Over the years, I’ve attended many, many conferences and workshops. I love them! There are a few conference sessions and workshops that have really stood out to me over the years. If you see any of these topics at a workshop, I recommend you sign up! (And if you happen to be planning a workshop…hint, hint!)
Ergonomics and body mechanics The Utah Doula Association had a massage therapist come in and teach up about using good body mechanics to ease the strain on our bodies. I learned to leverage my body weight, angle joints to minimize train, etc. It honestly made a difference in the longevity of my career!
Communication skills There have been a few of these over the years. Some on listening, some on tailoring your communication to the person you’re talking to, some on removing your own bias in client communication. All have been valuable. I particularly appreciated the ones where we had time to role play and practice the skills with the facilitator.
Self care The Utah Doula Association has traditionally done an educational conference with continuing education credits in the spring, and a more relaxing retreat in the fall, focused on nurturing the nurturers. We’ve practiced relaxation, talked about how we juggle our lives, eat good food, etc. The format has changed in recent years, and I miss the old retreat days!
Building collaboration with hospital staff Many, many times I’ve been to conferences where someone from a hospital/medical approach has come to speak. I’ve heard from L&D nurses, home birth midwives, hospital based midwives, OBs, Maternal-Fetal Medicine specialists, pediatricians and neonatologists. And every single time, I’ve listened and learned about their perspective and where they are coming from. I’ve also found they learned from the doulas!
Ethics and the doula – Based on the idea of peer review that other professions use, we had a session where several case studies that included ethical dilemmas were discussed. Some were real local stories shared anonymously, some were case studies from doulas in other areas, also shared anonymously. We discussed in small groups of about 5 and presented the situation and our thoughts to the group.
Spouse/partner panel – One year, my local doula association held a dinner and invited doulas and their partners to attend. We had several long time doulas and their partners sit on a panel and talk about what it’s like for doula partners, and how to keep the demands of on call work from damaging your relationship.
Research Updates I always look forward to these, unless I’m the one prepping that session, then it’s way more stress! It’s good to have someone knowledgeable about research to talk about the new highlights in pregnancy/birth/breastfeeding/parenting research over the last year.
Have you been to a conference or workshop that really impacted your doula practice? I’d love to hear more about it!