“A what?” is the question I heard the very most after announcing to friends and family that I was going to become a Doula. I’ll admit I wasn’t quite sure exactly what the answer was, but I landed on “Doulas are a person who supports women before, during, and after pregnancy!” Bubbly and lively I was excited to finally have found a career path that makes sense to me. I adore babies, I love helping parents, I’m cool under pressure, empathetic, intuitive, and supportive. Those were all qualities I had been told made for a good Doula, and I’m confident that I posses them.
It wasn’t until my intense weekend training that I understood the entire duties of a Doula. It was a week full of laughter, new friendships, networking, so much knowledge my brain felt ready to burst. It was also so empowering that my heart felt ready to burst.
I’ve realized that being a Doula isn’t something that I can turn off and on. I don’t receive a call from a mother in early labor and suddenly my Doula hat is on. Once I dive in I am a Doula 24/7. No judgment, just support for my friends and family. That can be challenging when you feel so personally invested in someone, but it’s worth the effort for them to know that they can approach you with anything judgment free. It means always being on call, and ready to jump in my car and get to your birth promptly.
But the most important lesson that I learned that weekend is that I am already a Doula. I have already been offering nonjudgmental support to my friends and family. I’ve carried the phrase “You do you!” and I genuinely mean it. It is your life, you live it in the way that makes you the best and happiest version of yourself that you want be.