The HCBD Haven Certified Bereavement Doula Reading List

Like many other doula certification programs, ours has a reading list. We provide it here so that everyone who is looking for resources on bereavement support can engage with them, whether you’re currently part of our program or not!

Find this list at the St. Louis Public Library here.

Category 1: Birth Education

HCBD Haven Certified Bereavement Doula candidates read The Birth Partner by Penny Simkin. Candidates who have already read The Birth Partner are encouraged to revisit it, through re-reading or through skimming, and consider how the material can be reinterpreted specifically for bereavement births.

Category 2: Grief Education

HCBD Haven Certified Bereavement Doula candidates read Counseling Skills for Companioning the Mourner by Dr. Alan Wolfelt.

Category 3: Cultural Competency – Race

HCBD Haven Certified Bereavement Doula candidates read What God is Honored Here? Writings on Miscarriage and Infant Loss by and for Native Women and Women of Color, an anthology edited by Shannon Gibney and Kao Kalia Yang.

Category 4: Cultural Competency – Spirituality

HCBD Haven Certified Bereavement Doula candidates choose one of the following books to read for certification:

Category 5: History of Birth/Loss Support

HCBD Haven Certified Bereavement Doula candidates read a book specific to the history of loss in their current context (i.e., most U.S.-based candidates read The Myth of the Perfect Pregnancy: A History of Miscarriage in America by Lara Freidenfelds).

Category 6: Children’s Books

Children’s books can be powerful tools, both for children and adults. HCBD Haven Certified Bereavement Doula candidates choose any two of these children’s books to review.

Category 7: Business Strategy and Ethics

HCBD Haven Certified Bereavement Doula candidates read “The Bereavement Doula’s Business Manual” by Dr. Abby Jorgensen. This is available to candidates at no extra cost.

Free resource for clients: Bereaved Parents Community Group

Did you know that there is a free virtual community group that meets monthly, just for parents who have experienced miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant loss?

Every loss parent is warmly and gently invited to join us as we gather for solidarity, ideas-sharing, and presence.

This group is facilitated by Julie McKay and Dr. Abby Jorgensen. We meet on Zoom on the second Monday of each month, at 7pm Central / 8pm Eastern. You can learn more about the group or send your clients to learn more about the group here.

Loss parents, you’re not alone.

A database of children’s books about grief and loss

When children experience a loss, finding ways to help them understand and cope is a crucial part of the grieving process for families. This is where the power of reading comes in. But, there are many, many children’s books about grief, death, and even perinatal loss. No need to find them all; we’ve reviewed them for you.

We carefully curate our database of children’s books to help you find beautifully written and illustrated stories that will help your family discuss difficult topics of grief, death, and perinatal loss. We have evaluated each listed book on its ability to assist bereaved families (especially older siblings and other children) by offering empathic, accurate, and gentle guidance.

The database includes detailed reviews, ratings, and a description of the content and tone—including note of spiritual or religious perspectives. This information helps parents, bereavement doulas, and other support people quickly find the books that are most likely to help them navigate difficult conversations. Thus, our comprehensive guide stands as your supportive companion through the process of finding the children’s book that best fits your situation and your loved ones or clients.

What does it mean to be grief-informed?

“Grief-informed” is a term I use to capture two key elements of
someone’s approach toward other people.

(1) This person anticipates that every person in her or his care may have a history of grief and loss.

(2) This person chooses to speak and act in a way that reflects that possibility of grief and loss.

It can also be applied to an organization’s or group’s approach.

Being grief-informed may require a dramatic overhaul for many of us, as society has taught us to ignore, hide, or shy away from conversations about death (especially the death of a child and prenatal death). And at Haven Bereavement Doulas, we are committed to working together to continue that dramatic overhaul, for ourselves and for our communities.

To cite this page, please reference:

Jorgensen, Abigail. “What does it mean to be grief-informed?”. Bereavement Doulas (blog). January 12, 2024.