Why we became doulas – Plumtree Baby

Why we became doulas

Every doula has her own unique story of motivated her to become a doula. We are usually motivated by our passion for and deeply held beliefs about pregnancy, birth and babies. This passion may have been there for as long as we can remember or it might have been created by circumstances in our lives, like the birth of our child. Regardless of where or how we became interested in this field, there are a few things that have probably not been part of our motivation. 

We are not doulas because...

It is a glamorous job. Generally, our line of work involves bodily substances of a variety of forms, colors, and consistencies. We often have to find creative places to sleep or shove something to eat into our mouths as quickly as possible between contractions, trying not to let anyone notice. Sometimes we go a night or more with no sleep, only to catch a few hours and get called out again. After a long, challenging birth, we can find ourselves feeling grimy and smelly, with greasy hair and fuzzy teeth. Our clothes and shoes get stained and stripped off the minute we get home. We get into all sorts of positions to try to put pressure on the right spot while letting the laboring mother do what she needs to. We drive home at 3 a.m. after a slightly scary journey through a dark, abandoned parking garage, shivering until our car warms up. It is a wonderful, miraculous, rewarding job, but it’s not glamorous.

It's quick and easy money. On the contrary, being a doula is hard. A doula is “on call” day and night, holds a tremendous devotion to her clients’ birthing experience, and sometimes has to miss out on family events or cancel plans that she was really looking forward to. It is true that a labor and birth is sometimes quick, but other times, it can take many long hours or days. And we don’t just show up in labor. Rather, we spend a lot of time meeting with clients ahead of time, checking in, taking phone calls, answering texts and emails, keeping notes and of course we always follow up after a birth, with both calls and an in-person visit. Sometimes the hourly rate is pretty good and other times, it is a fraction of a dollar.

So why do we do it?

Because it matters, and we want to make a difference. We are a group of people who recognize that the birth of a child is one of just a few events in life that will be forever engraved in the hearts and minds of parents. We want to do whatever we can to make it a day of joy and love, one that parents look back on with happiness and without regret. We can’t always make things perfect, and we definitely can’t control all the circumstances, but we will do whatever we can to make sure parents have the information, support and encouragement they need. One of the things that can drive a doula crazy is the phrase “The only thing that matters is a healthy baby.” A healthy baby and mother is at the top of the list of priorities, but there is more to birth than getting everyone through it alive and breathing. We want new mothers to be strong and healthy physically, mentally and emotionally, and this is difficult if she was mistreated or felt afraid or lonely during labor and birth. We want to make sure that her needs are central at every step of the journey. Anna Verwaal said it well: “A woman, as long as she lives, will remember how she was made to feel at her birth.” It matters, and we want to help make it an experience that is the best it can possibly be.


Because no one else can bring quite what we can. Our job is unique in that our one and only responsibility is to encourage, comfort and support the family and laboring mother. A partner, spouse, friend or family member can do this, but usually don’t have the training, experience and objectivity of a professional doula. Nurses can provide support, but they are also responsible for procedures, monitoring baby, and other tasks. A medical care provider can be as giving, supportive and well-intentioned as possible but they too have other responsibilities that may take them away from the labor support role. Many of us have seen situations where something scary is happening. At these moments, the care providers will be doing their job, the family will be scared too, and the doula’s job is to offer reassurance and explain what is happening. In many ways it is a blessing to be in such a clearly defined role. For more reasons a doula is helpful see I’m not sure… Do I need a doula? 

We asked a few doulas what they love most about doula work and this is what they said:

  1. What I love most about being a doula is serving, supporting and loving parents through the journey of meeting their child. -KF
  2. I love helping parents achieve the birth they dreamed of. -MW
  3. I love being with a couple when they welcome their first baby and being able to literally watch a family be born! -EP
  4. I love being invited into some of the most intimate moments of a family’s life. This invitation requires a deep level of trust and I love being honored with that trust. -KI
  5. Birth is a sacred environment, and being invited to be there as part of the birth team is both an honor and a privilege. -DK

Leave a comment below with your answer to what motivated you to become a doula/birth professional and what do YOU love about what you do? 

Copyright 2014 © All Rights Reserved

Julie Olson

Comments

Julie Olson

I became a doula because birth is a precious thing. Helping a mom have the kind of birth she desires is so rewarding…it’s an honor to be a part of such an intimate, special moment.
And I LOVE babies!

Julie Olson

I have felt a calling all of my life to work with birthing women, and started at the age of 13 shadowing a midwife. After being a mother/baby RN for years and then staying at home with my own children, I’ve been drawn to the unique one-on-one experience a doula can provide, as well as the opportunity to provide pregnant women and partners with education surrounding their care & options in childbirth. What a privilege this experience has been!

Julie Olson

I became a doula after the birth of my granddaughter. Being there for the labour inspired me to find out more about birth support. Before she was born I had no idea what a doula was! Now I am working full time as a doula and loving it!! I recently opened a doula agency! Come say hi – www.facebook.com/centralalbertadoulas

Julie Olson

I have felt the call to become a doula ever since my own births, the first one being almost 13 years ago. Although my birth experiences were mainly positive, I felt there was something lacking. What I truly missed was the nurturing care and support that a wise & experienced woman could give. I felt alone and intimidated from the process despite the strength I did ultimately find inside. I love that I’m fulfilling this essential ingredient now, helping ensure mothers and partners are confident, supported and educated going into their birth experience. It is hard and taxing work but extremely rewarding. I’m so glad to have found my way to this line of work finally!

Julie Olson

I became a doula because every woman deserves to feel good about her birth experience—-no matter where she births, or who her birth is attended by. Doulas are the magic ingredient that helps that happen for many women.

Julie Olson

Wow, great comments so far. What a caring and dedicated group of women you are!

Julie Olson

After the birth of my second child, I started looking into how I can improve support for mothers during birth. After much prayer and learning what a doula was and what she did, I started my journey.

My heart burns with passion to love on and serve these beautiful women and their families.

Julie Olson

I had been afraid of birth. The only positive thing I knew about childbirth was that you get to have your beautiful baby at the end of it all. When I started to read more on the subject, I began to learn that I didn’t have to be frightened of birth. I learned that I could trust my body, I could be supported and loved during the time of birth, and I could have an incredibly joyful experience! I became a doula because I wanted to help spread the word of happy, empowering childbirth, and I wanted to be the person who loves and supports a family through the whole experience.

I’m a new doula and so I haven’t had the pleasure of attending to a family yet, but one of the things I love about being a doula, is introducing more people to who doulas are and how we help others. Letting people know that doulas are available to assist is so important, because we can’t help others if they don’t know we’re here for them. I also love talking to women and opening them up to the idea that childbirth doesn’t have to be all about pain and anxiety. It’s possible to experience a birth that is beautiful and full of bliss.

Julie Olson

I became a doula because I wanted to share with women all of the valuable knowledge and resources I gained having my children. I am really enjoying helping teach women about informed consent and showing them how to take ownership of their decisions in birth. It is so empowering for a woman to know she was respected in her birth!

Julie Olson

I became a doula when i realized that I wasn’t actually receiving all the information and options I was entitled to and I became passionate about educating other women so they can make informed decisions.

Julie Olson

As long as I can remember I’ve loved babies. I also greatly enjoy helping and encouraging people. Becoming a doula just seemed the natural conclusion!

Julie Olson

I also decided to become a doula after my plans for a natural birth became a c-section. I was completely devastated and felt alone in the experience. I love that I am called to walk beside women during this life-changing time in their lives and watch as they are empowered through their birthing experience.

Julie Olson

I became a doula after the privilege of attending my first granddaughter’s birth where a doula was an important factor. I KNEW in an instant that I would become a doula “when I grew up.” I believe all women need and DESERVE a doula… for each and every birth.

Julie Olson

I took the “official” plunge into the birth world after my own planned natural birth turned c-section and no one was there to “doula” my husband and I through the experience. I also saw so many friends and acquaintances plan one type of birth and end up with something completely different due to lack of support. Everyone deserves support for their birth and I’m privileged to offer my experience, knowledge and love to so many amazing birthing women.

Julie Olson

I became a doula because I am called to serve women and give them the deserved birth experience like I was privileged to experience!

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