In your time of need…
This is a note to your future self if you are just starting out or a reminder to those who have been giving of yourself for many, many years.
Entering this work, I doubt any of us expected the sisterhood we would find. Maybe you come from a past employment history of Fortune 500 companies, a company that limited your interaction with other employees because you were on company time, or you worked with a group of all women and you were lucky if you developed a connection with at least one of them and you continued to talk even after clocking out.
You expected that it might always be this way, that there would be gossip, untruths, drama, or cattiness… until you sat down at your first training, your first local doula group, your first conference or awards banquet, and discovered there is a world of compassionate, loving, and supportive women all working together! All of these women came together because they shared a common interest, and that interest included other women and their families.
We are Doulas!
If you are a newer doula, your future self needs to know that there are sisterhoods that are forming right before your eyes. These like minded individuals who share your same philosophy are ones who could eventually grow to be the best business partners anyone could ever ask for, and even into your best friends.
These are the women you call after a longer birth or to be your sounding board after a more challenging birth experience. Sure you can share general information with your loved ones, but they won’t ever understand exactly what you are going through when you had to stand doing the double hip squeeze for 6 hours straight, without a potty break or so much as a sip of water, or when you witnessed a mother’s strength and determination as she welcomes her child.
These are also the same women who will answer their phone at 2:00am if you need them to listen, or jump straight up and leave their daily agenda behind to come to your aid because you have two moms in labor at the same exact time, without even questioning it. They can be dressed and out the door in under 20 minutes, all because you simply asked.
Some things to remember:
- Your backup Doulas are worth their weight in gold. Should one be needed, remember to reimburse them quickly and fairly so that they feel respected and appreciated for what they gave up to come to your aid. They will be more inclined to go again.
- Should something happen to you, I hope that you have a doula sister who can take care of your client list. Make sure she knows how to access your client list, their phone numbers, due dates, and more so your client never goes unattended.
- Take a doula sister to coffee and just listen!
- If your doula sister is struggling, show compassion. You may never fully understand her situation but don’t judge. Offer to pick up the slack so she can handle what life has thrown at her for that short time. Someday she may return the favor tenfold.
Having served as a doula for over 12 years, all of what I am talking about and much more has been demonstrated time and time again.
I took my mother to a DASC awards banquet many years ago and one thing that she said has stuck with me for years. She said, “I have never been in a room full of women and witnessed such love for one another. There wasn’t any cattiness. It was just a room of over 200 women coming together to celebrate each other and it was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. Now I know why you do what you do.”
CCCE, CLD, CPD, Labor Doula Faculty
Rená served as CAPPA’s volunteer Southwest Regional Representative and Regional Director from 2009-2012. She is an active certified birth and postpartum Doula with over 13 years experience. Rená is an Educator, Speaker and Author, as well as, one of CAPPA’s approved Labor Doula Faculty members who has trained Doulas for almost 10 years. Her goal is to bring knowledge and compassion to the clients she serves and the students that also teach her something new at every class. She balances family and work life by making time to be a mother, wife, daughter, friend and mentor but not always in this order.
Copyright CAPPA 2015