The families of Northern Michigan deserve quality, ethical, and honest care from all providers that serve them during reproductive years. Ensuring that be the case is a responsibility I take very seriously.
It wasn’t until after I had earned my very own set of letters after my name, that I considered where other professionals had obtained theirs from. I suppose I grew up thinking that only Doctors and the like were granted these specialized credentials from prestigious colleges, and that their use was somehow closely monitored. Like with many things in life… I was partly right, partly wrong, and partly fooled.
Did you know that generally speaking just about anyone can falsely claim professional credentials? Sadly, it’s true; and most often these unqualified individuals are not held responsible until some form of damage is done due to their incompetence. Now, don’t get me wrong…there are many many amazing traditional birth workers out there that have learned the wisdom passed down from woman to woman, generation to generation. By no means am I suggesting that certifications or college degrees are superior. The key to safety while working with pregnant and birthing families is to lead with honesty, always. What I am saying is that it is a red flag if their claims of professionalization don’t check-out.
I encourage all families to look into the educational background of anyone that you bring into your circle of care. Most certifying organizations (such as Lamaze and DONA) have professional directories with profiles for each of their members. The most effective support system is one that you can trust and know to be true. The quality of that educational base is important, too.
As a Doula that is committed to improving outcomes and lowering intervention rates for our communities here in Northern Michigan, I’ve had to have some tough conversations about this along the way. My professional code of ethics for both of my certifying bodies dictate that I be a steward of their standards and credentials. This isn’t business…this is birth.