by Bonita Katz, BA RN ICCE ICBD IAT CLC
Like so many other organizations, ICEA has had to make some adjustments over the last several weeks. I will outline them here, but please know that myself, the Board, and our office staff are always willing to answer questions. All of our email addresses are available under the About tab on the web site.
- ICEA Opinion – ICEA has issued no guidance or opinion on dealing with COVID-19. Please keep in mind that ICEA is an international organization. Guidelines vary around the world. Practice is continually adapting as new evidence becomes available. ICEA still firmly adheres to the principles of informed decision making and evidence-based care, but because this current situation is still developing, we feel it is best to encourage you to follow the guidance you are receiving in your area.
- Recertification – The ICEA Board of Directors understands the challenges we are facing with recertification criteria during this pandemic. If you are due to renew before September 30, 2020 and are concerned with your ability to complete the requirements, please contact our office at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will work with you on alternatives. Now more than ever, educators and doulas are critical for our birthing families and new parents. We value you and what you are doing for the members of your community.
- Birth Observations – Needless to say, receiving permission to observe a hospital birth is increasingly difficult at this time. We do have alternatives that you may use as part of your certification or recertification process. Direct observation has many advantages so we encourage that whenever possible. Please use these alternatives only as needed, not as a first choice.
- Distance learning – Gathering in groups has been discouraged, if not forbidden, in most areas. Many educators have put their classes online. Doulas are virtually supporting their clients. During this time, we have also granted permission for our ICEA Approved Trainers (IATs) to offer workshops online. Again, this is only for a limited period of time, but we felt it was necessary in this current crisis.
In the midst of these many changes, my hope is that each of you is doing well. The work you do supporting new families is needed all the more in times of crisis. The education and encouragement you provide is priceless. I often give these words of advice to new parents: Taking care of you is taking care of the baby. I will turn that around to you now: taking care of you is taking care of others. Some stress is unavoidable just now, but self-care is critical if you are in this for the long haul. Practice some of those relaxation techniques you know so well. Stay well-nourished and well-rested. Ask for support when you need it. (Did you notice I said “when” not “if”?) Again, if you have any questions, please reach out. We want to help you succeed and to support you in any way we can.