5 reasons why every doula should strengthen their bereavement support skills

Not every doula should become a bereavement doula.

But you should strengthen your bereavement support skills anyway.

Here are five reasons why:

  1. You’re going to support families through bereavement, whether you want to or not. If you do this work long enough, you are going to encounter miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant loss. For some of us, it’s at our first birth. For others, it’s our one hundredth birth. But perinatal loss is the reality that many families face, so as a doula, it’s only a matter of time before you will face it as well.
  2. If you’re going to provide bereavement support, it’s important to do it well. We can do a lot of damage when we guess or pretend we know things. That’s true in any support role; it may be especially true when we support someone through grief.
  3. Families who have experienced a loss previously may be looking for a doula – and you can demonstrate your commitment to them and other loss families through your grief-informed practice. Families expecting after a loss may specifically seek someone who has an idea of what they’ve gone through – and is ready and willing to help them with the emotions, difficulties, and joys of a rainbow pregnancy.
  4. You’re most ready to support a family through a loss or after a loss if you’ve prepared for it. That means that ideally we all strengthen our bereavement skills BEFORE we need them. Level up your grief defaults by taking a Basics of Bereavement Support class, or a Caring for Clients through Loss class, BEFORE you need to have already taken it. (These are accredited for continuing education hours through DONA International, so they can also help you prepare for recertification.)
  5. Bereavement support skills apply in any situation of loss, not just the loss of a little one. If someone has a kind of birth they didn’t want, or loses a loved one or coworker during pregnancy, or experiences a life change they weren’t expecting, your bereavement support skills will be immediately applicable and helpful.

Don’t delay on strengthening your instincts and expanding your toolkit. Join us in one of our HCBD Haven Certified Bereavement Doula trainings, or sign up for free tips through our newsletter, today.