The Developing Doulas Companionship Programme is our doula mentorship programme for new and more experienced doulas. It designed to complement the Doula UK Recognition Process or to be your main source of support if you can’t, or don’t choose to, join Doula UK.
A DD Companion will have had a range of experiences and have supported a wide variety of families through many different maternity journeys. A Companion commits to supporting you with unconditional positive regard and a genuine desire to see you blossom as both a doula and a person.
Primary Companions are there to forge a relationship with you and to offer support through your first handful of clients. If your Companion is a Doula UK member, you can join Doula UK and state you are undertaking mentoring with your course provider. You also have the choice, if you live in the UK, of joining Doula UK and working with a Doula UK Mentor, who will provide you with the same level of support.
If you have a Doula UK Mentor or DD Companion or you are an experienced doula, you may still feel the need for some support. Specialist Companions can provide one off listening/coaching sessions on a particular topic. Some of our Patrons also offer this service. Use the ‘Companions’ tag on the DD Directory to find Companions and Specialist Companions.
DD Companionship is open to anyone – whatever initial doula preparation course you did. Our community is inclusive and believes in working together and modelling our values of collaboration and cooperation. You can read more about the guiding principles of the DD community here.
How DD Companionship Works
There will be no rigid rule about the minimum or maximum number of ‘jobs’ to debrief before being Acknowledged as a safe, loving, effective doula, however, it is universally accepted that having support and the opportunity to deeply reflect on your first handful of experiences is goof practice. The Companion and DD will agree between them how long they work together. There will be an expectation that DDs will not be Acknowledged as having completed their Companionship period until they have completed 5 births and/or 5 postnatal jobs and they will have experienced a variety of different situations. However, there will be new doulas who have lots of birth or postnatal experience before joining the DD community, and the Companion will be free to take this into account and Acknowledge the new doula sooner if they wish.
New doulas will be invited to pick a ‘primary’ Companion for the Acknowledgment Process but will be encouraged to access other Companions for different needs or to debrief particular situations.
Companionship is for the benefit of the new doula. DDs are therefore expected to actively engage in their period of Companionship – staying in touch with their Companion, keeping them updated and fostering a close relationship.
There is an expectation that even very experienced, Acknowledged Doulas will seek Companionship sessions on a regular basis to reflect and debrief.
We encourage Companions to charge their usual hourly rate for debrief sessions. Companions write something for their profiles and websites that outlines their Companionship service – what they charge, how DDs can pay and if installments are welcome, and whether they will consider working pro bono for DDs in financial hardship. We will be encouraging a system of support that reflects what the doula community offers new families – those paying who can afford it but also ensuring that everyone can access the service, whatever their circumstances. The Companion will make it clear that the DD will not pay more than the maximum stated.
Companions will be able and willing to set their fees, communicate them to new doulas and negotiate if necessary. In this way they commit to modelling attitudes to money and self worth that we hope to pass down to the next generation of doulas.
Choosing a Companion
You can find a list of Companions on the DD Directory. You can read a little about them on their listing. You can also search their name in the DD facebook group for their introductory video. They may also have written some more about their Companionship service on their own websites. Choose just as you would a doula – do you feel an affinity to this person? Do you feel you want to get to know them better? Before you make a decision, talk to the Companion on the phone so that you can ask questions and get a feel for whether you would like to work with this person.