The Perks of Being a Doula

I was recently asked if I had plans to become a midwife someday; people often assume that being a doula is a stepping stone to some other career.

Not for me.

I don't see the work I'm currently doing as a means to an end, it is an end in itself: I love my job! As far as I'm concerned, I want to keep doing this for as far into the future as I can see.

Doulas do good work, and I'm in this work for the long haul.

Aside from just genuinely loving doula work, the truth is there are a lot of perks to being a doula: I get to make my own schedule (to some degree), I get to spend more time with my toddler and be there for a lot of his firsts, and (the best part!) I get to meet new and exciting people in some of the most marvelous moments in their lives, all while also supporting my own family.

The most unique perk that I've found, though, is this: I get to be there for the hard things without being responsible for “the hard things.”

Here’s what I mean by that: the perinatal period comes with a lot of BIG decisions. In these moments parents and healthcare providers have to make choices that have the potential to affect the rest of their lives and the lives of the babies being brought into the world.

Sometimes those choices are really hard to make, and judgment calls have to be made. Being a healthcare provider (think: OB, midwife here) means being responsible for those—and that is heavy work. 

Being a parent also means being responsible for those calls, but being a doula does not.

As a doula, I am uninvested in the outcomes of these decisions, and instead invested in the people making them.

It’s not easy, it’s just different. It means I get to be the truly unbiased, judgment-free support in the room—because providers do have to make judgments, it is their job! It's why we hire medical professionals: to judge what is medically best in a situation.

Their patients benefit from that judgment, and then they benefit from having someone in the room who doesn't carry that burden—and this is why my clients hire me

I get to support them in these moments, through these really tough decisions, and they have no doubt that whatever happens, I have their backs.

With my support, parents take ownership of their choices and move into parenthood confidently and courageously.

In fact, If I've done my job right, it will look like I was never there.

Because the truth is that parents don't need doulas to be great parents, they are great—doulas just help them reach into themselves and pull out the greatness that's already there.

Bringing out the best in people? Sounds like a pretty sweet gig, if you ask me.

I think I'll stay a doula forever.