We wanted to update everyone on our scholarship fund. So far we have provided 3 birth packages, and we have 4 more scheduled through the Fall. We have done 83 hours of postpartum support. We’ve encapsulated 1 placenta and have 2 more scheduled, done 1 belly bind with 2 more scheduled, and provided 4 childbirth education classes. We were also gifted a water birth pool (thank you Anna Hope-Melnick, RN and Elliot Witherspoon, LPC) so we’re able to provide that free of charge to two home births coming up in the next few months. We are so grateful for all the donations that we’ve received that allow us to do this work. We really feel like we’re making strides toward our goals of providing the same quality of care to all, regardless of ability to pay!
We have also committed to putting $1 for every hour of postpartum support and $25 from every birth package we provide back into the scholarship fund. We are using that money to further our goal of helping to diversify and better educate the doula work force. To that end, we’re excited to announce that we have also started a residency program.
Rachel and I met during our initial DONA birth doula training that we took from Jesse Remer of MotherTree Doula Services in the Fall of 2015. We also both did the MotherTree internship without which we would not have been able to so quickly launch into full time doula work. We shadowed experienced doulas at meetings with clients and at births, got guidance starting our businesses, learned how best to work with hospital staff and home birth attendants, and were emotionally supported with a place to process through intense experiences we had as new baby birth workers. The internship was invaluable to us, and yet even from our privileged position as childless, educated white women, it was a stretch to be able to pay for and attend on top of working full time and having to make rent.
So the FSDC residency is not an internship or mentor program that costs money, instead we are providing the training and support as part of an exchange of services agreement with the attendees. Our new residents will shadow us to client meetings, births, and postpartum shifts, get trained on other birthy skills like placenta encapsulation and belly binding, have some outside trainings paid for through the scholarship fund, and get other guidance to help them blossom into the doulas they want to be, while they will help us by backing us up on postpartum services once they are trained, support us online and with marketing and networking, and help us plan our doula baby reunion and scholarship fundraising night that will take place in a few months (stayed tuned for our announcement on that!).
Since our residency program is about making full time, sustainable birth work possible for more people we took time finding the right doulas; Felecia Graham and Ariana Gast. We are so happy to have them both as part of the Full Spectrum family and wider Portland birth community! Look for their introductory posts here on the blog soon.
We are also opening up some of our residency trainings to other birth workers as classes, check out the list here. If you’d like to contribute to the scholarship fund or the residency program please donate here. And if you need doula services and can’t afford them, please apply for the scholarship here.
by Jenna Chidester