As a brand new doula I was eager to experience a birth but not fully ready to ‘fly solo’. When I learned I could shadow with an experienced doula, I was beyond getty!
I remember riding with Trisha to the Prenatal meeting to meet the family. The parents were excited to meet me and even showed me around their home and the baby’s nursery. I could tell this expectant family had already welcomed not only Trisha into their birthing circle but myself as well. During the final Prenatal visit, I watched Trisha cover basic baby tips such as how to care for their newborn, swaddling, and answering general questions about when she would arrive for labor.
It was a few weeks later when labor began for this client and Trisha and I arrived together. (She labored at home for a number of hours, until she was ready to head to her birthing location). I watched Trisha support her, helped refill water bottles, observed the mother and father as they labored together. This was the birth where I fell in love with birth photography … this family asked if I would take a few photos of their labor and birth - I reluctantly agreed as had never photographed a birth before! This was the role they wanted for me.
Being a shadow doula is filled with eager, excitement and freedom. On one hand, you are feeling as if I am ready to do this “let me fly” and yet on other hand thinking “I don’t have a clue what I am doing” I can’t imagine ever being solo”. When you observe the other doula in her ‘lane’ supporting her client and she’s doing it so effortlessly and naturally - that’s when you realize you are in the right place. I had no idea that day that two dreams would be coming to pass but as I mentally and physically captured the birth of a sweet baby girl I knew that another door was being opened for me.
So as you shadow and begin your doula career listen to that inner voice - who knows what else you may be called to... Some doulas will find they want more, becoming birth assistants or midwives. Others may end up adding to their doula business by becoming childbirth educators, postpartum doulas and the like...The future is up to you. We hope you find your niche as you grow in the business of birth! The birth world is a precious space to step into, just understand whether you are primary or a shadowing doula, your presence is valued and equally important.
--Written by Christy Carlson,
Co-founder of DoulaVersity