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Doula May 29, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — springtwist @ 9:43 am
How I Think of my role is changing. Kinda just like everything else around me. Becoming comfortable with that feeling is hard.
What is a doula, anyway? Not a trained medical professional. What the hell do I know about birth anyway? I feel like, compared to a midwife, it’s practically nothing. I know nothing about birth. I have no technical or medical training.
20 minutes ago I felt like “yes, this is what I need to be doing,” when I was talking to a mother on the phone, a stranger, while she cried because she’s so overwhelmed. Now I’m thinking, I’m crazy, this work…. Its nothing. I’m fooling myself thinking this work is needed.
I don’t have an elevator speech. You have 32 seconds to answer the question “what does a doula do?” And sell them on it. I don’t know how to put that elevator speech together. Maybe I don’t know what I do. I’ve been doing this for two years and its getting to the point where I have to wonder if I need to drop it for a real job. Like this isn’t real, or important work. I can’t sum it up in 32 seconds because I don’t know what my role is.
But when I’m with Angela and her baby, it feels perfect. When Angela cries openly, when she’s angry, swearing and overwhelmed and scared,  when she’s processing all the shit this world has given her and she feels safe doing that because my presence makes it safe for her, that feels perfect. Spending 30 minutes stroking her sons tiny body from his shoulders to his toes and watching him relax under my hands, blissed out like a cat in a patch of sun in my lap, its real.
My job isn’t to give mom a good birth. I can’t do that. I’ve seen 2 emergency c sections. My job is to help her make the best of her birth taking into account everything we have been given. If she goes for emergency c/s, I have to try to make it okay. Soften the blow. And be there afterwards to help her learn to come to terms with it.
My job is not to question doctors or midwives, or answer medical questions. I never thought it was, but some Doulas are crazy and will challenge doctors or make them look like the bad guy. Doctors are not the bad guys. Their primary concern, as always, is safety. They are not terrible. Some Doulas cast them in that light. Doctors are not out to get you but some Doulas are definitely out to get them.
I think my job is to guide her. Help her navigate this thing she’s never been through before. LISTEN to her, validate her, let her cry and swear and get fucking pissed off because her partner walked out on her at 8 months and then emotionally blackmailed her and threatened her with the police. allow her to feel those shitty things she’s feeling, and make it safe. Have no biases.
Its like I’m getting paid to be her best friend. Its so, so so weird. I wish the mom wasn’t the one to pay me. I wish it was covered by OHIP or something. The dynamic is complicated, mixed up.
Doctors and nurses don’t have time to be so intimate with patients. Safety has to come before her mental stability. You need to do that emergency c/s and can’t be concerned right at that moment about if mom will be traumatized or not. Will she ever be able to let her partner touch her again. Will she feel like a failure. Well at least she’s alive.
My part comes next. I deal with the intimacy, the emotions, the aftereffects. validating and giving moms permission to feel the way they do. Tell them its okay to not be okay.

Had a client contact me, and as soon as they saw my fee they basically shut the whole thing down. let me be clear-  it was BARELY FAIR. it was such a low cost it was nearly ridiculous. And they just said “well you charged (moms sister in law) only $520.” yes. because that was a year ago and i wasnt working as a team. I have had a couple more births since them. I am now certified. I gradually need to increase my prices so i can actually make a fair wage off of this work. You live in richmond hill. Don’t talk to me about money, because I just spent my morning supporting a mom who isn’t sure if she can pay her rent or her hydro bill right now and has gone back to work while her son is 4 weeks old after a c/s. if money is the most important thing to you, then thats fine. I’ll see ya later sometime I guess. good luck finding a good doula for less.

I don’t expect to hear back from them.
I had another client contact me in the winter. “so what happens if I go into labour, and then my sister can get here on time and I don’t need you anymore? can i call you to say don’t come and get my money back?” absolutely not, you ridiculous woman. I am not just a replacement for your sister. When i rearrange my life for you for a month while i am on call, and give you exclusivity so you can have my full attention,  I am trusting that I will get paid for that.  when she says something like that, it tells me shes not serious. she will not value or respect me, and my alarm bells went off. she picked a different doula so I didn’t have to work with her.

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