In May of this year, I tried a crowdfunding experiment using the site GoFundMe. I’ve always been intrigued by Kickstarter and the like; it’s such an interesting model. You spread the investment across a broad number of people, cutting each individual’s financial risk. People get to sign on to help support causes in which they believe, or new product development of interest to them, with no more capital investment than a nice lunch or couple of books or a pair of shoes.
I figured, and then confirmed, that that same functionality was available for personal funding goals. I sat back and looked at the screen for a few minutes, thinking, “Can I do this? SHOULD I do this? Is this something I really want to try?” And then I took a deep breath and signed up.
The campaign was a request for friends and family to, if they felt so inclined, kick in a few bucks toward a wacky idea that’d been pecking at my brain ever since the amazing, doula-assisted birth of my daughter in 2011.
It was nuts, but I couldn’t shake it: I wanted to see if maybe I could be a doula, too.
While formal training probably isn’t mandatory in order to do some very helpful doula work for a laboring Mom, the eternal student inside me couldn’t fathom any other way to go about this. Luckily, Midwest Doula Trainers had a basic doula training scheduled for October and, hilariously, it was even being held in one of my company’s buildings. Seemed pretty fortuitous.
I posted the page on GoFundMe. I listed my goal at $475, which would cover basic doula training, plus a childbirth for doulas course, all while still allowing GoFundMe to take their cut. I figured maybe I’d get a couple donors, maybe $50 toward my training. Maybe $100. Maybe even just offset the cost of a couple books. I posted the page. It was May 16, 2013.
Twelve days and 16 donors later, I was fully funded. Hell, I was MORE than fully funded.
Holy f*ck. Really?
I got donations from friends, family, coworkers; a couple of them were wholly unexpected. All were way more generous than “just a couple bucks.” For twelve days as the donations came in, I reeled at the outpouring of love and support. The comments on their donations — comments of excitement, belief, and faith in me as a prospective doula — absolutely floored me. I felt like I was full of light. I felt like I was lifted up. I felt like a door was opening, and what was beyond was awfully interesting.
So, this is a post of gratitude. I completed my training this past weekend. It was amazing, and I am filled to the brim with the potential of this work as a part of my life. To my 16 benefactors, words are inadequate and they fail me. You know who you are. I know who you are. I will never forget, and I cannot thank you enough.