Doula work is a fairly new profession in Greece. From 1997 to 2007 there was one Greek doula actively working, and two others (non-Greeks) who were mostly acting as resources for families (not actively working as doulas); all of them had received their training from organizations from abroad. As doula work was not known, supported or referred to by the perinatal field, we do not have more precise data on the number of families they supported.
In 2007 the Natural Birth Organization ‘Eutokia’ organized a postpartum Doula Training Course, out of which came 20 postpartum doulas. About half of them are currently actively working. That doula course was mostly run by midwives and the curriculum did not exactly reflect the universal Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice of the Doula that is now followed by the Greek Doula Association – some clinical tasks were included in the curriculum and there was not enough experience on the doula role in theory and practice.
In 2010 Debra Pascali-Bonaro was invited by personal initiative of two Greek doulas to give a DONA approved birth doula workshop in Athens, out of which came 20 birth doulas. Due to difficulties in being accepted as a doula by the birth community and birth professionals, only a few of them are active – most doulas face difficulties getting practice and experience with birth.
The Greek Doula Association
The Greek Doula Association was created in 2008 by passionate postpartum doulas trained mostly by midwives at the local training course in 2007. The Association became official as an NGO in 2010. Since then, it has increasingly been gaining recognition and is actively involved in the birth community, aiming to support mothers, families and doulas and bridge the communication and collaboration with other professionals in the perinatal fields.
In 2011 an experienced Greek doula was sponsored to become a DONA certified Doula Trainer and with the help of other doulas and doula trainers worldwide, the first Doula Course run by doulas was created in 2012. Since then the Greek Doula Association offers educational opportunities and certification programs for doulas.
The Association participates in birth-related activism, through membership to ENCA Hellas (Greek branch of the European Network of Childbirth Associations – www.enca.info), organizing informational events on the role of doula and general issues on childbirth and birth/postpartum resources, and works on quality programs for trainings, certification, re-certification and on-going education for doulas.