Since I've been interested in being a midwife or a doula for as long as I can remember, I decided to check with a few organizations to see about certification. Of course, since I'm doing doula work right now I thought I'd look into that one first. Well, it turns out you need three births. I've got that. It doesn't say anywhere that it can't be done through webcam. No, I'm not born yesterday..of course I realize that they have probably never heard of this through webcam. So I decided to write to them, let them know my situation and see if there was any way I could use these births towards my certification.
What I got back was almost what I expected. They both said "No, you can't use webcam births." Alright, I can handle that. Everyone has rules they have to follow. I can respect that. Though my suggestion is that people ought to start including a clause about whether webcam is acceptable or not. This will not be the last time someone asks, trust me.
What I was most concerned about however, was that it wasn't simply a "no" email I got back. Here's the one I got back from DONA. (Doulas of North America)
"Although unique and helpful, your lack of physical presence will not allow us to count these births for certification. There has been no research that this type of support is beneficial and in fact, much research to support that the doulas physical presence is what makes the difference."
And the other from CAPPA. (Childbirth and Postpartum Professional Association)
"I'm sorry, but unless you are at a real live birth, these will not be able to count towards certification. Being there in person adds a whole dimension, hands on touching, physical presence, which is one of the three areas of being a Labor Doula. This is what all of the doula studies were based on, a large part of what we do, and part of what makes us an evidence-based program."
Okay. I have a big problem with this. Obviously the research is not correct. Sure, there are definite advantages to being there physically, but they cannot say that what I'm doing isn't beneficial. I have two midwives, six mothers, and six brand new babies that will attest to that. Some of those women had other support systems in place as well. In fact, the last one had a Labor Doula physically there with her. She had relatives there with her. She had the midwife there with her. And they still requested my help. To me, that says a lot. It tells me that while being there physically is an added benefit and of course should be strived for whenever possible, it isn't necessarily what makes a good doula. For me, its possible to be a good doula and not be there physically.
I did not plan to become an "internet Doula", its one of those things that just happened. A blessedly wonderful opportunity to help other women fell into my lap, and I'm damn well going to work with it as much as I possibly can. Certification means nothing to me. I was looking into it to see if I could better myself, but I see now that even the organizations don't really care about that. It was disappointing really.
I think perhaps I had judged them, albeit positively; but still judged. I lumped those agencies in a category of people that really cared about women. To me, midwives and doulas have always seemed to be a group of people who want to help other women. Down to earth people. And I guess, like all people... you can't really put them in a category fairly. They are still just people after all. And obviously, what's beneficial to laboring women isn't the first thing on their minds. At least not in the administration department...LOL