6 Months of Intensive, Intersectional Doula Training

Birth should be better.

It’s one of the most beautiful, natural, and life-changing processes any one of us can ever experience –– and yet, many of us have births that are frightening, medicalised and isolated from our cultural traditions, turning the whole experience into a gauntlet of trauma.

And this is a tragedy in and of itself.

But what’s even more tragic is that for Black and brown-bodied people, this already-grim picture is even worse.

When I first started doula-ing nearly 20 years ago, Black and brown-bodied women were twice as likely to die in the perinatal period than white-bodied women. Things have only gotten worse in the interim; now Black and brown-bodied people are FIVE times more likely to die.

I’m out to change that –– and I want you to join me.

If you’re ready to become a birth-keeper, and make birth better for all, Rooted is for you.

Why Rooted?

Rooted is the only doula training programme in the world that gives you all the practical knowledge and training you need to attend to and advocate for someone during birth, as well as the cultural grounding you need to truly support them as a doula, and the business training you need if you’re going to make a go of this professionally.

It’s the product of my decades of experience as a doula to parents of all sorts, from straightforward pregnancies right through to ‘high-risk’ multiples, as well as the experience and training of some of the Leading Lights in the world of birth. What’s more, it’s deeply rooted in the traditions that have seen people through to healthy, happy births for millennia.

It’s designed not only to teach you, but to ground you so you can channel all that care, and nurturing, and passion into a sustainable, long-term change for all of us.

When someone has a good birth, you heal seven generations backwards and forwards.

Creating the safety, space, and support for a good birth is, quite literally, world-changing. And there’s no other programme out there that teaches you how to do that in a culturally-grounded, heritage-rich way that makes birth safe for ALL –– not just the chosen few.

I’m in!

“Thank you for these next steps, really looking forward to getting stuck in.

I feel so privileged to be trained by the Abuela team, so much thought and intention has been put into this course”

Emily

All the details

Rooted takes place across 6 months, and consists of a mixed curriculum of independent study, face-to-face training, ongoing mentorship calls, and community support.

6 Independent Study Modules that Cover the Perinatal Period

Each month of your time in Rooted, I’ll assign you a subject to go in-depth with. These might include loss, birth activism, encouraging straightforward labour and working with partners, or anything else I can pull from my extensive repertoire of training. I choose the modules month to month based on the needs of the cohort, to ensure that everyone gets exactly what they need.

During this time, you’ll also be asked to concentrate on one chapter of the main books on the reading list, and you’ll have podcasts to listen to and articles to read, as well as an exercise that relates directly to the topic you’re studying that month.

Face to Face

About three months in, you will do 3 days of face-to-face training with me, during which we’ll go through the practical aspects of doula-ing, and look at the stories we tell ourselves, take them apart, and see how they impact our doula-ing.

This is an incredibly powerful three days in which you’re invited to show up truly as yourself, and make space for others to be themselves. It is, without exaggeration, world-changing.

Leading Light Sessions

You’ll also have a monthly mastermind session with one of our Leading Lights, each of whom has been chosen for their expertise and experience in the field. They have all been chosen because they are Black or brown-bodied, or culturally safe, and have experience in caring for Black and brown-bodied parents.

The topics covered in the Leading Light Sessions are:

Module 1 – Nailing the Birth Doula Interview

Module 2 – Oils in the Birthing Year

Module 3 – Trauma

Module 4 – Q+ Competency

Module 5 – Advocacy

Module 6 – Business and Marketing

Post-Course Project

You will also be required to complete a post-course project within 9 months after finishing Rooted –– but this is not your typical book-report type assignment! Your project will demonstrate how your doula training ties in with your culture, heritage and traditions, and can be anything you can think of. So far, we’ve had poems, videos, art, a PhD dissertation, and even a book draft!

Reading and Community Support

You’ll have a list of assigned reading to complete throughout, and each month we have a reading and reflection week, so you can integrate what you’re learning.

You’ll also have ongoing support of the Abuela Doula community so you can talk, learn, and network with your peers. (Who will also become your greatest friends and allies as you start doing this work)!

And after it’s over, you’ll get:

Your certificate as an official Abuela Doula! (Everybody loves a certificate)

– Lifetime access to our closed Abuela Doula community, so you can continue building the friendships and support network you create during Rooted long after you’re finished.

The chops that come with being trained by a pioneer in the field. (That’s me!) Plus, you’ve got me in your corner for the rest of your working life. Because a relationship doesn’t stop when the course ends.

2 x weeks exclusive access to me in the Ask Me Anything Whatsapp group. After the course is over, you may have questions or fears. I’m here for you in this transition period.

The Abuela Doula Birthkeeper Library of documents, including birth agreements, the Abuela Doula Manifesto, and more.

– The option for ongoing mentorship with your Rooted mentor.

Ongoing email support from the Abuela Doula team as you complete your post-course project.

WHY WORK WITH ABUELA DOULAS

HEAR WHAT SOME DOULAS HAVE TO SAY 

Mars is 100% dedicated to the vision of seeing the next generation of birthworkers of colour rise.

She has been such an inspiration & champion of my practice & learning, Doula-ing the doula. I’ve come away from each mentoring session more fortified in my mission with actionable next steps, clarity and confidence. Thank you, Mars.

Rosie

I just wanted to say a big THANK YOU to you and Lorna for the course. I feel very lucky and honoured to have been able to do the two courses with you and learn so much, not only about the art of doula-ing, but also myself (ongoing process of course!) and also to share the space with such generous people.

Naomi

And of course there’s bonuses…

Upon signing up to Rooted, you’ll get immediate access to the community, as well as…

–– The world’s best goodie bag. Delivered to you in a beautiful teal-green Abuela Doulas tote bag, you’ll get a notebook for your notes throughout the course, a handmade journal for your reflections, and the Rooted education guide.

–– A 2-hour workshop with hyper-nerd with a heart of gold, Jonathan Stewart, who will help you take care of the techy side of running a doula practice.

–– An exclusive educational video from Parijat Deshpande about working with high-risk pregnancies and people trying to conceive after having had a loss before.

–– Free access to my Loving Multiple Parents course, which is all about caring for parents expecting twins (or more!)

Ultimately, it all comes down to this: Are you the kind of person who’s called to nurture, care, and advocate for people as they go through one of the most important experiences of their lives?

Yes? Then join us!

I signed up because I could see that she genuinely wanted to see doulas rise together collectively, that it wasn’t about your ego but about helping us to the be the best that we could be so that we could support ALL families in their journey to parenthood.

“[Mars] is incredibly supportive, asks important questions, and makes you fly high and in a no nonsense way. “

Vanisha

This is for you if:

  • You want to change the world of birth, and make it better for everyone involved. 
  • You are committed to ensuring that anyone who goes into birth or into the post-natal period under your watch feels safe, held, and heard.
  • You’ve got a heart for nurturing and nourishing people. (Whether you’ve doula-ed before or not! You can come to this completely new, if you like.)
  • You’re excited to learn how both support parents from a culturally-grounded perspective.
  • You’re willing to confront your unconscious biases, and are doing your own anti-racism work.
  • You think Mars is pretty cool and you want to be in her world

This is not for you if:

  • You can only and exclusively learn in a soft, “love and light” environment. We are kind, and human, and gloriously flawed here –– and we do not shy away from the truth, or our humanity. 
  • You’re only doing this because you think it’ll do something for you. Doula-ing is not about you, it’s about those you serve. 
  • You are committed to learning from a white-centred perspective. We have a deliberately diverse curriculum, and that might make you uncomfortable. But you come to this work with cultural humility, or don’t come at all. 
  • You can’t make a mistake. We all make mistakes here. We do not repeat them. But we do make them. And if that scares you, you need to find something else to do.

It’s time.

You’ve read all there is to read. You know all there is to know. Now it’s time to choose.

And honestly? You already know what you’re going to do. You didn’t get this far down the page out of idle curiosity. There’s something in you that’s letting you know that this is right for you.

So take a deep breath, and make the choice.

I can’t wait to see you on the inside!

Mars xx

Questions

Do I need to have experience before I come to this course?

Absolutely not. You can come to us with nothing more than a caring heart and a willingness to learn. We’ll teach you everything you need to know.

Is there going to be a bunch of white lady nonsense in this?

Come on. Just look at the page so far. You already know the answer to this! (Though I don’t blame you for asking, many doula courses are extremely white.)

What’s the curriculum like?

There’s 6 modules of independent study, 3 days of face-to-face (done via Zoom for now), and monthly mentoring sessions with your chosen mentor. You will also be required to complete a post-course project within 9 months after finishing Rooted.

What’s in the goodie bag?

So much stuff! There’s a notebook for your notes throughout the course, a handmade journal for your reflections, and the Rooted education guide, and of course, a few surprises…

When does this all happen?

The next round of Rooted starts on 15th January 2022

I’ve got lots of experience, is this going to be too basic for me?

We do cover some of the basics of doula-ing, but you won’t be bored. This course works for those of all experience levels, and you’ll definitely be stretched in ways you haven’t been before.

That being said, if the ONLY part of this you’re interested in is the cultural inclusion stuff, Level Up might be a better fit for you.

Who are the mentors? How does the mentorship work?

Our current roster of mentors  includes Illiyin Morrison, Julia Brown, Nicola Goodall, Thando Zwane, Leata-Mae d’Avoine, Lorna Phillip and Elsie Gayle. You will have the option to choose one of these women to mentor you throughout your time in Rooted, and you may continue that mentorship afterwards if you both choose.

What’s the reading list like?

Our reading list changes from cohort to cohort, but reliably includes:

Birth Crisis – Sheila Kitzinger,

The Good Ally – Nova Reid (out Sept 2021)

The Birthkeepers: Reclaiming an Ancient Tradition – Veronika Sophia Robinson

Primal Health – Michel Odent

The Big Letdown: How Medicine, Big Business, and Feminism Undermine Breastfeeding -Kimberly Seals-Allers

Where’s The Mother? Stories from a Transgender Dad – Trevor MacDonald

The First Forty Days: The Essential Art of Nourishing the New Mother – Heng Ou

These books can be found on www.bookandkulture.com, an independent Black owned bookshop.

What’s your refund policy?

There are no refunds. You’re added into the Abuela Doula community immediately upon reserving your spot, and there’s a ton of intellectual property in there, so once you’re in, you’re in. This applies to payment plans as well –– you can stop showing up, but your payment will still occur automatically until your balance is paid.

I’ve got more questions, who do I ask?

Me! Email me here and we’ll sort it: support@abueladoulas.co.uk

How do I sign up?

Right here, my darling! Just click below to choose your payment plan.

Jolande

Leah Lewin

I first met Mars during my second year during my Midwifery degree. She was giving a lecture on the role of the Doula. I was struck by her enthusiasm for her role. Having done a similar role before embarking on my Midwifery career, I hoped I would be as excited as she was when I finally became a Midwife.

In reality, although I found Midwifery to be extremely rewarding, satisfying and humbling, I also found the stress levels, workplace culture and systems to be very challenging. I was at a loss on how I could provide continual care that would truly empower the families that most needed it. After much soul searching I remembered Mars. I did a quick google search to find out what she was up to and found she had set up the first Black owned Doula course – Abeula. Mars kindly met up with me, I told her about the stress levels I was experiencing and how the rising rates of harm to Black and Asian people concerned me greatly. Mars comforted me, inspired me and encouraged me that I could carve out a career as a Doula, incorporating all the elements I had learned both in Midwifery, as well as within my first career in Fashion.

The Abuela Doula course felt like a safe space where my concerns and wishes for the future could be held and validated. My cohort was a group of diverse people from all walks of life. Uncomfortable discussions were not shied away from, humour and frankness were encouraged which was so refreshing after years of feeling like I couldn’t express myself.

If you are considering embarking on a Doula career, I would 100% recommend the Abuela Doula course, although I had lots of experience within maternity, I needed to truly learn the role of Doula to avoid me confusing my former Midwifery role with future clients. Now I truly work with birthing people and their families as opposed to institutions. I feel more knowledgeable about cultural aspects of birth and can practice as a Doula more holistically to support people and their pregnancies/births in a continual, authentic and non-clinical manner.

I feel equipped to make a real change within birthwork and my life. I no longer feel the need to sacrifice my own needs and desires. My desire and three pillars of my brand is to reassure, inform and empower, not that different from my goals as a Midwife. I’m now working as a Doula, with brands and have finally launched my pregnancy label – Partum Wear which was a dream of mine. I have lots more planned for the future and I’m very grateful that Mars showed me that it was possible (and much more), this type of coaching and encouragement is needed within the Black community. Thank you again Mars Xd

Dionne

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