2018. A year of connection.
A message of reflection from our Director.
When the last light switch is turned off on our yearly trainings I like to sit back and reflect on the growth, the hiccups, and the bounty of support we have created at Doula Canada. Were our 2018 goals achieved? What were the lessons we learned? How can we make this better for our members in the year to come?
365 days of continuous trainings and member support can feel like a daunting task at the turning of the new calendar year, but 2018 leaned towards healthy growth via the streamlining of our online learning centre and the dedication of our expert training staff. In short, this past year was a year of vibrancy and commitment by our growing membership, our hardworking team, and the community of networking partners we set out to encompass.
It was also a lot of fun! We made videos, held webinars, and we increased our communitas for members who wished to take part in our online check-in’s, social media platforms, monthly newsletters, and closed community forums.
But fun wasn’t the only focus of this past year. 2018 was about making connections and beginning the work on collaborations both with and for our Doula Canada members. The year allowed for us to ask and to receive.
In Canada we found incredible partnerships in The Gabriel Dumont Institute and the onset of our Indigenous Doula program. We set the groundwork for our doula programs to be offered bilingually through Collège communautaire du Nouveau-Brunswick (CCNB). We continued to strengthen our relationship with Douglas College in New Westminster, BC, and we began discussions with multiple national partners to increase access to doula support through increased funding, alongside obstetrical partnerships, and increased awareness of maternal and infant mental health.
We are grateful to have held space and made plans with First Family Wellness (Regina), Beausoleil First Nation (Christian Island), BirthMark (Toronto), Hon. Min. John Haggie (Newfoundland) and his community partners, Canadian Mental Health Association (National), and a number of hospital administrators and boards. We look forward to continuing our discussions and plans in 2019.
Connections were also made outside of Canada as our team worked to create bridges between the maternal support needs of International communities and the strength of our Doula nation and its trainings. Many of our members volunteered in countries like Honduras, Costa Rica, and Haiti, and in early 2019 a number of Doula Canada students will travel to Tanzania with Wombs of the World to work as alongside obstetrical support, and to increase access to safe water and sustainable job opportunities. We will continue to support these initiatives as we make plans for future retreat and learning opportunities held abroad by Doula Canada in 2019.
Lastly, 2018 was a year of growth. As an organization we saw our membership increase by over 38% from the previous fiscal year, and we expanded our certifications and workshop offerings to include expansive programs such as Infant and Pregnancy Loss, Sex and Birth, Rock Your VBAC, and the announcement of our Fertility Support and Menopause Practitioner trainings.
So, 2018, you were kind to us, and for that we are grateful. Our organization at Doula Canada grew and created beautiful connections that we look forward to nurturing in 2019. As the Director for this organization I am continuously grateful for the opportunities to learn from each of our members, for those who put forward their best intention to help our Learning Centre get off the ground, and for all the individuals who continue to show up for our profession and our communities. I am also grateful to the Doula Canada team, who work 24/7, 365 days a year to support our growing membership and their professional needs.
This New Year’s Eve we will ring it in with many new friends and colleagues, and for that we say…