A Doula is: a person who gives support and help to a woman during pregnancy and during and after the birth.
I’m on call everyday. So when a client hires me as their birth Doula, I’m on call from the 38-42nd weeks of their pregnancy. This means I might need to drop everything I’m doing because I have a birth.
What would be on your agenda for the day?
I could be giving a Ka Huna massage, meeting with a client, teaching a Pilates class. I could be at a birth. I work more than full-time hours but I have a lot of flexibility with my schedule. I work nights and weekends not just during the day in the week, so I don’t really have a typical day at all!
Let’s say a couple has approached you to be their Doula. What’s your first step?
People usually find me by my website or by word of mouth. I then meet them for an obligation free interview – a coffee – and catch up. If they’re going to be inviting me to their birth, it’s such an intimate time in their lives and I really want them to feel comfortable having me around. It’s an important thing to be able to build a connection and trust.
What happens after you meet the couple?
If they want to hire me I send them a contract and they pay a deposit. I usually take a maximum of 3 birthing clients due per month. I also take additional post-partum clients – we call this “mothering the mother” and I can help with settling, breast-feeding, grocery shopping etc. So depending on if they’ve hired me as a birth Doula or post-partum it’s different. We then meet for sessions up to the birth and then they call me when they need me.
Do you ever feel a little bit scared by the responsibility or does it excite you?
I’m not medical at all so I don’t take any responsibility for the outcome of the birth. I work alongside their chosen midwife or obstetrician but I don’t take any of the medical responsibility. There’s a really clear distinction between what a medical professional does and what a Doula does.
I’m there to support and empower the couple to the best of my ability and I take a big bag of tools and tricks to help them. I am not scared at all by the responsibility, it’s actually a real honour and a privilege that people choose me to attend their birth and I don’t take that honour lightly. I really try my best to support my clients, build a connection and be there for them, no matter what.
At the end of the work day, how do you typically feel and why?
Well, a work day verses attending a birth are very different things but I am very privileged to be able to attend births with my clients. There are so few things in life where you really get to feel and explore something so beautiful. Whether a birth has gone really well or not so well, it’s still a raw emotion for me. I often leave the birth room, walk into the fresh air, and all this emotion just overcomes me – it can be quite overwhelming.
It’s such a special thing to be a part of. I feel excitement, I feel joy, I feel pain, I feel frustration, I feel every kind of emotion at almost every birth. I’m strong for my clients when I’m with them and it’s often when I leave that I get to absorb it all and let it out.