I tried to find the reason I became a doula. Here’s what I came up with:
1.Because I wanted to breastfeed – I had read it would be much easier if you had a natural birth, so I started studying how to get that. Things just started spiraling from there…
2. Because I had a doula – When I was pregnant with my second babe, my husband was deployed, and I didn’t want to birth without support. He did get back in time, but we were lucky that the doula was there for us, too. She listened to me, listened to the sounds I was making, watched my face and reactions. She knew when I didn’t like people talking, knew when I had a lip of cervix, and what to do about it. She was there when the midwife and nurse couldn’t be. She even got my husband a sandwich and a nap. She was amazing and mystical, and I wanted to learn how to wield that type of magic.
There’s also the fact,
4. I love babies – They are fascinating, and who doesn’t love a little bundle in a terry cloth sleeper? I could study babies’ little movements and expressions all day! They are smart; they’ll fuss until they are picked up, because they know someone’s arms is the safest place in the world to be. They are wired to give what they get; they have these mirror circuits in their brains, so if you stick out your tongue to a newborn, they will stick out theirs, despite not knowing what a tongue is. They also do this with smiles, and love.
And I can’t leave out,
5. I love moms – I remember being a new mom, without a clue what to do with a new little person, or at least I thought I didn’t. With a little help, I was able to find my own way. Anything I can do to help a mom find her own strength, that’s I want to do. As a doula, most of my job is to tweak and validate exactly what mom is doing and feeling. What she wants, I want to get for her. She is the queen.
And I can’t forget,
6. I love dads (and other partners) – I am a geek, what can I say. I can talk Sci-fi, horses, video games, movies, construction, basketball, comic books. I describe my job to many dads as, “Mom is Batman, you are Robin, and I’m Alfred.” Dad wants to a help. I just offer suggestions and support so he can be a hero too.
7. I love nature – Birth is a natural process, a lot like digestion, to paraphrase the midwife Ina May Gaskin, most of the time, it goes right. Nature usually takes care of things. For instance, a mom’s body will heat up to keep her baby warm. Her sleep cycle will start to mirror her baby’s, so the baby doesn’t have to spend energy screaming to eat. Even when things don’t go the way we planned, mom’s body will try to compensate, like making more calorie dense milk for an early baby, or making more milk for twins. The best thing nature created is our capacity to love and think, so that even when things go really off the rails, a doula can help new parents get back on track.
Ok, and really finally,
8. There is something new to learn everyday – And most of the time, as doulas, it is our clients who teach us.