With over 20 professionally trained doula volunteers, we offer non-clinical support to any family requesting our help. We have assisted over 150 families to date and continue to work as a valued team member to the medical staff at Balboa Hospital as an added layer of support to military families. We are a 100% volunteer program under the Military Birth Resource Network, a 501(c)(3) organization with only one goal, to support military families. Your donation will help us operate and provide support for families around the world.
What does operation doula provide?
Operation Doula provides doula support as an option for any family delivering at Balboa Hospital in San Diego on an as available basis once a mom is admitted and in active labor. The doulas within the network are trained by a national or internationally recognized organization. The birth professionals listed have endorsed the Military Birth Resource Network's Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice and adhere to the guidelines set forth by Operation Doula for volunteers. These professionals endorse our goal to make a positive difference for pregnant women, new mothers, and their families through education, nurturing, and advocacy while fostering respect, knowledge, and integrity among professionals everywhere. Volunteer doulas are an option for any family
Why we started
Operation Doula began from the heart of two women, a Doula and a Midwife. They shared the same dream, to provide labor and birth support to a community of women with a higher than average need for support who had limited resources to obtain that support. As a military spouse and a doula, Maria Provencher was excited to partner with Midwife and Professor Sherry Kari, CNM, MSN.
Sherry had worked as a midwife at Balboa Hospital prior to her work as a Professor at SDSU’s School of Nursing. With their backgrounds and shared passion, they soon developed the program for Naval Medical Center San Diego, known as Balboa Hospital and went to work gathering volunteers.
In August of 2016 we welcomed our first Operation Doula baby into the world, little Daniella.
Daniella’s Mom arrived at the hospital in labor, completely alone, Dad was deployed and her family lived outside of the U.S. Maria met her at Balboa and they worked together with quiet love and support until Daniella arrived. It was a beautiful birth and the perfect way to begin our program’s journey helping others. We recently celebrated Daniella’s birthday and today we have over 20 active volunteer doulas along with the support and encouragement of the wonderful staff at Balboa Hospital.
Locations and How to Connect
Currently, Operation Doula is only offered at Balboa Naval Hospital in San Diego, California.
To learn more about how to become a volunteer doula through Operation Doula San Diego or receive doula support at this location please email Maria at Operationdoula@gmail.com
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Balboa Physician –“Thank you for being a supportive, active participant and advocate for our patients. We really enjoy the collaborative efforts to help achieve a healthy, happy, and safe delivery.”
Balboa Certified Nurse Midwife – “The doulas are extenders to our team and add value to our staff. The most significant effect experienced by our military laboring women is the visual relief seen when they know they aren’t going to be alone.”
Balboa Mom –“Thank you from the bottom of my heart for starting Operation Doula. The volunteer doula was a calming presence in the delivery room and I’m so thankful she was there. I want to also thank you for each of our phone conversations. Each time we spoke, I felt more informed, more at ease, and filled with information about pregnancy, labor, and nursing. Blessings and many thanks.”
Private Client & Military Spouse –“Thank you for comforting me and calming me down when I was in labor at home and at the hospital. We appreciate you giving me tips on how to relax and how to push. We love all of the pics you took of my baby girl. Thank you for everything you do for military families. It was really nice knowing you and the difference you make. We really appreciate the work you do, you are an amazing person. It was a pleasure to have you at the most precious moment of my life.”
Balboa L&D Nurse –“The doulas are simply AMAZING!!! Our patients love the special touch they provide. They are always caring and gentle. They make the patients and family feel special and cared for. The doulas offer a support option to assist women through the labor process and also assist staff with anything they need. AWESOME JOB!!!”
Balboa L&D Nurse –“I am one of the Staff Nurses and I can’t thank the doulas enough for helping support our patients in their labors. I feel comfortable and confident with my patient’s pain when I can help them with medications and epidurals. When they decide to go natural, it’s a different story. I am always relieved when I see a doula walk through our doors and know that they are going to help support my patient in ways I am often too busy to help with! Thank you to those in the volunteer program, what a wonderful idea for those with little support in the San Diego area!”
Maria Provencher Program Coordinator & Co-Founder Operation Doula
In 2015, when Maria was presented with the opportunity to create a volunteer doula program at Balboa Hospital, the word yes was spoken very quickly. As a doula and a Navy spouse, she knew the timing was right and that she was the person to do it. Her 25 years as a doula had been spent as a volunteer for underserved families. Her dream was to bring doula support to families who needed it but who could not afford to hire a doula. She has served teens, low-income families, immigrants, refugee communities, and military families. She believes that doula support should not only be available to the financially fortunate. She is joined by a group of fellow doulas who are just as passionate about birth support as she is.