A Professional Dilemma

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My profession is one that is slowly making a comeback in the United States and all over the world.  When most people hear that I am a doula, they look confused and ask me what that is.  I explain, they say it is cool, and then probably forget all about it.

More often than not I come across people that are very defensive about their births and tell me my job is an unnecessary expense and I push my own agenda during birth and truly don’t help the mother.

And then proceed to tell me a story of someone they knew that hired a doula and ended up being left alone because the doula was no help and truly didn’t know what she was doing.  It turns into me becoming very angry and them not listening to the studies I talk about and saying I just pick and choose who I listen to.

Lately, it just hasn’t ended well.

One of my friends has recently decided not to hire a doula.  And I am completely okay with that! Every woman should have the option to hire one and should make the decision themselves.  It is their birth, not mine.

My only problem with this is that a lot have been commenting on this and also her comments have truly been bothering me.

Right now, I don’t charge for my doula services.  I truly do it to learn and to help women.  I don’t care if there is a paycheck involved.  It is what I love to do!

Does this make me less qualified to attend births than anyone else?  Does certifying in your profession make it so you shouldn’t be hired just because you aren’t “experienced yet”?

And if this was the only problem, my life would be great.

All across the internet and in the “real world” there are women telling other women that doulas are truly an unnecessary expense when children are already so expensive.  And yet, you never hear a woman tell another woman that the expensive crib or video monitor, or angel pad is an unnecessary expense.  They are always told that those are what is truly needed to have a baby.

“The birth doesn’t matter, all that matters is a healthy baby in the end.”

What a cop-out.

Now, I don’t know a mother that wouldn’t care about the health of her newborn baby.  Every mother wants a healthy infant.  Saying this just makes it seem like women don’t care about other women and are truly making it sound like new mothers that want a great birth experience and do not care about the health of their baby.  Which is so very far from the truth.

What is wrong with hiring another woman that can help you through the most important day of your life?  What is wrong with wanting to welcome your baby into an atmosphere and delivery you choose, not one that is chosen for you?  What is so very wrong with having the support of someone trained in pain management techniques and positions to help you deliver your child?

In a society where women only care about bedding, the crib, outfits, and monitors, is it truly that strange to want to have a happy birth?

Next time you put down my profession, think about how you are putting down other women that truly only want to help.  Why would you want to put down someone that is like you just because they want to help other women?


7 Responses

  1. OMG, I honestly just have TOOOO much to say on this topic! I’m grateful that here in Canada my midwifery services were covered (though not a doula, which I WISH I could’ve afforded!). My 4 children were all attended by midwives, all natural childbirths, 2 at home, & the other 2, though unexpectedly in the end winding up being hospital births, were still natural & delivered by my midwives. I am FOREVER being “judged” for my choices….but imagine, mine were actually EDUCATED choices….were yours??? For the most part, absolutley NOT! And for the record, I never bought into all of that unneccesary & expensive baby equipment either LOL! Attachment parenting doesn’t require it…

    Bravo to you & your profession…the birth experience can set the tone for your child’s future…trust me, I know this first hand by the birth that went horribly wrong because of the medical community, & 9 years later, there are emotional & physical repercussions for her!

  2. I love this paragragh! 🙂

    “All across the internet and in the “real world” there are women telling other women that doulas are truly an unnecessary expense when children are already so expensive. And yet, you never hear a woman tell another woman that the expensive crib or video monitor, or angel pad is an unnecessary expense. They are always told that those are what is truly needed to have a baby.”

  3. I don’t understand the whole big deal about it, or why some people get so defensive over the idea of having a doula, but I have noticed a lot of the negativity comes from husbands who feel like a doula will replace them or something. In my case, even though we are not exactly wealthy, I knew pretty early on that I wanted a doula, because I cared about the health of my baby and wanted a delivery that would be the healthiest for both me and him. My husband had never heard of doula either, but also knew he “didn’t know nothing ’bout birthing babies”, and was all for the idea when he read up on it.

    I think if more women knew how labor and delivery tended to go, and about the types of support that they could get, a lot of births would be different, and there would be much less hostility towards the different choices available. I just hope the moms choosing to forgo doulas are educating themselves on pain management and preparing themselves and whoever may be with them at the birth to defend their birth choices, because a lot of people don’t realize how many interventions can be pushed on you, or that sometimes epidurals don’t work or have to be delayed. If the woman has a support person who can help coach her through the pain and stand up for her birth plan, that’s great, but it’s just so much easier for family to become another force pressuring the woman for interventions or medications she may not have wanted, because of scare tactics or being uncomfortable seeing a loved one in pain.

    I am only paying $300 for my doula, and told her I’d be fine with a trainee if she had anyone who needed births to attend, because I’ve thought seriously about getting certified myself. I am also using a midwife now, who will be there much longer than an OB would, but I still feel like the more support I have the better. That way, I can focus on giving birth, and my husband can focus on being there for me, instead of having to worry about forgetting which positions and breathing techniques may help with each stage, or reminding staff that my midwife-approved birth plan says no meds unless I ask for them, limited monitoring, freedom of movement, etc. As crazy as some of the birth stories I’ve read have been, I feel almost like having a hospital birth without a doula in this day and age would be like going to court without a lawyer – you may come out OK, but you’re probably gonna get screwed somehow.

    • I love your point of view on this! That is exactly what I was trying to convey but somehow lacked the words.

      I am excited for you! It seems like you have prepared a lot for your birth to be an experience for you and your family, and not a medical event.

      I hope everything goes very well for you!!

  4. Just want to say that I think Doula’s are very useful and important….and I also think you might just be hanging with the wrong crowd when it comes to birthing…b/c I can tell you most of my friends would thing it was crazy the birth without one. 😉

  5. When I was charging $0-$100 for births, I was going to loads and treated with very little respect from medical staff when they found out I was ‘in training’. I also got the vibe from some of the people interviewing me, that my role was ‘neat’ but not something to be paid hard earned money for.

    I’m still not certified, and wont become so anytime soon (personal choice, not because I lack any skill sets), and no longer mention that I am uncertified, but all the amazing ways I’ve been trained or learnt about birth.

    I charge a fair price for my services, get treated with respect from staff for the most part, and feel the people using my services are getting more from it.

    The services we provide for the most part cannot be touched, held, counted or bragged about until after the birth. There is little hype around the colour of your doula, style, or price tag. After the birth, everyone becomes very focused on the baby, and we happily slip away into the background to allow the family the time to do what we need.

    I value our role. What we do is beyond a price tag. Our services are invaluable to those who need it/want it.

    I’m not sure if the switch will be made anytime soon, to value physical human touch over gadgets.

    I guess the same would go for me too, if someone tried to sell me, say a crib. I wouldn’t be buying it no matter what the price. We are all just in a different mind set, and in each persons good time, and when it is right for them, they will find their way.

    • That’s a really good idea! I really don’t want to be certified (I don’t think a piece of paper will make me better), the same as I won’t be certified as a midwife. You always bring an amazing perspective to everything and make me think of things in new light. You rock!!

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