Education and Additional Training:
DONA Approved Birth Doula Workshop, Douglas College - 2013
Gena Kirby Rebozo Certification - 2013
Breastfeeding Basics Online Course - 2013
South Community Birth Program mentorship - 2014
Full DONA Certification status - 2015 - lapsed in 2018
Sacred Pregnancy Certified Instructor Training - 2015
Usui Reiki 1 & 2 Certifications - 2016
Usui Reiki Master Level Certification - 2017
Spinning Babies Workshop - 2017
CPR-C for Doulas - 2017
Organizations and Community Involvement
Doula Services Association of BC - volunteering member since 2013, past KLEF Director 2014-2015
Mid-Island Doulas - co-founder and member 2015 - 2017
South Community Birth Program, Vancouver, BC - Birth Doula in 2014
BCAAFC Doulas for Aboriginal Families Grant Program - approved doula since 2015
Meet Stephanie Cutler, Birth Doula, Reiki Master
People often ask me how I became a doula. I always struggle with how to answer this question because it was never intended to be the incredible career is has become. When I first decided to become a doula, I saw it as a stepping stone to a bigger career in midwifery. I felt drawn to working in health care, and was interested in some of the "alternative" areas of health. I'd been reading first aid books since I was 5 years old for fun, was especially fascinated with childbirth, and at the time of my decision to become a doula, I was working as a Chiropractic Assistant and expecting my first child. I was looking forward to big changes in my future, and was ready to start working towards something more permanent as a career. Starting as a doula was a way to work in birth, see if I liked it, and to get some valuable experience to put toward my midwifery application, all while still being able to stay at home with my baby daughter.
And then I tried it. While on maternity leave, I attended a DONA Approved doula training, did all the reading, took a membership with the Doula Services Association of BC, and attended my first birth. It was incredible, and I quickly found myself becoming passionate about the doula role.
That was 9 years ago. Since then I have supported over 70 families through their birth journey as a doula, and have fallen deeply in love with this work. Over time I have expanded my doula services to include birth pool rentals, and added new skills and tools to my bag such as a TENS machine, rebozo and the Spinning Babies techniques. Then, in June 2016, I completed my Usui Reiki Level 1 Certification, followed by my Level 2 Certification, and finally Master Level in March 2017. Using Reiki feels like more of a calling than a tool, and it has been so incredible to see how this sort of support can enhance the experience of birth. I am also proud to have taken the next step as a professional doula in becoming fully certified through DONA International as of Spring 2015 - this certification lapsed in 2018, and while I am still proud of this accomplishment, I have made the choice not to renew at this time.
I spent my first year as a doula working in the lower mainland with a couple organizations as I built up my skills and experience while also taking private clients. I became a program volunteer doula with the South Community Birth Program, and volunteered as a doula and served on the Board of Directors of the Doula Services Association of BC (DSA). These experiences enabled me to learn quickly with wonderful mentors, and attend a broad variety of births, with midwives, MDs and OBs, at home, in the hospital, and in the OR. After a year working in the lower mainland, my husband and I decided to move back to where he grew up in the Cowichan Valley in 2014. Since then I have been expanding and growing my business and network here, and with 6 other amazing women built an incredible collective that is committed to lovingly serving our community as the Mid Island Doulas. I remained a member of this collective until 2017, when I made the difficult decision to leave in order to find more time to pursue other avenues in my work. I continue to be a a member and volunteer doula of the Doula Services Association, and remained on the Board of Directors for one year after our move to the island. Additionally, I am thrilled to be a part of a somewhat new program on Vancouver Island as an approved doula for the BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres' Doulas for Aboriginal Families Grant Program. I have fallen deeply in love with this beautiful land, and the beautiful people who live here.
As I grew more experienced as a doula, I also began to feel like I wanted to offer more to families planning their births. I started looking into prenatal class options, and eventually found my way to Sacred Pregnancy. While initially I was hesitant about the course - as it felt maybe too "out-there" for the general public - through the training retreat and in the months afterward it became clear that this balanced course is exactly what couples need as they prepare for their baby's birth and their own rebirth as parents. I am thrilled with the new depth of love, and the visible shift away from fear and toward joyful honouring that I am able to witness in the class, in birth, and in the transition beyond. It is a beautiful thing to be able to witness and support families as they deepen their relationships and move toward really celebrating this new time in their lives.
I feel there is so much to be said about the value of having calm, experienced support for both the birth-giver and their partner, and it is truly amazing to see how much a little love can impact a birth. Emotions and spirit are not just an optional part of birth, they are a vital part of the process, and I am passionate about helping my clients address this, and learn about all the options they have for a better, easier birth. When families are able to truly choose what they want for themselves, and are supported and loved in it, the space is held for their birth to unfold in a beautiful, sacred way, regardless of where it is or what it looks like.
I am grateful every day for the blessing of being a doula, and can't wait to see what this incredible career will bring me to next.