Professionalism Amongst Women
At A Sacred Journey, we feel professionalism in any business is a purposeful choice, gender is not part of the equation.
Professionalism in a Women Dominated Field
How Does That Happen?
Written by Lesley Cressman,RECE, CLD, SBD, Reiki Master
Where to Begin
I was asked to write about a situation I have been struggling with for the last year, in the Doula world. I found myself coming back to my Code of Ethics. Today I wrote a rant on Facebook (a little frustrated) standing up for my team and myself, where I asked those who were on my Facebook page just to cause problems, to simply "gain some professionalism and de-friend me" from Facebook! Okay, I was a little bit more upset, but I have to say, I did not swear or lose my cool; I was just very clear on my feelings. Now, I will say there are some incredible Doulas with great business ethics and I resource them all the time...
I run a monthly Red Tent, which is a group of women supporting each other, in a non-denominational format. In my Red Tent, there are women who define themselves as Christian, a Christian Minister, Spiritual, and Pagan. Together we actively find a way of supporting each other. We find a way of sharing our stories and validating each others journey; religion, careers, education and social-economics do not play a roll in our Red Tent. This January, I will have actively ran my Red Tents at A Sacred Journey for the women in our community for two years.
Women Supporting Women, at A Sacred Journey
Personally, I am struggling in this competitive business that seems to be so prevalent in the doula world in our community. Not because I am not business oriented, but because I keep my word and I do not tell rumors about other doulas; in fact, I am the one to ask them about the story and see their response. I have learned that in the name of business, a few doulas have become the "Mean Girls" in the high-school playground.
Doulas have been blacklisted and emotionally hurt, by either half truths or full on lies. This is the part I am struggling with, since when did lies become part of business? How can a doula be an authentic support person for ones clients with all this going on in the background? Hence my struggle,
A Sacred Journey Professionalism
At A Sacred Journey, we define professionalism as the following; let me start by outlining what I wrote for part of our Code of Ethics. “We at a Sacred Journey Collective believe we have an obligation professionally and emotionally, where we have responsibilities to the Mom/Partner/Baby and Siblings, Responsibilities to Extended Families, Responsibilities to Colleagues and to the Profession, and Responsibilities to the Community of Doctors, Midwives and Nurses to uphold the Role of the Doula with every family we serve. We believe when we fail at holding these Codes of Ethics and Standards of Practice we let the whole community down.” (A Sacred Journey Code of Ethics, 2015)
A Sacred Journey Staff
Here is what a few messaged me…
First past client, “When I first met you I was blown away by your professionalism. How many people write their own code of ethics?"
Second client, “You know I simply love you guys. Thanks for keeping my secret about the gender of our baby from the family.”
Third client “Got to love the haters.”
The list keeps going; I have some incredible doulas reaching out privately with words of encouragement and even cute memes. I did share one on my Facebook after blanking out the swear word. However, I do appreciate the thought that came with the meme. What still shocks me is that fact a handful of women can cause such drama. I struggle to understand some of the things they have said and or judge about me, my staff or my company without knowing the facts.
Sacred Journey Team
Code of Ethics on A Sacred Journey
About the Collective at A Sacred Journey
“A Sacred Journey Collective is a group of women who have shown a love of learning, gentle nature, and strong leadership. They display a desire to help the families under their charge transition lightly through the journey of parenthood. As a collective, we have agreed that we will hold ourselves to a higher standard behaviour every day. It is our opinion that raising our expectations for ourselves will contribute to the betterment of the collective, families and our community as a whole.” (A Sacred Journey Code of Ethics, 2015)
“The collective was founded by Lesley Cressman, who is a graduate from the Conestoga College Early Childhood Educator Program; she graduated with Distinction. Where she specialized in Child Development: The Early Years (pregnancy to two years), Family Life, Partnership with Parents, Health Safety & Nutrition 3, and Wellness: The Better, Sociology, Psychology, Group Dynamics, Social Work and the Law, and Social Service Systems. She expanded her education with Reaching In, Reaching Out, 1 and 2 (Resiliency Training) 16 hour certification programs. Lesley took the her in class Labour and Postpartum training....” (A Sacred Journey Code of Ethics, 2015) Following the creation of this document Lesley has become a certified doula.
What is not in the Code of Ethics...
...is the women who work with A Sacred Journey come with their own formal education: Personal Support Worker, BA in Biology, Nutrition, Social Service Worker, Reiki Masters, Pharmaceutical Tech and even a minister. These women all have a love for learning and a desire to hold themselves as professionals. These women truly care about the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice.
Additionally, when we find time to Blog, we use research to support our views. Check out our Blog titled,
STANDARDS OF PRACTICE...
...from A Sacred Journey’s Code of Ethics
Using the framework of the college of ECE and its code of ethics and standards of practice documentation, we support the need for the following six standards. (A Sacred Journey Code of Ethics, 2015)
STANDARD I: Caring and Nurturing Relationships
STANDARD 2: Research-Based Supported Care and Education
STANDARD 3: Safe, Healthy and Supportive Birthing Environments
STANDARD 4: Professional Knowledge and Competence
STANDARD 5: Professional Boundaries and Dual Relationships
STANDARD 6: Confidentiality and Consent to the Release of Information Regarding Mothers and their Families
Following these standards is something the team at A Sacred Journey take to heart. We know that if these standards are not met, we would question, where would we end up. Personally, I despise the beliefs that everything is acceptable in love, war and business; because it simply is not!
Standing on the Shoulders of Giants
In my formal education, we looked at the concept of Standing on the Shoulders of Giants. So here, A Sacred Journey stands as a group of formally educated women in the Social Service, Education and Medical Fields who think. We will stand on the shoulders of giants as we say. We honour our clients’ right to self-determination and ones right to choose, "the freedom to make your own choices"(merriam-webster dictionary).
We know our families do not come to us as empty vessels waiting for us to fill them with knowledge. Our families are coming to us with a whole lifetime of information behind them, and we will help support our families find their way thought their journey. We will be honoured to share our educated based information in an unbiased way to all those we serve.
What I will leave you with is a meme sent from a friend on Facebook in support of my struggles this past year. I will tell you all, the women at a Sacred Journey are a Women's Women and a Faithful Friend!
I am a Women's Women and a Faithful Friend
Love you my ladies at A Sacred Journey to the moon and back, Lesley