A Bereavement Doula is a doula who is professionally trained on how to support families experiencing loss regardless of what trimester their client is as well as a life-limiting diagnosis for the baby.
This bereavement support includes walking beside the family through their journey, listening, providing options, and giving resources so they can make informed decisions on their and their baby’s care.
The educational program I chose to study under, Stillbirthday states that “The SBD doula is uniquely qualified to provide support in situations of a fatal diagnosis, carrying to term, and NICU care. SBD doulas are equally prepared to provide comprehensive support in live birth outcomes, including subsequent “rainbow” pregnancies, and can serve as a labor support in all birth situations”.
In early 2019, I was hired on to support a family in the first trimester of pregnancy. They were absolutely wonderful and I enjoyed getting to work with them and answer their questions. a few weeks before the second trimester, mama received an ultrasound that I was asked to be present at. I really love getting to be a part of my doula family’s ultrasounds and appointments when they would like me to be.
At this ultrasound, it was found that the baby had passed away. My heart broke for this wonderful family and over this loss. I had also lost a pregnancy within the last few weeks & knew the pain they had to be experiencing. After offering my support however they needed me and hugging them, I said goodbye to them at the door.
Even though I have experienced miscarriages, I felt so unsure what I should do to best support my doula family. I was afraid to text or call them to see how they were doing out of fear that maybe they were doing alright and my text would be a trigger of grief. I wanted to be supportive but I wanted to respect their space as well. I was feeling lost.
Several months later after having the time to process my own loss and my client’s, I decided one way I could honor this family & the baby was to become educated on how to offer support during pregnancy loss and miscarriage. Considering 1/4 pregnancies end in miscarriage, this training should be important to all doulas.
(I do understand that it can be incredibly difficult to train as a bereavement doula if you have experienced the loss of a baby or child. I respect those who are not in a place to do this kind of work because they need time and space to heal)
As I worked through Stillbirthday Universirty’s course chapters, I kept my doula family in mind. I would think, “Oh this is something I could have offered to do for them!” Or “I bet this could have possibly made a beneficial impact for them“.
The Stillbirthday course was incredibly informative & mindful of the student’s potential experiences of loss. I am currently finishing up my final tasks and then will earn my certification. Currently, I feel empowered by the course and capable of supporting families through birth, bereavement, adoption, and postpartum.
I will be sure to update you all once I have officially completed the Stillbirthday curriculum and have earned my Bereavement Doula Certification. I will not be listing myself as an OKC Bereavement doula until my education is completed.
After I have earned my certification as a stillbirthday doula, I will update the services portion of my website to include bereavement support in Oklahoma City.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read my blog about my newest professional certification as a doula! If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to contact me HERE.
Jenni Jenkins – Sekine is an Oklahoma City Bereavement, Birth, & Postpartum doula and Child Birth Educator who serves her Central Oklahoma community. She is also a midwifery assistant with Holistic Birthing Services and began her journey as a student midwife with the Midwives College of Utah in 2022.
To learn more about Jenni, please click here.