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Certifications & Birthwork | Showing Up Authentically in Traditional Roles


My friend and fellow postpartum doula Neena Brunngraeber, of Great North Postpartum and I got talking one day about about licensure in birthwork. From there, we spiraled into the beginning of an introspective conversation

about what it means to show up authentically in birthwork.


It turns out we had both been sitting with this individually: How certification or licensure may or may not align with how one serves mothers and families.


Long story short, we decided that this was a conversation that we wanted to share with you.


Neena and I both serve women virtually and local to Michigan's Upper Peninsula, her in the central UP near Marquette, and I on the western end near Ironwood. We both also serve throughout the childbearing spectrum, with a large emphasis on the postpartum period. Having this shared experience of working in famously rural, rustic communities, we are often brainstorm about the needs of local mothers and how to support families in efficiently accessing available resources - including our doula services.


As of January 1, 2023, the State of Michigan implemented the Doula Medicaid Project, estabished by the National Health Law Program. This project allows medicaid reimbursement for doula services with the intention of increasing accessibility to doulas, therefore improving maternal health outcomes. Michigan is one of the handful of states that has officially implemented this doula initiative. While we agree that this well-intended program is a stepping stone in addressing maternal health disparities, only doulas actively certified by specific organizations are eligible, & we have some intuitive hesitations about it.



Watch Our IG Live Replay:


In this Live, Neena & I bring peace to our internal conflicts with the doula initiative program, including

  • addressing internal conflicts with certifications, certifying agencies, their teachings and requirements


  • choosing tools and perspectives that broaden your horizon without compromising your integrity


  • historic social conditioning around certification and licensure and how that intentionally results in the eradication of valuable traditional healers


  • sharing your unique gifts with the world while maintaining accessibility for your community.


  • how all of this and more shows up in our work and in our personal lives.






Notable Links:









Connect with Birthworkers | Upper Peninsula of Michigan:





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