The story of bebo mia starts off on a very similar path to many other doulas. The co-founders, Bianca & Natasha, had trained with different organizations but our experience was similar. Both of us finished those weekends with the same sinking feeling in our stomach and the same thoughts in our head, ‘What now?!’. We were not trained in business and we had very few connections with the then very cliquey birthing community. We had no idea how to find clients, and even when we did, who would support US when we stepped foot in a birth room for our first time?
We were alone in a big birth world trying to find our groove when instead we found each other while setting up our booths at a local trade show. Instantly we hit it off (the yin to my yang we always say!) and the foundation of bebo mia began to take shape.
Sharing an absolute love for supporting new parents we put our head down and worked our tushes off to take care of every family that came our way.
We are not going to lie, the business side was challenging and the years that followed were sloppy and clumsy and (bleeping) hard. We learned through trial and error, making more mistakes than we would ever truly admit. We lost partners, friends, money, time….. and somehow we pushed through. We kept working until we got it right (we like to call that grit) and we opened the first doula agency in Canada. We started with $25 to invest and a mountain of sweat equity. We began hiring and mentoring doulas so they could focus on the work that they love and we became a 6 figure business in just under one year!
Comically, most business meetings, interviews, photoshoots, and staff get-togethers were done with babies in arms or toddlers pulling at the executive team’s pants. Meetings with the accountant and lawyers were completed with babies at the breast, or slightly older children spilling juice across important documents found on the table. The really challenging times were when we were also doing client care. There was a two and a half year period where we each had 1 or 2 births a week while still running the company and taking care of our family. Some days were overwhelming but we had a goal and we just kept going!
More and more doulas were coming to us for training, and more and more we were pulled toward doing this work. So we decided to make it official and we opened the doors to our Maternal Support Practitioner training program, both in house and later and online in our live classroom.
When we moved online we were scared that we would lose the ‘touch’ that we had created in their brick and mortar space. What we were delighted to learn was that we actually created MORE connection in the digital space. People from around the world joined the programs and shared their culture and wisdom with everyone. Everyone had 24/7 access to one another. We now have students in over 23 countries!
We also discovered that the pregnancy and birth trainings and businesses out there were predominantly based on a heteronormative, cis-gendered, able bodied, thin, white, middle class model. Actually, what was even more prevalent was that these businesses were using an antiquated entrepreneurship model and it simply did not work for us.
We wanted to create an organization where all bodies and all people would be represented and honoured. We wanted to create an organization that embodied holistic advocacy. We are the first doula training organization to remove gendered language from our teaching manuals & slides. We are the first doula training to add a land acknowledgment at the beginning of our programs and followed it up by connecting with Indigenous communities to learn what needs they can fulfill as a training organization. And we are the only doula training that has introduced a plan to offer online group therapy to support our students as they process their own trauma(s) while learning.
For those doulas who already completed training and wanted a business jump start, we launched our online Doula Business School which matured into the Don’t Doula it Yourself Business Membership. Through both programs we support/mentor doulas & other birth professionals. Whether they are just in ideation stages, or they are setting up an agency, we hold their hands and help them through.
Since moving our doula training online, we have expanded our programs to include:
Although our business has changed over the years, our mission as a company (the one we first wrote down all those years ago) has not changed one bit. We want to connect women* with their intrinsic value and power. We don’t want another doula to leave their training feeling lost and overwhelmed, or worse, give up. We never want to see another doula (or any other birth professional) give up because they don’t have the support they need. We love, love, love getting up each morning and doing this work. We cannot imagine doing anything else that would feel as rewarding or meaningful as this.
So, if you are sitting there wondering if you can make a living doing what you love, the answer is YES! And if you need support along the way, we are here for you!