On-Call During the Holidays?

One thing that is certain about working in the birth world is that babies come on their own schedule, all year round. Despite the holidays or other personal commitments, our clients may need our attention on any day of the year.

For those that work with expectant families, the time surrounding the holidays is a particularly tricky time to navigate. For many, the passion and desire to work with families during their birthing time offsets the possibility of missing out on special events with their own family and friends. For others, it creates a time of tension where some professionals "go off the grid," so to speak, and do not take clients during the holidays in an effort to protect their personal time and interests.

The only right way to navigate this time of the year is in the way that feels best to each individual professional. There are some things to consider when you are trying to decide whether or not to accept clients that are due during the holidays.

Ask yourself:

What occasions or events might you miss out on in the event you are called to a birth? Can you live with missing this event/holiday? Is your family prepared to celebrate/travel or otherwise continue on in your absence?

In the event that attending a birth would cause you to miss a holiday or special event, are you quite certain that, while attending the birth, you'll be able to give the laboring mother and her partner your full attention for the duration that you are needed? Anything less may not be fair to the mother and you should really consider what your frame of mind will be in such an occurrence.

Do you have a backup birth worker that could fill in if you're unavailable? Many doulas work with a colleague or two, particularly at this time of the year, to ensure that their clients are covered, no matter what day or time they begin labor.

While the holidays can be stressful enough on their own, the stress of being on-call can really complicate things. If handled strategically and realistically, attending clients during the holidays can be a wonderful experience that adds to the spirit of the season!

What do you think?

What is your philosophy on being on-call during the holidays? Has it ever created conflict within your family and, if so, how have you handled it? Do you ever refuse to take clients that are due during this time of year? If so, how do you present that to them and what responses have you received? Do you have any tips on how to best cope with being on-call during this time of year? Any fun stories or experiences that you've had during the holidays when you have been called to a birth? Leave a message below and let us know!


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Plumtree Baby, LLC

1 comment

  • Alice Turner

    I have a strict “off call” period from noon on 12/24 through 8pm on 12/25. I have had to call in a backup on the 24th to take over a labor. My clients understood as I let them know about my policy before they hired me. I will say that it was super hard to leave, but my family was counting on me at home!

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