Becoming A Bereavement Doula

Back in July 2013, I felt the Lord tugging at my heart to pursue a way to serve families in a more hands-on way. Although I have the opportunity to serve families through my website, I don’t always get the opportunity to serve face-to-face. Typically, I just get the opportunity to disseminate information, answer questions, provide direction, and give encouragement via e-mail or Facebook. And please don’t get me wrong…I love, love, LOVE this! And, from time to time, I even get to connect on a deeper level, but not very often. Despite the passion I have for serving through my website, I could not shake the desire to connect with families on a different level and serve them in a more personal way. I also felt the pull to serve more than just donation families, but also to serve families who were experiencing multiple types of loss.

I wasn’t sure how the Lord was going to foster this desire, but I knew that sooner or later He would show me what He had in store. Not long after I felt this tug, I saw a post on the Sufficient Grace Ministries Facebook page stating that there was a need for bereavement doulas in the city that I live in. This immediately caught my attention and I decided to learn more. I was familiar with the concept of a doula, but wasn’t familiar with the concept of a bereavement doula. So, for those of you who are like me and are unfamiliar with the term “doula” or “bereavement doula”… a doula is a non-medically trained support person (also called: birth assistant, birth companion, labor support professional) who assists a mother before, during, or just after childbirth with both physical and emotional needs. A bereavement doula does those same things, but supports a family who has learned their baby has already passed away in utero due to miscarriage or stillbirth, or is carrying a baby who will pass away shortly after birth due to a terminal diagnosis. After learning what a bereavement doula does, I immediately knew this was something that I wanted to do. I thought this might be a way I could fulfill that tug on my heart.

After talking with some of the ladies at Sufficient Grace, I decided to take this desire to the next level. I registered to take an 8-week on-line course through to become a certified bereavement doula. I decided that I would like to serve alongside Sufficient Grace when I was finished so I could fill the need they had for bereavement doulas in my area. The 8-week course started in August 2013 and turned out to be an extremely intensive course, but also extremely insightful and amazing. I learned how to support a mother who will give birth to a baby at any gestation age (4 weeks to 40 weeks) and I learned various ways to help the family capture lasting memories regardless of the baby’s gestation age. I also learned about birth in general, lots of support strategies, how to companion a family through loss, and a variety of other practical things. Besides the 8 weeks of online classes, weekly quizzes, and assignments, I was also required to read two books and complete book reports, as well as a community project. Thankfully, I had six months from the beginning of the class in August to finish the book reports and the community project. This was extremely helpful because the rest of my life got a little crazy starting in August. I started a new school year of teaching in a brand new building, my husband started grad school, I started the first trimester of our second pregnancy, and I made some changes to the website. September brought the one-year anniversary of Amalya Nathaniel’s birth, followed by October with several more updates and additions to my website, and some family events. November and December were the holidays, and a whirlwind speaking engagement, and more changes to the website. Basically, I REALLY needed the six months to finish all the requirements for the class.

I am pleased to announce, after a few days off of work due to extreme weather, some direct intervention from the Lord, and an understanding husband, I JUST recently was able to finish all my reports and projects and I FINALLY earned my Bereavement Doula Certificate this past week! I am so excited that I will now be able to serve families who are walking the difficult journey of loss as a bereavement doula and that I will be able to support Sufficient Grace Ministries in their mission of helping those experiencing loss. I am eager to connect with these precious families and support them as they meet their little ones and make memories. I pray that the Lord allows me to be the physical extension of His arms and hands and that I will be able to extend love to others during their time of need.

The Lord has taught me so much through our experience with Amalya Nathaniel. I feel like this is just one more way the Lord is working in and through me because of our sweet son. Despite the pain of loss, I feel so very blessed. I would never trade in our son or our journey for anything. Please join me in prayer that the Lord opens many doors and that He will be glorified as I start down this new path of service.


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