When Timberly Washington was selected for the BirthWell Partners’ Work-Study Program in Alabama, Babypalooza was happy to pay for and sponsor her doula training.
“I’ve been passionate about birth work since I was a kid,” says Timberly, who graduated from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in December 2018 with a BS in Public Health and an MS in Biomedical and Health Sciences this year.
“COVID-19 certainly put a spin on things,” Timberly says. “Most of my training took place via Zoom, with two days of hands-on training, social-distancing style, of course.”
That didn’t keep Timberly from making the most of the program and developing relationships along the way.
“A fellow doula trainee would come over to my place every morning for our Zoom classes,” she explains. “It was refreshing to converse with someone just as passionate as I am about birth. To this day, we have become best friends and serve as each other’s back-up doula.”
Through Zoom, Timberly also connected with her instructors and with other trainees.
“I also got used to seeing Dalia and Susan, our doula instructors, and the rest of the trainees’ faces in little boxes on my computer screen,” she says. “We developed a bond that made things seem less distant.”
During her training, Timberly studied evidence-based research on birth, stages of birth, breastfeeding and more to help her learn how to give moms adequate support.
“I learned hands-on labor techniques and how important it is for the baby to be in the optimal position for birth,” Timberly adds.
She says the highlight of her training was learning from a doula of color about the best ways to support women of color during labor.
“Women of color are disproportionately affected by adverse birth outcomes, have higher cesarean section rates, and must fight against the belief that somehow they are immune to pain,” Timberly says. “BirthWell provided us with a safe space to address these issues and form a supportive environment. I feel relieved that BirthWell is equipped with doulas who are allies of women of color and the LGBTQIA+ community.”
Since she was a child, Timberly has known she would grow up to pursue a career in birth work and now she’s prepared to do just that.
“Today, I am a newly deployed doula warrior,” Timberly says, “ready to take on this doula world!”