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Gentle Spirit Doulas...
History/Background

SUPPORT GROUP
Gentle Spirit Doulas (GSD) "officially" formed with three members in March 1999 as we prepared to publish our first newsletter. We've held monthly meetings since in an effort to provide an atmosphere of encouragement, goodwill, accountability, and promotion of doulas in the community. GSD sponsors local doula trainings annually. Over the years we have ministered and mentored over 25 doulas. Organizing GSD into a DONA member group finally became a reality in January 2001. We continue to identify and implement leadership opportunities for doulas within GSD.
 
NEWSLETTER
Local
GSD published its first issue of Mother to Mother in April 1999. Mother to Mother features a variety of birth stories, breastfeeding information and experiences, and beautiful photography for new and expectant parents. Published quarterly, the newsletter is distributed free of charge to area OB/GYN offices, hospitals, childbirth educators, pediatric offices, libraries, crisis pregnancy centers, and children's consignment shops. GSD believes God is using this publication to open the eyes of parents and to challenge them to confidently experience childbirth as He designed it.
National
The newsletter layout is available to doulas and/or doula groups for spreading the word about doula care to other communities. In addition to the Treasure Coast of Florida, Mother to Mother has been published locally in Melbourne, FL, Jacksonville, FL, and Lynchburg, VA.
 
INTERNATIONAL DOULA MONTH
May is International Doula Month, and GSD participates by offering a variety of events and give-aways, i.e. free doula assisted births, garage sale/fund raisers, local media coverage of doulas, donation of rice socks to the Womens Center and books to Blake Library.
 
COMMUNITY OUTREACH
Teen Outreach
Contacts with the Martin County Health Department are established to provide doula care and baby care education for Hispanic teen moms from Indiantown, FL. Expansion of this program to other locations is currently being explored.
Contributions to Community Groups
In the past, GSD has contributed free doula assisted births to the Martin County YMCA Annual Auction, Montessori School, Hobe Sound Christian Academy Annual Auction, and Treasure Coast Breastfeeding Task Force Annual Photo Contest.
Martin County Fair
The county fair has offered GSD an excellent opportunity to present the benefits of doulas to the community. During our second year, GSD hosted the official Fair breastfeeding/diaper changing station. In 2001, GSDs doula booth won a 2nd place ribbon in the Health Division.
5th Annual Holiday Cookie Distribution
In celebration of the holiday season, GSD distributes over 30 homemade cookie trays to local doctor/midwife offices, labor/delivery floors of three local hospitals, and various other medical and/or birth related groups. With the support of these groups, doulas have become a mainstay in the birth arena on the Treasure Coast, serving birthing women in their time of need.