take this course. It’s well worth the time and effort.