aDventures in Doula-ing

Doula Project Progress & Needs


We’ve done a little switch-a-roo as to who is the largest stakeholder in this project. Originally it was the hospital, as they and I were the only players, but through yet another God-provided turn, we have all agreed the Siphilile: Child and Maternal Health NGO would instead complete the proposal, receive the funds yall are donating in order to pay the salary of 12 mentor mothers. Their fantastic project coordinator (who happens to be a midwife!) will supervise the 12 new doulas. This organization is committed to excellence and does some amazing work! Check them out at: http://www.siphilile.org/mentor-mothers.html
 

The mentor mothers support families in their communities


 Anyone who talks with me can hear the awe in my voice at how we were connected to Siphilile. There is NO WAY I could have dreamed up any better people to work with. It is the perfect fit I didn’t even have eyes to see. Dare we whisper the Lord could be involved here? In a hushed voice, I praise Him! 
The next 6 weeks will be busy. Proposals completed, funding needs to be released, training plans finalized, materials printed, funding secured, doulas recruited, and everything else it takes to train 12 mentor mothers, 1 project coordinator and 2 midwives. We are so close to having quality doula care provided in RFM’s maternity ward. The joy of the mothers’ attended by our new doulas will be something you hear ringing from the hilltops of Swaziland. Their joy will trickle down. . . 

into their families . . . 

into a passion to mother their children well.  . .

 into a knowledge on how to breastfeed. . . 

into a place of sharing and teaching other pregnant women. . . 

into every nook and cranny of society. That we proclaim will be true! 

I envision that the group of people to sponsor this project will be women and families in the USA who know the intense relief and service a doula provides! 

We have only $4,860 left to raise to fuel this awesomeness for ONE YEAR. 

The average cost of a doula (in the USA) is $500. 

What if you donated in direct correlation to that average cost? Instead of hiring your OWN doula for YOUR birth, you’d be hiring a doula for the births of approximately 200 women! Two hundred! You’d be paying the monthly part time stipend of one Swazi doula.

What an incredible gift. What a joy. What a way to pay it forward, friends. 

When the Spirit Moves or the Mood Strikes, please donate by:

1. sending a tax deductible check to: Manna Global Ministries; PO Box 9240; Riviera Beach, FL 33419

– write the check to: Manna – Swaziland; please include a sticky note that says, “Doula Project”

2. clicking the link “Donate” on the sidebar of this page. (Please note Paypal charges a 3% processing fee and is not tax deductible)

Categories: aDventures in Doula-ing, Kingdom Coming Related, Swaziland Updates | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

12 Doulas, 1 Year, How Many Lives Changed?


  
A doula is a childbirth assistant who provides informational, physical and emotional support before, during, and shortly after labor. These women are a growing trend and necessity in the United States and the western world. But what about Swaziland? 

Before my OB friend, Dr. Bob introduced the idea of doula to RFM, the medical staff had never heard of or worked with a doula. After some months of me doula-ing in the ward, the idea was catching. 

Why Does Swaziland Need Doulas?

Honestly y’all, you might be appalled if you walked into the Labor Ward. It’s an open area, with 3 short (pushing) beds about 2.5 feet away from each other. No screens. No walls dividing. So if you delivered here, you would have 2 other strangers laboring and pushing (naked) beside you. By the time you enter the labor Ward, you’d be expected to know about contractions, bloody shows, how to push and anything else that goes along with it. But you live in a country with limited literature describing these aspects of birth in your native tongue. The clinics you visit for prenatal education are overcrowded and understaffed, so the nurses don’t have time to answer your questions, nor is it really acceptable for you to HAVE questions to ask. You need to know things, but your girlfriends and best case scenario an experienced mom will probably tell you “it hurts” and “the baby comes out here,” with some gesturing. You’ll watch your belly grow and wonder if you’ll be one of other women whose baby is delivered in a khumbi (minibus), or at 11 months, or without medical assistance because the ambulance wasn’t available. 

In my time as a doula, I found one of the most influential components to my work was knowledge. With knowledge and no doula, clients would report: 

Thank you so much. The birth was great. I wasn’t afraid. I remembered what you told me, so when the contractions came regulary, I went to the hospital. Everything was good! It happened just like you said it would!

And tiny bundles would be presented to me with requests for information about breastfeeding. 

If there was limited knowledge, but a doula present during labor, at best she’d have a companion who could translate what the nurses said in layman’s terms, give her water, tell her what “you’re 6 cms” means along with other invaluable information and encouragements. With knowledge, i watched scared girls transform into focused warrior-moms. With knowledge comes empowerment. The birthing room is no different. 

Why THIS Program Will Change Things 

I’m so excited that Siphilile and I met! Our vision for this project would flop without the right women as doulas. We need women with compassion, education, resolve, and understanding of birth. Ideally we need women who know how to teach and counsel someone, build trust and already do this in some capacity in their lives. 

Siphilile’s mentor mothers are each given a section of town to cover, 1 month of training, and a backpack with a scale in it. Each day they visit families, screen for Tb, assess malnourished children; educate about health and hugiene, safe sex and pregnancy nutrition. In short, the mentor mothers are doulas on steroids who just never make it into the labor Ward. . . Until now! 

I could not have dreamed of a more perfect organization or group of women to vanguard this project!

What’s Left? 

We have raised 35% of our yearly budget. Keep in mind this will employee 12women part time for a year! We only need $5,520 more! 😳 

✔️ Have you or did you have access to helpful childbirth education classes? Please consider giving that same opportunity to Swaziland’s  women. (Doulas heavily educate mothers on nutrition, pregnancy, labor, delivery, and carrying for a newborn.)

✔️ do you wish you’d had access to helpful childbirth education classes?? Consider helping these women. 

✔️Was your doula invaluable at your delivery? Could you share that chance with countless women who cannot provide that themselves?

✔️ Wish you’d heard of a doula when you had kids? Now you have! Consider donating so, others have that chance! 

You can donate by:
1. sending a tax deductible check to: Manna Global Ministries; PO Box 9240; Riviera Beach, FL 33419

– write the check to: Manna – Swaziland; please include a sticky note that says, “Doula Project”

2. clicking the link “Donate” on the sidebar of this page. Please note Paypal charges a 3% processing fee and is not tax deductible

I look forward to connecting with many of you while we’re in the States in 10 days!😄🎉 

Categories: aDventures in Doula-ing, Kingdom Coming Related, Swaziland Updates | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

An Overview of Last Week’s Doula Meetings


Forgive me for not adding too much flair and zest to this update. I want to share the updates, but nothing is too fancy.

Here’s an overview of the last week:

Tuesday – I had a fantastic meeting with the CEO of Siphililie, a Mentor Mother’s program based in Matsapha, Swaziland. Their 45 mentor mothers each have a designated section of the town that they cover. Being mentors, they connect with people, assess family healthy needs, offer counseling on hygiene, HIV transmission, TB prevention, as well as prenatal counseling and constant encouragement for ill or HIV positive folks to frequent the clinic.

When I was speaking with the CEO, I thought these women would make perfect doulas! We had a stimulating, collaborative conversation with the following conclusion: Siphilile will sponsor 8 part-time doulas. They will partner with this Doula Swaziland project fully – including letting their mentor mothers apply as doulas, and all doulas can attend the Siphilile monthly training meetings, as well as, be involved in the initial month-long training. 

This partnership is beyond exeptional and could be the difference in the success and failure over the long-term. Woo hoo!

During the week – I furiously researched, read articles, perused grant applications, and created Manna’s official grant application complete with 6 pages of instructions, and 7 pages of information needed. I really worked hard to ensure this grant application will be a tool that propels the project forward, and additionally walks participants through all expected needs. Once this is complete, I imagine things can fall into place quite nicely!

Friday – There was a stakeholders’ meeting at RFM hospital, which included the CMO, myself, a midwife from the labor ward, another volunteer doula, and several representatives from different departments in the hospital. We discussed how to further the project, budget, implementation logistics, and even set a date. We hope to be training our first set of doulas by April 1, 2016. Our work is cut out for us with the holidays coming up! With diligence and a lot of grace, I’m certain we can make it.

I will not lie. This task is daunting, and I think I rushed into some aspects a bit too quickly. I realized that on Friday at our meeting, but we are communicating the necessary changes and wait to see how the Lord will deliver us. Remember when I declared that I’m in over my head!Yes, I still feel that way.

What’s Next?

  • RFM and I need to lay out each groups’ roles; complete an MOU, which I had no idea about until 10 days ago
  • RFM will complete Manna’s grant application
  • The committee will secure a trainer and tentative dates
  • All three parties – RFM, Manna/me, and Siphilile – must decide on their on involvement, roles, and responsibilities (easier written than done)
  • and the Lord only knows what else!

Funding

We’re raising $8,500. Several pledges have been made, so our current needs are only $7,970 left! Two donors are gifting a donation to Doula Swaziland in honor of a family member for Christmas. What a magnificent gift that will give multiple times over!

A reminder of how to partner with us:

You can pledge your donation by emailing me at boehrig2@gmail.com

OR you can donate by:

  1. sending a tax deductible check to: Manna Global Ministries; PO Box 9240; Riviera Beach, FL 33419

– write the check to: Manna – Swaziland; please include a sticky note that says, “Doula Project

2. clicking the link “Donate” on the sidebar of this page. Please note Paypal charges a 3% processing fee and is not tax deductible

 

Categories: aDventures in Doula-ing, Swaziland Updates | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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