What you will learn:
The class itself is interactive, with an encouragement of weekly reading materials and group participation. Your fellow classmates will challenge you, the course will educate you, and the fellowship will inspire you. You will remain a part of an online interactive group of your peers, long after your class is over, with fellow SBD students and professionals.
You will gain a solid understanding of pregnancy, birth, birth emergencies and pregnancy and infant loss. The SBD birth and bereavement training draws from the best tools available in birth education, positive birth outcomes, birth emergencies, thanatology, palliative care, application of skills, and professional development and support, to equip you in understanding why and how these broad subjects are intricately connected.
View the subjects outlined by week here.
- detailed physical process of conception, gestation, birth and breastfeeding
- emotional, spiritual and cultural perspectives of birth
- medically assisted conception and other paths to parenthood
- bonding during pregnancy
- the importance of dad
- emotional, spiritual, and cultural perspectives of pregnancy and infant loss
- differences and similarities of birth in any trimester
- medical support during birth: benefits, risks, ways to limit, ways to work with
- natural approaches and alternatives to common concerns, ailments or issues in pregnancy or birth
- keepsakes and practical support prior to, during and immediately after pregnancy or infant loss
- navigating the NICU: the physical and emotional experiences
- professional bereavement support
- including loved ones in birth and in bereavement support
- adult and infant CPR training
- adoption support
- setting up your business as a doula / integrating knowledge gained into already established professional role
These subjects are interwoven together, so even the most seasoned birth professional will be challenged in the paradigm shift we at stillbirthday aim to see occur in the perception of birth in any trimester. There is a basic student track and an expert track, that allow students to work alongside one another and celebrate our different levels of experiences and grow together.
What you will do:
During the 8 chapter training:
- establish relationship with your local birth and bereavement professionals
- craft projects
- attend local support group
- watch videos
- engage in emotionally difficult activities
- learn from families
- participate in group phone conference
- identify and establish important connections and programs in your local community
- connect and communicate with your classmates weekly in our virtual classroom
Final Projects/ 3 Additional Reports:
- read and report on two books from our Required Reading List. These reports are very informal – just a 1-2 page report to reflect what you read, if you learned from the book, if families might learn from the book, if there were things that could have been added or omitted from the book, and overall your experience with it. If you are pursuing nursing contact hours, one of the two books for your review must be “Companioning at a Time of Perinatal Loss” as outlined in the book review page.
- compile a list of resources you will present to the families you serve. At its simplest, this is just a list. You might compile it in the form of a brochure, or add working URL links into your website. There are many subjects and areas of support you can build your list from.
- It is requested, but not required, that you turn in these 3 reports together.
- Upon successful completion of the 8 week program, you can receive a letter of completion. Upon successful completion of the additional reports as well, you will be awarded the SBD credentials, among other benefits.
What are the benefits of SBD credentialing?
Gracious, there are so many that we made a page just for them. Click here to check it all out!
Is there anyone who this class might not be best for?
The founder of stillbirthday is also the educator of the SBD doula program. When I am not corresponding with students, I am actively involved in my own community, stepping into bathrooms, hospital rooms and other most intimate places to walk alongside mothers meeting with both birth and bereavement. Daily, I am exhausted from witnessing the glorious moments of birth and the devastating moments of bereavement. Yet, the material of the curriculum and my dialoguing with students is slow and methodical. This program is worth so much more than what you invest financially in it, and yet your financial investment is not an indicator of worth of my time. I invest in a deliberate process of building upon principles. I do this because you will soon be that person standing in that bathroom, hospital room or other birthing space, and as someone who may wear my credential while doing so, I need to know that that mother and family will receive the slow, deliberate engagement that they are worthy of receiving.
So, if you have an awareness of yourself that you might be considered abrupt, dismissive, short in your speech, argumentative, confrontational, dishonest in your motives or without room for the accountability that is humility, then this class might not be the best fit for you. We also encourage at stillbirthday the ongoing investment into psychological and/or spiritual development. If you have a personal and/or professional philosophy that is focused on the shortcomings and blaming of others rather than on supporting collaboration, edification and growth, this program might not be the best fit for you. Likewise, if you have a limited focus around your own feelings that is inhibitive to your addressing and supporting anothers without projection, you might not yet be ready for our program. You might still invest in the materials, and we do certainly engage in much opportunity for internal development and personal maturation, but your involvement in the classroom and in your work will need to demonstrate respectfulness and teach-ability, and you will need to exhibit compliance with our high standards outlined in class and in the materials before and while wearing our esteemed credential.
Other Commonly Asked Questions
“How do I know I am emotionally ready for this course?”
The answer to this isn’t found by my words and it won’t be found in any sort of pre-registration regimen. This course is emotionally intensive. If you are not sure you are ready to begin the course, consider beginning with our Required Reading List, and enrolling for the next class. We always offer mentorship to our students, so if you find yourself unexpectedly struggling or facing a new facet of your grief journey during the course or afterward, you have a confidential relationship with the course instructors.
“I only want to learn about bereavement. Do I need the birth training as well?”
This is a common question, asked in a variety of ways. The SBD training provides comprehensive birth & bereavement support, interwoven together. There is no way to pull one from the other, and this is the paradigm change we are pioneering. Even the material that may be a review for you, is approached in a new way. Within the training, there are two tracks of students: those needing nursing contact hours, and those not needing them. You can decide to take the track that best fits your current station.
“Do I have to hold to any particular beliefs, or experiences, to take this course?”
Our training is comprehensive. We broach extremely difficult subjects and we do so, extremely intentionally. At the core of the stillbirthday training is the understanding that we each have very personal and very valuable moral and ethical frames, and that these frames are actually wonderful as ways that we can fill our space with love and can serve comprehensively and holistically, entirely within our frame, rather than our societal agenda which projects moral and ethical frames as inhibitive, divisive and limiting. Our diversity is beautiful and valuable, worthy of expression, not something to detract or limit our abilities of serving and bringing comprehensive love. I can share with you my lens, and I do so, with vulnerability and humility, and ask that you care for my feelings respectfully, just as you would the families you serve. And, I invite you, warmly, to share in the conversation and hold out your own lens, that myself and the class might have the honor of responding to you with respect, validation and love. Quotes and thoughts that are mentioned within the training are chosen because they speak directly to the subject matter – if you know of a quote, author, or just, generally, another perspective that can magnify the subject and strengthen the students’ understanding of the material, you are encouraged and invited to share these suggestions to be included in the training. If it isn’t in the training, it can be. We all have room to grow, and so does the training! We each bring something valuable to the training, to the conversation, and to the paradigm of birth and bereavement. This is also why it’s so exciting to become an SBD Doula – you never have to retake the training, but will always have access to the most revised and updated materials – free! – of which you can personally impact!
“I want/don’t want an abortion doula training. Is that what SBD offers?”
I understand the paradigm of SBD is revolutionary and so can bring some misconception. But SBD is beyond pro life or pro choice. We have doulas who are on the furthest ends of that spectrum, and we all work well together. It is a paradigm shift that is difficult but we are proving is possible. SBD is prohealing.
“Can you tell me again how the online structure works? Do I need to be in the classroom at certain times?”
You will begin by receiving an email with access to the first semester materials. You’ll review them one chapter per week, with your open book exam answers turned in over the corresponding weekend, according to your own timezone. You’ll also have access to our private, online classroom. The instructors pose several group questions each week, and you can choose which conversations you’d like to engage in. Conversations are stored and do not have to be in “real time”. From all over the world, we all bring something valuable to the conversations and we all make the learning experience much more rich and valuable.
“Why is becoming credentialed in this line of work so important?”
The SBD Doula program maintains exceptionally high principles of service and our credentialed Birth & Bereavement Doulas are held to a standard of the utmost professional and comprehensive support for families giving birth in any trimester.
If an individual considers him or herself to be a “bereavement doula” but cannot produce their name on our public listing of credentialed Birth & Bereavement Doulas®, he or she is simply and unfortunately borrowing from our title, intentionally or not, and is not supported by our federally recognized, comprehensive certification program. With such an expressed interest in this needed work, though, if you find such an individual you might invite them to pursue our certification program.
There are birth doula trainings, as well as trainings that cover aspects of bereavement, led by individuals who have virtually no personal experience in supporting during loss, or regard for those already in this field. Forfeiting opportunities of honest collaboration and mutual growth, there are rogue representatives who have a self-driven agenda that at the outset might not seem to cost very much but in the long term keeps their vision so shortsighted that they will never be able to offer you the longstanding relationships you are invited to be part of through a strong, established organization like stillbirthday. Additionally, there are support resources that are so niche-specific so as to be exclusionary.
The SBD Doula program, though, encourages you to continue, advance, and supplement your training, and we enjoy special collaborative relationships with some leading and some up-and-coming organizations who join hands with us in mutual regard to our vision of always supporting more families even better. While on one hand the SBD Doula training is entirely comprehensive and can be more than sufficient in your academic preparation for becoming a doula, literally any training you take does have the potential to at minimum teach you something, and for even just one thing can be worth your investment. It is our hope that you simply choose your academic career with discretion, and we offer our training at the most affordable tuition so that you can feel able to advance and further your academic career (including external organizations, local workshops, and more) if you choose to, and feel confident in your investment in your SBD training, your role, and in the families you’ll serve.
Click here to return to our SBD Doula Registration Home Page
“I have fears about becoming a birth & bereavement doula, that I just don’t really know how to articulate.”
Enrolling in our doula program is an important decision.
You might be thinking about the logistical things right now – wanting to know when the class starts, how you will get the class materials, if you will have enough time each week…
And, you might also be feeling any of a number of feelings: Excitement. Anxiety. Fear.
“Am I really strong enough to support mothers in any birth outcome?”
“Am I really worthy to take on such a rigorous program?”
“What happens if it doesn’t work out? What if I fail as a student or what if I let a mother down?”
“Is it weird to want to support mothers giving birth in any outcome? Does it make me plummet into grief? What will my friends think of me?”
“What if I’m not really as strong or as healed as I think I am or I hope I am?”
These are questions that many SBD doula students have been challenged with, who have come before you. These are questions that can reach right into your soul and can leave you terrified and protective, fearful that somehow daring to move forward, to lean into grief, to show up, vulnerable, is going to do more harm than good.
The truth is, our doula training may not have all of the answers to these questions, because each of our walks is different. But, I want to encourage you.
The SBD doula program is not driven by power, conditions, or fear.
We are driven by love.
We are going to talk about the pros and cons of birth choices, of regrets, of reasons for losses. Any and all of these things might be difficult, personal and painful.
But we’re going to look at life, in all its hues, in all its darkness, in all its brilliance, together.
The SBD Doula.
Support for birth in any trimester and in any outcome.
You might experience a new loss while in the course. You might become pregnant or already be pregnant during the course. Someone you love dearly may come to you, unexpectedly, during this course, to tell you that they’ve endured a loss.
You may struggle to make sense of any purpose or of the timing of these things.
And even after you believe that these feelings or fears may be soothed, on the day you receive your training materials, these things may come right back into your mind. You may feel like escaping. Like dropping out.
You’ll need to brave to share your burdens with me. We can look at your going more slowly through the course, or taking a break, or starting again later. Together, we can find a way.
The most important thing I want you as a doula student to learn, is the importance of daring to simply let yourself be seen. Of exploring vulnerability. Of supporting birth and bereavement diversity. Of holding your valuable place in our circle, our circle that, through you, opens to become the safe place for others, as they dare to let themselves be seen.
We are all, in this together.
Click here to return to our SBD Doula Registration Home Page