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A Different Way of Training Birth Professionals
CBI was born in 1998. At the time, there were few options for training as a doula, childbirth educator or breastfeeding counselor. You could choose a two-day workshop but we were seeing many birth professionals who felt unprepared and ill-equipped for the challenges of their role. We wanted to up the game. To help people feel confident in their skills, knowledgeable, and to be able to learn in a supportive environment. And we wanted to make training and certification more accessible for those who had families, jobs and lives outside their work!
But how to do this? How could we reach people who lived in areas where training wasn’t available? People in rural areas? People who worked full time or didn’t have childcare? People who wanted more than just the basics but wanted to feel prepared, confident and professional in their role? We looked at what skills and competencies were really important in working with birthing families. What really made the difference? What we discovered was that birthing families felt strong and empowered when they had knowledge. But they also needed tools to know how to use that knowledge effectively. And birth professionals needed to have time to not just absorb knowledge or practice a double-hip squeeze, but to reflect on their work, on the choices that clients make, on their own feelings about those choices. Time that just isn’t available in two days! We realized that our training would need to be different. We didn’t just change the rules. We made new ones! We made training a journey rather than a destination. A journey where the focus is on personal growth and building competency, rather than simply receiving a certificate. A journey that pairs students and trainers to walk the path together, for as long as it takes, and access to a global peer community even after you complete your training.
Our first courses in 1998 were for Birth Doulas and Childbirth Educators. In 2008 we added Postpartum Doula and Breastfeeding Counselor courses. Over the past 20 years maternity care has changed. More technology and interventions are used and more rules exist within the health care system.
Technology has also allowed clients to become aware of their options, seek out support, and communicate faster with others. The birth professional world has changed too with people wanting to learn ways to make their businesses successful and take part in lifelong learning to become even more skilled in their work. CBI has risen to these challenges by expanding our course offerings and giving our students, you, more options. Our Business for Birth Professionals course supports you in growing your business. The Trauma-Informed Professional advanced program prepares you to better meet the needs of clients who come to birth and parenting with trauma and to work towards eliminating obstetric violence. Advanced modules on a wide range of topics provide continuing education opportunities for you to develop specialist skills and build your professional portfolio. We have also seen a growing interest in health professionals – midwives, nurses, doctors – wanting to learn more about supporting families effectively and we have responded to this with the launch of professional development programs.
Through all of this growth, we have stayed true to our core values.
- Inclusivity: CBI’s core values have always included the goal of offering a learning platform that is welcoming and inclusive of all individuals. We strive to develop reflection and empathy so our students can interact in their community with dignity and respect for all persons.
- Diversity: We recognize the disparities in health care and outcomes for minority and marginalized groups and seek to be part of the solution to eliminating these through listening, understanding, dialogue, and education. We embrace and celebrate the diversity of humanity and continually seek out diverse perspectives.
- Sustainability: We are committed to social, cultural, environmental, financial and personal sustainability and look for ways to minimize consumption of natural resources, support individuals in fostering healthy communities, and encourage a maintainable work/life integration through flexible employment and study arrangements.
In designing our training programs, we consider flexibility, affordability and an appreciation for the individual and unique needs of each student. We want to ensure that in choosing your training program, you are able to define for yourself what your business will look like and how that business will be run. That you can be successful in your training in a way that is flexible enough to adjust to your priorities and lifestyle, using online learning and adopting new technologies to make this easier for you. Training that enables you to feel supported and strengthened by your peers and trainers as you complete your learning and continue to grow for years to come.
We will always provide courses that identify best-practice, and teach skills that build competencies to support families in a way that enables them to have empowered, positive experiences through the childbearing years. We endorse the World Health Organization in their goal to “ensure that not only do women survive childbirth complications if they arise, but also that they thrive and reach their full potential for health and life” (WHO, 2018). Parents who are educated, supported and respected through this period are more likely to be strong advocates for themselves and their families. When families are healthy, communities are healthy.
You have a vital role to play in this process!
Who are we?
Our team of trainers are the people you will get to know during your training. We are all mothers. Some of us are grandmothers. We all have established businesses as doulas, educators and breastfeeding counselors. We live in four different continents and have extensive experience with different cultures, different families, different outcomes. We all know, firsthand, what it is like to work in hospitals, birthing centers and at homebirths. We understand the challenges of balancing study with work and family. All of us have been through the courses as students ourselves. We are committed to seeing maternity care that puts families first.
When you begin, your trainer will be in touch with you in the first few days to introduce herself. She wants to make sure you don’t feel isolated and will encourage you to make connections within the CBI community as well as your local network. Each time you submit a piece of work she will contact you with feedback and suggestions. Your assignments and evaluations will be reviewed and assessed by your trainer throughout your course. Rather than an anonymous person checking your assignment submissions off a checklist, you will receive personalized feedback with each assignment from your trainer – the person who has gotten to know you and established a relationship with you. (Because you can take as long as you like to complete your training, your trainer may change during your course.)
In summary, we will be there beside you every step of the way – our goal is for you to be successful. And together, we all stand with parents, their babies, and families, across the world. Birth matters.