What is a Doula?
The word doula is an ancient Greek term that translates to “caregiver.” Doulas provide emotional support, pain management and relaxation techniques, and information to their clients as needed.
We practice what we call “Full Spectrum Pregnancy Support.” That means that doulas are present for our clients regardless of what their pregnancy decisions are: we are present with clients who have chosen to terminate a pregnancy, who are experiencing miscarriage, stillbirth, or perinatal loss or anomaly, who have created adoption plans, and who are planning to parent.
Birth - A Birth Doula will provide all of the above throughout a client's labor and delivery, as well as the immediate postpartum period (about two hours after the baby has been born). The doula meets with clients prenatally to talk about birthing preferences, the creation of a birth plan, and to practice different positions and relaxation techniques for labor. Additionally, a birth doula provides a postpartum visit to review the client’s birth experience and refer them to any resources they may need. Birth doulas are on call for their clients for three weeks, from week 38 – 41 of their pregnancies.
Abortion - An Abortion Doula will provide all of the above to clients who are choosing to terminate the pregnancy. The doula will stay with clients throughout their procedures, as well as part of the recovery period, and will remain in touch with the client as they desire thereafter.
About The Doula Project:
The Doula Project is a pro-choice New York City-based organization that was started in 2007 to provide free services to lower-income individuals across the spectrum of pregnancy. It was founded by pro-choice doulas and reproductive justice activists. The Project is an almost completely-led and run organization that trains and manages its own doula base. We currently have 3 programs that serve the greater NYC area:
1) To provide doula care to people facing abortion, miscarriage, and stillbirth (in partnership with a Manhattan Public Hospital and Planned Parenthood in Brooklyn and the Bronx). You do not have to be a birth doula to serve as an abortion doula. We train our own volunteers on this component of care.
2) To provide doula care to people choosing adoption (in partnership with Spence Chapin Adoption Agency). We do not require a lot of experience, only a formal doula training with an established program. We will also be partnering to offer birth doula training in 2014 to members who do not yet have training or want to refresh their skills -- see below.
3) To provide doula care on a case by case basis to lower-income individuals who are not affiliated with either of our partner organizations. We do not require a lot of experience, only a formal doula training with an established program. We will also be partnering to offer birth doula training in 2014 to members who do not yet have training or want to refresh their skills -- see below.
We are recruiting doulas for all components of our mission, though priority is given to those who are interested in being both Birth and Abortion Doulas. While you are not required to serve as a doula for all components, you are expected to support the mission and values of the entire project and the work each individual doula engages in. You are also expected to attend all components of our training. We encourage you to apply for all components of our work!
We are looking for people interested in training as abortion doulas to work with clients in NYC clinics and hospitals. Doulas will be present and provide emotional support to clients before, during and after abortions. We are looking for people who can work at least 2 half-days a month as well as complete 40 hours of training, provided by The Doula Project, in the winter of 2014. Trained birth doulas are particularly encouraged to apply, though we are excited to bring on people who are passionate, caring, and committed! If you have experience in reproductive health and justice, that’s awesome, but it’s not a requirement. We are more interested in people who really care about these issues, even if you’ve never had any training. We are happy to train the right people to do this work! Some of our most amazing doulas came to this work without any previous reproductive justice experience.
· Report to the assigned hospital/clinic each workday
· Meet with clients in the clinic/hospital before abortion and answer any questions/concerns, help fill out paperwork, and provide pre-abortion
· Provide client with emotional support during abortion (includes 1st and 2nd trimester and laminaria placements). Please note: This means you will be expected to be in the operating room with the client as needed
· Provide clients with your number to call you anytime to talk after abortion
· Meet with clients anytime if desired after abortion
· Commit to two 4-5 hour weekdays per month (Monday – Friday 9-5PM)
· Commit to meeting with the client outside of clinic setting after abortion, if desired
· Provide personal number to client as desired
· Attend monthly abortion doula meetings
· Attend 40 hours of training in the winter of 2014 (includes 25 hours classroom over the course of one week and 15 hours clinic over the course of three to four weekdays)
· At least one-year commitment to project
· When working in hospital/clinic settings, become hospital/clinic volunteer and go through volunteer training. This will include a physical (which can be done free of charge at one of our clinic partnerships) which may involve blood work, titers, a flu shot, and a drug test, depending on the clinic.
Adoption and Birth Doulas:
We are looking for birth doulas to work with birth moms who may be choosing adoption and with clients who cannot otherwise afford doula care. We partner with Spence-Chapin to provide doula support to their clients and support low-income clients who sign up through our website, free of charge.
In order to be a birth doula, you must have been previously trained either by a birth doula training organization such as DONA or CAPPA, have previous experience as a doula or midwife’s apprentice. If you do not have previous training and are interested in participating in this component of our program, you can also become eligible by attending our training on March 15th-16th.
You do not have to have a lot of experience as a doula and will work as part of a two-person doula team, with consistent mentorship and support. A back-up doula will always be provided for every birth.
Upon completion of two volunteer births, birth doulas will be eligible to receive a small stipend for their services.
· Coordinate with your partner doula to ensure that at least one of you will be available at all times during your three-week on-call period
· Meet with clients, for a minimum of two prenatal visits as desired by the client and as time allows
· Assist client in the creation of a birth plan
· Answer questions and provide resources per client's request
· Remain in constant contact with client before and during the on-call period, and after, as client desires
· Provide continuous support at the time of the client's labor and delivery
· Meet with clients for a minimum of one postpartum visit after the birth, as the client desires
· Participate in adoption training with Spence-Chapin (part of larger training we provide)
· Commit to one (1) birth every 6 weeks
· Commit to a minimum of two prenatal visits and one postpartum visit
· Commit to the three-week on-call period with your partner doula (at least one of you must be available at all times during the on-call period)
· Provide personal cell phone or pager number to clients
· At least one-year commitment to the project
· Adhere to Doula Project and Spence-Chapin policies and protocols
In 2014, there may also be an opportunity for birth doulas to function as labor support on a shift basis in a NYC public hospital (without on-call requirements). This program is still being developed.
How to apply:
People who are passionate, caring, and committed are encouraged to apply. Any experience in doula work, reproductive health, rights and justice work, abortion counseling, health service, or personal experiences can be helpful, but isn’t necessary.
Many of our best doulas have had no professional experience, but a dedicated attitude and a desire to learn more and be a part of the Doula Project.
People of color, queer and trans people and Spanish speakers are strongly desired. People with flexible/free weekdays are ideal. While we are willing to negotiate for the right person, priority will be given to those who can commit to at least two four-hour shifts on weekdays per month.
****Abortion doulas will serve in an unpaid volunteer capacity. Adoption/Birth doulas will receive small stipends for work with individual clients. We realize this is a big time commitment and will do everything possible to take care of our doulas and work within your schedules.****