You’ll be surprised to learn what doula training has in common with one of the newest inmates at Litchfield Prison for Women.
Are you guys as into Orange is the New Black as I am?
Since a lot of my time is spent teaching the fabulous doula students of the International Doula Institute, I’m still only a few episodes into the most recent season. In the midst of keeping up with the ladies of Litchfield, a short, seemingly insignificant scene caught my attention. For a brief moment, my doula training life and my TV watching life collided.
Early in episode five, new inmate, Abduallah, is seen relaxing in her bunk reading the book Emotional Intelligence 2.0!
Current International Doula Institute students should be familiar with this book (and if not, you will be soon!). For both birth doula training and postpartum doula training, we devote an entire section to understanding emotional intelligence.
So, what exactly is “emotional intelligence” and why is it so important?
From the International Doula Institute:
“Emotional Intelligence is your ability to understand, control, and express your emotions. It’s your ability to provide empathy to others and to understand your own reactions as well as the emotional responses of them.”
Having a high emotional intelligence helps you in your interpersonal relationships. In addition to having a better understanding of your own emotions and reactions to them, you can more readily understand and respond to the emotions of those around you. Therefore, including emotional intelligence in our doula training was essential.
Being a doula is an intimate job. Whether you are a birth or postpartum doula, you are with a family during a very emotional time in their lives. It is important to keep your own emotions in check and to plan your actions based on what you perceive your client’s emotional needs to be.
You will be with your clients during some of their highest highs and some of their lowest lows, and you are their trusted resource. As their doula, you are uniquely positioned to have a positive, long-lasting impact on their lives. Sometimes, they may not know how to ask for help. Deciphering whether they just need a listening ear, a comforting cup of tea, or someone to hold the baby so they can nap, can make all the difference.
Of course, Emotional Intelligence 2.0 is not just a book for doula training. The skills are transferable to every facet of life. So, whether you’re an inmate at a female prison, an aspiring doula, or anything in-between, this book is a must read.