Enrichment Grant Report: Zoe Toulouse ’16 and Adriana Brau-Diaz ’16

Zoe Toulouse ’16 and Adriana Brau-Diaz ’16 were selected to receive an Enrichment Grant from the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship. With this grant, they attended a weekend-long birth doula training, which will allow them to work as doulas this summer and explore careers in women’s reproductive health down the road. You can read Zoe and Adriana’s reflection below, read past grantee reflections here, and visit the PCSE website to learn more about all of our grant programs.

On the weekend of March 6-8, we completed an introductory birth doula training with Rina Crane in New York City. It was an extremely enlightening experience in which we learned all about the ins and outs of childbirth and being a supportive presence for an expecting and laboring mother. Specifically, we were taught to be active listeners, how to help a woman design a birth plan (for hospital and home births), physical comfort techniques, and how to serve as a mediator between the woman, her partner, family, and medical professionals. The training consisted of a number of group activities and we bonded with other workshop participants. This will be beneficial in the future as we work as doulas and need to create a network in that world.

Additionally, the workshop taught us how to approach the business aspect of the doula profession. We learned about offering birth doula services pro bono initially, and later how to truly build a career out of it. Our trainer Rina Crane has been in the field for over 10 years and was able to provide us with a lot of resources in the New York City area based on the connections she has formed over the years. The workshop reaffirmed our passion for childbirth, babies, and a woman’s wellbeing during this life-changing event.

We plan to carry out what we learned in the workshop this coming summer and further in the future. We strongly believe every expecting mother deserves a doula. This summer, Adriana will be working as a birth doula at Harlem Hospital in New York City, and Zoe will be working as the Women Children Infants intern at Mary’s Center in Washington, DC.