After all, women hire male obstetricians every day! And I've definitely heard of childless midwives.
A doula who has never given birth herself, such as myself, may still be a great support person. The truth is, even if I had given birth, my birth experience is going to be nothing like your birth experience. A woman with a traumatic birth, or a cesarean birth, has her experience, thoughts and worries that she is bringing, but it may be a far cry from their doula client's birth experience. Precisely because I have never experienced a birth of my own I have no baggage to leave behind. This way, I go in with an open mind.
Another bonus to hiring a doula who doesn't have kids is that her schedule is more flexible; there is no need to find childcare at the last second!
It's also important to note that a doula without children may not be that way by choice. In her post, What Not To Ask Your Doula, Yoruba Doula notes:
A childless doula may not have children because she simply doesn’t want any. The doula you’re interviewing may not be able to conceive. The lovely woman sitting across from you at the coffee house as you feel out her qualifications may be overcoming the heartache of a miscarriage. She may be a single woman who wants children, but can’t afford artificial insemination or IVF. The woman who scores high in every area on your checklist except for whether or not she has children may have given birth to a baby that didn’t survive.
As my DONA trainer put it, "have you ever known someone who couldn't have children who would have made a great mother?"
You don't have to have been a mom to be a motherly supportive presence during birth. And you don't have to have given birth to know what a normal birth looks like, what the usual processes with a birth are, what positions would help you find comfort or change the baby's position, and so on. Many childless midwives and doulas still have a passion for birth and babies, a natural empathy, and a great pool of knowledge to draw from!
|Photo from an article on Young Doulas|
However, if it is personally important to you that your doula have experienced childbirth, breastfeeding and motherhood herself, then that is your priority. Yoruba Doula writes:
Does this mean you should stop caring about whether or not your doula has children? Absolutely not! Your desires are yours, and you deserve to have your needs met by all means. Do continue to ask ask, “Do you have children?,” as you interview. Please do not ask, “So, why don’t you have kids?” It may seem like a harmless question, but it’s one that could have devastating effects on a doula who planned to have a lovely afternoon chatting with you.Opinions vary on whether or not to hire a doula who has never given birth, but it is a personal decision to make for every pregnant woman.
For many doulas, it is not an issue to be asked. I am not always asked, but I have been. I simply say I am waiting for the right time in my life to have kids. My training, testimonials, knowledge and experience speak for themselves (obviously I've been hired before despite my childlessness), and if the couple are comfortable with me, they hire me.
The most important thing is that you click well with your doula!