As I contemplate World Doula Week today, I have to ask myself what does it mean to me? Is it just so that clients can honor doulas? Is it a time where doulas around the world celebrate their profession? A season where all people recognize doulas and tip their hats? Perhaps it is a bit of everything combined.
Being a doula isn’t always easy, and in fact, it can be emotionally and physically draining. The burn out for doulas is very high, due to being on call 24/7 and leaving for a birth and not knowing when you will be coming home. Things are changing and doulas are learning ways to make their business more sustainable. Regardless of how hard being a doula can be – one thing can be said for the majority of doulas: We love our job and can’t think of any other job we would rather do!
It was about this time last year that DoulaVersity was conceived. Training doulas has been just as rewarding as being one. I am able to see birth as I did 11 years ago when I became a doula myself. I remember that newness. It didn’t matter how long the birth was, it was filled with wonder and excitement. Not because birth in itself is an amazing miracle, but because I was able to witness the transformation of woman to mother. As Barbara Katz Rothman said "Birth is not only about making babies. Birth is about making mothers- strong, competent, capable mothers who trust themselves and know their inner strength." WOW.
Doulas, your work starts before the birth. Our job is to help empower women to make decisions and take the power into their hands and help them run with it. Hip squeezes and counter pressure just happen to be a bonus now and then.
I know what goes on outside of the birth room, and I know how much you all work to keep your business going on a daily basis. Stand proud doulas and give yourselves a pat on the back. Your work is hard but rewarding. Exhausting but filled with purpose. Keep it up, because with each birth YOU make a difference.
Happy World Doula Week to all of the amazing doulas out there!