The Doula Evolution

The progression in this business has some very similar and familiar characteristics and you may find them in yourself as you travel through the journey of being a professional Doula.  How will you change your business practices or your opinions on clients and the interactions with other professionals within the community?  Will the things you will experience or witness along the way continue to change like the Phases of Labor?

Let’s call this the Early Phase of Doula’ing:

As a new Doula you may find yourself eager, excited, maybe even a little timid at first.  Your first telephone call with a potential client isn’t as smooth as you had hoped, you hang up thinking, “Shoot, I forgot to ask them what city they live in or where they will be delivering”.  

As you have more telephone conversations, as you attend more interviews you begin to develop skills that really build your confidence.  Potential clients love when a doula can help the conversation flow, give them things to think about that they didn’t otherwise know were important and your client base begins to grow.

It’s still early and manageable, you get more rest time as you really set yourself up for success.

The Active Phase in your Doula career:

Then you may hit a new milestone, you begin to research more, really mastering the craft of becoming more of an expert in your field.  Now you begin to question everything you thought you knew about birth, interventions, or the treatment of your clients.  You may even start to wonder, “If I know this, why don’t the Physicians practice with this in mind”?  Experiencing inductions where you and/or the client had questions, like was this truly medically necessary?  Could the result of a c-section and disappointed client have been avoided?

Some may even begin to resent of feel angry about the treatment of clients or the misinformation that is shared with them, constantly feeling like you are sending more and more research articles to prove that you really done the research and you are providing them with evidence-based data that could still help them achieve that physiological birth they so desired.

As you actively evaluate this, you are working hard while also finding your rhythm.

Now we move into the Transition Phase:

You look back, you evaluate the journey thus far; you have developed strong working relations with those in the hospital setting, or midwives within the community and other Doulas that you trust, and your views may once again evolve.  You have a newfound respect for those who do practice evidence-based care and you become very thankful for the interventions when needed while also sharing information with your client in a way that leaves them wanting more and confident to make their own decisions.  

There is freedom in authentically trusting your clients as they find their own empowerment along the way. The way you communicate with them becomes even more clear and concise. Providing factual based information with less biases so that you can fully be present and serve the client in a way that feels right for everyone, has amazing value.

You’ve transitioned into that place of just being and continuing to serve clients in a way that really aligns with a business model that you have worked hard to accomplish.

About the Author

Rená Koerner 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. My goal is to bring knowledge and compassion to the clients I serve and the students that also teach me 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.

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