“Some of the best moments in life will be the ones you didn’t expect, with people you haven’t met yet, and in places you didn’t know existed.”
Why I wanted to learn how to be a doula
Volunteering on the Board of Shanti Uganda for the past 3 years has changed my life. I have learned so much from our incredible team about maternal health, discovered new ways to empower women, and witnessed the kindness of my friends and family who support women on the other side of the world to thrive. When the opportunity arose to participate in Shanti Uganda’s doula training retreat, I knew it would greatly contribute to my personal journey of supporting women.
Doulas are incredible supports
A doula helps moms be understood and listened to. They consider how a mom will remember her birthing experience and help empower them by being present, genuinely caring for them, and expressing words of kindness. Bringing a new human into this world is beautiful and messy at the same time. It is incredibly vulnerable to open your heart bigger than it has ever been before, to develop a deep connection with the life growing inside you, to dream big, and overcome constant fears and growing pains. A doula is there to help you through all of that.
How to be a doula
Learning how to become a doula meant that I had to dig into my humility and be present. I discovered new ways to practice kindness, compassion, mindful listening, and gratitude. The most important thing I learned about being a doula was to just be truly there for another women. It is more than a job – it is genuinely caring for others and helping them be great moms. My doula teachers taught this by being great examples and supporting each and every one of us wholeheartedly throughout the entire course.
New connections and community
That brings me to the best part of the doula training retreat: belonging to a new community. Participants from all over the world traveled to the Shanti Uganda Birth House in Luwero, Uganda as part of their own journeys to support women. Despite beginning as a group of strangers, it became immediately obvious that spending a week with a group of other doulas-in-training was going to be a special experience. We bonded as we doula-ed each other in a place that none of us had been before. Everyone brought an abundance of kindness and compassion to lift each other up in each of our sessions. While Uganda was a beautiful place to visit, the best part was the people I met and befriended during the retreat. I feel so lucky to be part of a new community of incredible people and to get to experience Uganda with them.
The ripple effects
When I look back at my experience of completing the doula training retreat, I truly feel that it was one of the best experiences of my life so far. I still remember the awe I felt as I learned how powerful a women’s body is and how unique each birth experience can be. We all learnt how to better care for birthing women, their families and for others– and now, the wisdom shared by the doula teachers, Shanti Uganda’s staff, and other participants is spreading throughout the world. Even after returning home, we continue to support each other and be there for one another, strengthening the bond developed through our shared experience. Shanti Uganda envisions a world where all women thrive in life and I am so honored to serve women through this organization. The doula retreat opened my eyes that there is so much to learn and so much potential when it comes to empowering women.