That's it! It's done!
I have spent the past 5 months attending births, chasing down nurses and OBs for my evaluation forms, writing essays, reading pregnancy/childbirth/breastfeeding books, taking childbirth education and lactation courses and creating a massive resource list for my clients - all in the name of becoming certified as a doula.
What does certification really mean? It's essentially a guarantee that I am a qualified doula - I maintain a membership with a governing organization (http://www.dona.org/) and abide by their rules of conduct, ethics and scope of practice.
For clients, it gives them that extra bit of reassurance that I'm pretty serious about my job. I've spent the time (and A LOT of money!) learning about my profession and being evaluated on my progress.
That's not to say that we can't be a good doula if we aren't certified (I know many wonderful doulas who are not certified), but in terms of building a solid client base, it's definitely a "plus." There isn't a huge amount of competition out there, as there are probably more people looking for doulas than there are doulas, but it may give me that extra edge when I'm being compared to another interviewee.
And so, now I just wait, and anticipate the day I get the letter telling me that I am officially certified. I don't have any doubts that I've missed anything, as I went over my papers about one thousand times. But until that day, I'll be nervously awaiting word from DONA.
So this is Misty, signing off as "soon-to-be":
Misty Pratt, CD(DONA)
(funny how I'm more excited about this designation than I was about my Masters!!)