Lamaze International Well-Represented at DONA Conference
I just returned from Cancun, Mexico, where I was attending DONA International’s 18th Annual Conference and helping DONA to celebrate their 20th birthday. I was lucky enough to be selected to present a concurrent session on “The Paperless Doula- Virtual Paperwork Tips and Tricks” and attend many fabulous sessions with international speakers during the four day conference.
During my time at the conference, I was struck by how many familiar Lamaze faces and names I was meeting. I caught up with Ann Grauer, DONA International Director of Education, (and LCCE) and asked her exactly how many Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educators were registered for the 2012 conference. I was surprised to learn that 37 LCCEs were in attendance at this year’s DONA conference! I was so proud to see that Lamaze International was a major sponsor of the 2012 DONA Conference and our presence was everywhere. Lamaze International members and certified educators were Keynote Speakers, Concurrent Session Speakers, serving on the board of directors of DONA and peppered throughout the audience. LCCEs and trainers, Elena Carrillo and Guadalupe Trueba taught a Lamaze workshop before the conference and were the recipients of the Penny Simkin Award this year.
In talking to Ann Grauer, former DONA President, she informed me that when she served in the president’s position in 2005, she required the entire DONA board to take a Lamaze workshop, as she felt that the values and principles of the two organizations were so similar. Being a member and certified by both DONA and Lamaze, I have long been aware of how like minded and compatible both organizations are, but was struck with how closely both these groups support each other, share membership, and have the core principles of supporting normal birth, evidenced based medicine and informed choice for birthing women and their families at their core.
In Cancun, I met up with Lamaze International’s President-Elect, Tara Owens Shuler, MEd, CD(DONA), LCCE, FACCE, for a few minutes, during a break in the conference action, to talk to her about DONA and Lamaze International’s unique relationship. Tara commented that there is a “natural pipeline between the doula and the childbirth educator” and that DONA and Lamaze have had a strong unity and association for a long time. Tara shared how she believes that both organizations are leading the way in working for women and share the common bond of being long time advocates for normal birth.
Tara noted how both DONA and Lamaze are expanding their reach internationally, with both organizations holding workshops and trainings around the globe and making a concerted effort to develop membership beyond North America. Our groups face the same challenges.
Tara shared how this was her first DONA International conference and she was delighted to participate and glad that Lamaze International could have such a strong presence in sponsorship and in participation by members. Tara said that she had a new vision on how strong and committed doulas are and was especially moved by the singing of DONA Nobis Pacem at the closing ceremony of the conference. Tara was struck by how much DONA International had accomplished in the 20 years since it was formed by Penny Simkin, Annie Kennedy, Phyllis and Marshall Klaus and John Kennell.
Tara stated how she hoped that both organizations can continue to collaborate and share resources, as they work to celebrate birth and support women during the childbearing year. I was glad that Tara, a DONA certified doula herself, could come and join in the conference and represent Lamaze in such a professional and graceful manner.
I look forward to learning more about how Lamaze International and DONA International can work together to help promote normal birth, offer support for women during their pregnancies, labors, births and postpartum periods, while furthering the practices that are evidenced based and produce positive outcomes for mothers and babies.
If you are an LCCE and attended the DONA International Conference, please let us know your thoughts and experiences while in Cancun. If you are not an LCCE, did attending the conference encourage you to pursue training with Lamaze? I would love to hear your experiences. Please comment here.