Almost every single time that we interview with a potential client, Christine and I are asked why we became doulas? Why do this work? It seems a little crazy on paper: being on call all the time, leaving for work and having no idea when you'll be home, spending hours on your feet and only taking bathroom and snack breaks if it's an appropriate time to do so, investing so much of yourself emotionally and physically in someone else's dream, learning to swallow your ego and navigate the politics of the birth room, and on.
Perhaps it's a little cheesy to say it, but cheesy or not, it's true - birth doula work is a calling. It is not something that Christine or I could stop doing. Even if we were in a season of our life where we were unable to physically support clients in labor, we would find a way to support women - answering questions for friends, connecting people who cross our path with resources they might need, spending time on pregnancy and parenting boards and forums. It is our nature to offer support. It is our passion to offer support to women who are pregnant or birthing.
And it's a rush! There's nothing quite like the oxytocin high you ride after attending a birth. It's true - you fall a little bit in love with every single one of your clients. With that much oxytocin flowing in a birth room, it's hard not to be swept up in it.
We also joke that this is a great job because every time we go to work, it's somebody's birthday. Cake for all!
More than that though, if you are open to it, this job will also provide incredible avenues of personal growth. You will come face to face with parts of yourself that you may not have been aware of, some beautiful and some dark. You'll discover things about your values, beliefs, preferences, ability to communicate, that you may or may not have discovered under any other circumstances.
Sometimes this discovering is a painful process. Sometimes you take a break from supporting women while you struggle to grow. It can be hard. As Glennon from Momastery (one of my favorite bloggers) says, just because it's hard, doesn't mean you're doing it wrong, sometimes it's just hard. I would say that sometimes when it's hard, it's because you're doing it right. As we tell our clients, sometimes the only way out, is through.
We give a lot in this work. We also get a lot back. So it may not make sense on paper, but in the birth room, in the sway of a laboring mother's hips, in the sounds of her breath, her moans, her cries, in the strength of our arms as we press on her lower back, in the love we witness between her and her partner, it becomes crystal clear.
Why doula? Because this:
Tell us - why do you doula?