Motherwit Intensive Doula Training Retreat

When: July 18th to 23rd, 2010

Where: The location for our training will be in a large, comfortable home in Morin Heights, located in the beautiful Laurentians of Quebec, about an hour from Montreal.

Who: This training is for those women who want to pursue a career in supporting women in birth. This can either serve as a complete professional training as a doula, as a stepping stone towards a career in midwifery, nursing, or medicine, or as continuing education for those who are already working with birthing women and want to enrich their practices. Even those women who are already working as doulas will find this training exceptionally beneficial.

What is a doula? A doula is a woman who provides supportive care to women and their families throughout the childbearing year. The woman’s primary caregiver (her doctor or midwife) is responsible for her clinical wellbeing, meaning the monitoring of her and her baby’s health is carried out by them. Doulas provide the missing link in modern maternity care, which is the nurturing of the pregnant/birthing/postpartum woman. In order to feel satisfied with her childbearing experience, a mother needs to have been treated with love and respect, to have felt heard, to have been honoured.

Doulas offer the mother and her partner time in which to ask questions, vent their frustrations, express their concerns, clarify their values about birth and parenting, providing them with information, preparatory education, supportive physical and emotional comfort, and advocacy of their needs and desires.

Doulas accompany the woman thoughout labour and birth, and facilitate the transition into motherhood. Her partner also benefits tremendously from a doula’s support. With a doula taking care of many of the small things required in birth, the partner can relax and be fully present for the labouring mom in the way they see fit.

Doulas also provide postpartum care by supporting the unique breastfeeding relationship between mother and child, and by smoothing some of the inevitable bumps along the untravelled road.

The doula is a complementary member of the woman’s healthcare team. She empowers a woman to make informed choices about her care, and then supports those unique choices. She serves as a resource for many of the woman’s needs. A doula never diagnoses or assumes clinical care of her client. All health concerns are required to be brought to the attention of the primary caregiver.

Why: Motherwit Doula Training provides training above and beyond what is taught in popular, weekend workshop format courses. Not only do we study the pregnancy, birthing, and postpartum process and ways to support it in all kinds of settings, but you will learn a myriad of tools to work holistically with your clients. You will learn, for example, how to help a woman deal with the sensations of labour, how to navigate your way though a challenging hospital system without creating conflict, how to care for yourself as you care for others, how to run your doula business, how to build community for new mothers and other doulas, and most importantly, how, in your own unique, loving, authentic way, to contribute to the healing of our North American birth culture one mother, father, and baby at a time.

How: The week long format will allow you to immerse yourself in the world of doula work. By living in close quarters with other women, we will be in community, sharing chores, meals, and babycare. This is traditionally how women learn, not in a shiny classroom with a teacher at the head, but in a circle, multitasking and sharing, within an environment surrounded by beauty. We are allowed to share anecdotes, heal through storytelling, tell bawdy jokes, be free with our emotions, all the while doing in depth, intense and often technically complicated study of supporting birth.

You will be given a study guide annotating important learnings, as well as a checklist to help you fulfill your requirements outside of class. These requirements must be finished within a year of taking this training in order to be certified as a Motherwit Doula, otherwise extra fees will be incurred. Upon completion of certain requirements, you will be eligable for a 3 birth apprenticeship period with Lesley or another Motherwit Doula, if you so desire, at an additional cost.

Details: As doulas promote attachment parenting whenever possible, nursing babies are always welcome to attend trainings with their mothers. For very attached toddlers, mothers may bring a childcare provider with them in order to allow her to study thoughout the day. Caregivers and other children are welcome to join us for breaks and meals. The house can comfortably accommodate about 12 people, but there is another house nearby available if extra space is needed for those who are bringing children and support people. Birth video and storytelling time are not mandatory, but are an enriching experience for participants, and encouraged whenever possible.

There will be plenty of time to ask questions and share experiences, so Lesley asks that we allow the teaching to flow according to its schedule as much as we can in order to cover the massive amounts of information you will be learning. Burning questions will always be answered.

Please feel free to leave or wander the room in order to meet the needs of fussy babies.

Cost: The cost will depend upon the number of participants, the maximum amount being 15. Five and under participants will cost $1200, 6 to 10 participants will cost $1050, and 10 to 15 will cost $950. If accommodation is required, the cost is $200 per trainee, which includes your sleeping quarters, as well as breakfast, lunch, and snacks. If you are bringing a partner/caregiver with you as well, there will be an additional cost of $100 for their accommodation and meals.

Dinner will be provided by participants. Dinner and cleanup duty will be required on one of the workshop evenings. Meals can be prepared in advance and brought frozen from home, or you can bring groceries to make a dish at the house. We ask that you make extra in order to stock the freezer of the very lovely and generous 93 year old lady who is allowing us to use her home for this training.

There will be a non refundable $25 registration fee. Upon being accepted into this program (an interview is required, in person if possible, if not, by phone is fine), you will be asked to send a deposit of $550 to Motherwit Doula Training. If you are unable to attend and have to cancel before June 15th, your deposit will be refunded fully, or, if you wish, applied as credit towards future trainings or services. If you cancel after June 15th, $400 will be refunded to you. The remainder of the fee will be absolutely due the day the training begins. Once all participants are registered, we will let you know what the exact amount will be. Payments can be made by Interac Email Transfer, Money Order, PayPal, or Cash (upon arrival at training).


Day 1: July 18th

9:00am to 1:00pm
 Introductions
 Normal Pregnancy, Birth and Breastfeeding Anatomy and Physiology

2:00pm to 5:00pm
 Profile of a Doula
 Comparing Mainstream vs. Doula views of Prenatal Education, Birth Support, and Postpartum Support
 The Doula’s Role in Holding Pain in the Childbearing Year
 The Doula as a Change Agent of Modern Birth Culture

6:30pm to 8:00pm
 Dinner and clean up

 Birth video, discussion

Day 2: July 19th

9:00am to 1:00pm
 The Doula’s Toolkit: An Overview of Holistic Healing Modalities
Before continuing with our work in doula support, we will explore some of the tools doulas use to facilitate a smoother childbearing year. We will look at healing from different points of view, and study energy anatomy, nourishment, breath, herbs, and essential oils. We will be touching, smelling, and tasting, listening to what these medicines have to tell us.

2:00pm to 5:00pm
 The Doula’s Toolkit: An Overview of Holistic Healing Modalities Continued
Homeopathy, touch, emotional processing, intuition, guided imagery, and ceremony will be explored as ways to help create more clarity for the woman in her childbearing year, allowing her greater access to her internal resources. We will do exercises which will demonstrate each modality, and create opportunities for you to learn about yourselves as well.

6:30pm to 8:00pm
 Dinner and cleanup

8:00pm to 10:00pm
 Birth videos and storytelling

Day 3: July 20th

9:00am to 1:00pm
 Principles of Fetal Positioning
 Palpation
 Doula Support for Normal Pregnancy
 Doula Support for Normal Labour and Birth
We will be using real live bellies for palpation, and will do hands-on labour support using the tools we learned on Day 2. We will also learn about tools birth clinicians use to monitor the mother and baby’s wellbeing.

2:00pm to 5:00pm
 Doula Support for Normal Labour and Birth Continued
 Doula Support for Normal Breastfeeding
Nursing babies are asked to show off their skills for demonstration

6:30pm to 8:00pm
 Dinner and cleanup

Evening Off

Day 4: July 21st

9:00am to 1:00pm
 Doula Support for Pregnancy and Birth Challenges
We will discuss common pregnancy/birth challenges, and discuss the benefits, risks, and alternatives to common treatments. Special situations like breech birth, VBAC, and multiple birth will also be discussed
 Grace Under Fire: Using Diplomacy to Deal with Challenging Hospital Routines and Staff

6:30pm to 8:00pm
 Dinner and cleanup

8:00pm to 10:00pm
 Birth videos and storytelling

Day 5: July 22nd

9:00am to 1:00pm
 Birth as Teacher, Birth as Healer
We will discuss Birth as an energy which both teaches and heals, as well as explore some of our own fears about birth.
 Loss and Grief
 Doula Support for Breastfeeding and Postpartum Challenges

2:00pm to 5:00pm
 Doula Support for Breastfeeding and Postpartum Challenges Continued
 Role Playing

6:30pm to 8:00pm
 Dinner and cleanup

8:00pm to-10:00pm
 Talking stick and discussion of how you’d like to share your new skills in your community.

Day 6: July 23rd

9:00am to 1:00pm
 Caring for Yourself as a Doula
 Creating Boundaries
 Dealing With Challenging Clientelle
 Conducting Your Pre/Post Natal Meetings

2:30pm to 5:00pm
 Managing Your Doula Practice: Payment, Paperwork, and Publicity
 A Doula Rite of Passage Ceremony
On this last day, we will take a longer lunch period to ensure we are packed up and ready to leave after class has ended. We will finish up at 5pm.

About the Motherwit Trainer: Lesley Everest has been a doula for 16 years. She is a mother of four children. She has provided professional doula training for nearly seven years.

Lesley brings to her doula and training work nearly two decades of education and practice in holistic healing. She is a certified Polarity practitioner, a certified Pre-Perinatal Massage Practitioner, professionally trained in Psychosynthesis Psychotherapy, and a former La Leche League Leader. She has attended hundreds of women thoughout their childbearing and mothering experiences.

Her doula practice includes approximately 50 to 65 births per year, and between 4 and 12 apprenticeships per year. She is the founder and director of Motherwith Doula Care Services.

Future projects include providing doula training to nurses and medical students/residents, and writing a doula’s guide to childbirth.

For an application or for further info please email