"The doula is encouraged to assist the DONA International vision of “A doula for every person who wants One,” by providing birth doula services at a reduced cost, if possible, or making appropriate referrals, as available." DONA Standards of Practice
Speaking of Birth, how can we provide more doulas for women in northern New Jersey?
Northern New Jersey Doula Network (@NNJDoulaNet) Student Doula Referral Program is a referral source between local, private, student doulas and women and families in the area who are seeking the pregnancy and childbirth support a doula can offer, but may not otherwise be able to afford it. The doulas service Morristown, Boonton, Newton, Dover, Paterson and East Orange areas (NW NJ) for pregnant and breastfeeding women enrolled in a local Women, Infants & Children (WIC) program, youth, and/or single moms from resilient communities.
NNJDoulaNet Student Doula Referral Program has formed because we wish to connect student doulas seeking certifying births with expectant mothers who want doula support. Since we do not wish to rely on grant funding, the program is largely fueled by NJ student apprentice doulas. One of our goals is to provide new opportunities for apprentice doulas who are required to get experience before getting certified but oftentimes do not know where to start. The affiliates doulas have trained with various organizations including Doula of North America (DONA), Births Arts International (BAI), & Childbirth International (CBI).
NNJDoulaNet Student Doula Referral Program came about after years of trying other approaches - including an attempt with the Partnership and a local hospital, however the red-tape was not conducive to an easy flow between a doula and an expectant mother. We've also seen the challenges of grant programs and we were disappointed when the Hudson Perinatal Partnership Community Doula Program lost funding. We have our fingers crossed (and hope to collaborate with!) the new Community Doula Program that Statewide Parent Advocacy Network (SPAN) is starting as part of their Improving Pregnancy Outcome (IPO) Initiative.*
Our new approach is to put the choice directly into the hands of the woman. To this end, we have started a doulamatch profile and will be promoting the program in offices and organizations throughout northern NJ. We hope by providing a direct link for the birthing women, she will learn about doulas and find her perfect doula.
In the future, NNJDoulaNet hopes to offer professional development for doulas as well as community events and seminars for birthworkers and families. Please let us know if you are a doula or birthworkers who would like to get involved or have a workshop or event you'd like to see brought to the area. Wish us luck!
* Have you seen the numbers?! Spend some time studying New Jersey State Health Assessment Data NJSHAD and you will the rates for black infant mortality for Essex and Union counties is so much higher than the other counties. The numbers are appalling and we all must do something to improve the statistics.
If you'd like to book a doula, please get in touch. Since we are not a grant-funded program, NNJDoulaNet puts you in contact with doulas in our program, and it is up to you to book your doula. To get started, simply contact us at nnjdoulanet @ gmail with your name, estimated due date, hospital where you hope to give birth, and any special details or request about you or your birth, and we will respond to you right away.
Suggested doula fees are as follows:
For births: $25 to $300 (We suggest minimum of $125. to help doula cover childcare costs, meals, and parking but you will need to discuss with your doula.)
The services typically include the following:
- Prenatal visit during last trimester at your clinic or MD office visit
- Continuous attendance at your birth from active labor thru 60-120 minutes postpartum
- Immediate postpartum care at hospital
- Postpartum Weekly phone calls or skype check-ins for up to 4-6 weeks
* Please note: There are no home visits with this referral service.
nnjdoulanet @ gmail
Phone: (917) 676 7177
NNJDoulaNet offers information sessions on different topics, including:
- "What is a doula and how can she support you birth and postpartum?"
- "Comfort in Labor" based on Penny Simkin's "Comfort in Labor: How You Can Help Yourself to a Normal Satisfying Childbirth"
Contact us to set-up a free information session with your organization.
Rachel Connolly-Kwock is a birth photographer and doula based in northern NJ. She greatly valued her time a student doula when she support low-income, single and youth moms, who expressed greatly benefiting from the support she provided. Rachel wishes to help bridge those same working relationships for current student doulas.