Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Some Concerns as a New Doula

I have been asked a few times if it worries me that I may have trouble getting hired as a doula because
1. I'm a brand new doula with very little experience,
2. I am a young doula, and
3. I have never given birth or been a mom

One:  Yes I am a brand new doula with very little experience who is not yet certified, and I need to attend 3 births/15 hours of labor on my own to be certified. So why would someone hire me? Because I'm cheap. That's right, the #1 motivating factor! money! A doula in training is willing to take on clients for free or at an extremely reduced rate so that she can get her cert births. Other doulas may charge anywhere from $400 - $1000 (pricing depends on region).
A doula working on certification cannot attend certification births until she has been trained, so the families hiring a doula know that the doula has been trained and will be there for the laboring mother as a knowledgeable companion. Even with less experience a doula can still be compassionate, supportive, calming, give the mother ideas for easing labor and be an advocate for her choices.

Two: I am young in age to be supporting moms in labor. Well, that depends on your point of view. Yes, there are a lot of doulas out there who are older than I am, but my training workshop included one woman who was younger than I am. I have also read doula online forums about women as young as 17 getting into doula-ing, with full support from other doulas. Some women may want someone older to be a motherly support figure for them, which is fine, but some women would enjoy having someone more like themselves in age (if they're a twenty-something) helping them out. And some women don't care either way! The trick is clicking with your doula. That is why doulas emphasize interviewing several doulas to make sure you find the right match!
Furthermore, it is always possible I could take on clients who are young mothers or teen mothers, in which case I would be older to them!

Three: 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. There are male obstetricians aren't there? Although for a doula, I would want a female to be my birth partner. So a doula who has never given birth herself, such as myself, may still be a great support person.

Edit: Additionally, because I am brand new to this, I have nothing to un-learn, and no baggage to leave behind. The truth is, even if I had given birth, my birth experience is going to be nothing like your birth experience. This way, I go in with an open mind.

1 comment:

  1. Not (yet) being a mother myself is probably what I feel like could be the biggest hurdle in obtaining clients. I feel I have lots of experience in and around pregnancy, delivery and infant...but I always wonder how convinced people will be.

    I like the comment your trainer made though!


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