RELATIONSHIPS AND SELF REFLECTION
This blog is a much more emotional piece rather than factual. It is a real evaluation on my work as a doula and the relationships that are formed…
Today I met with three clients and their babies and caught up on how motherhood is treating each of them. These women and their partners each employed me as their doula, and for that I will forever be grateful. My questions in this blog are:
1 How do I choose the right client, and how do clients choose the right doula? 2 Did I know when I met these women that I was the right doula for them? 3 Is it ok that I want to continue a relationship with each of these women and their babies, or is my job done?
In employing me as a doula, women are allowing me to enter into their most private, emotional and vulnerable worlds. This relationship is one of respect and absolute trust and I do believe that this is the most important thing to establish at the very beginning of working together. Is it any wonder then, that once my role as a doula is complete, the wellbeing and happiness of these women is still important to me?
In meeting each of these women, there was an immediate rapport. Each one of them is very different yet our natural easiness together was almost instant. I can also say the same for their partners. All three wanted very different things from a doula, yet helping them to feel safe, relaxed and confident was essentially always the goal. This initial feeling hasn’t always happened with potential clients, and it is really important to recognise this straight away.
A very wise midwife once told me “there is a doula for every woman, and a woman for every doula”. I know I am not the doula for every woman, and in ensuring that women get the best birthing experience they truly can, I have to ensure that I do not commit myself to a client with whom I am not aligned with. That is not to say that I would ever give anything but my absolute best, but I know that an alternate doula is better suited to supporting them and their birthing wishes.
These three women that I met today all had extremely different birthing experiences. I don’t think any of them had the birth that they probably imagined they would, but I do believe that having a doula with them during their pregnancy and birth, enhanced each of their experiences. As I have previously joked, no baby has ever read the “birth plan” of their parents and will do things in their own way. However, working on a birth plan with their partners allowed each woman to take some ownership of their pregnancy and birthing options.
In saying all of this, is it any wonder that I want to see each of these women happy and fulfilled in the future? How can I as a doula be privileged enough to share such intimacy with these women and not feel love for them and their babies?
I am lucky enough to have four women that I am embarking on this journey with in the next few months. Our initial meetings were similarly relaxed and comfortable and I know that each of them will have a very different birth. In spending time with them, I know that each of them will truly play a special part in my life. Even as I massaged a client’s swollen hands yesterday and talked about her anxieties and concerns, I really did feel privileged to be with her.
The answer to all of my questions is very clear..”go with your gut”. It is ok to interview numerous doulas to find the right one. Sharing your birthing experience with another person is a massive leap of faith, and a decision that cant be made lightly. I too will “go with my gut”. I value these three women I met today. Each of them has made me a better doula and taught me so much about myself, my practice and the strength of women. Each of their births has made me reflect on my own strengths and weaknesses and what I can do to be a better doula. I look forward to seeing each of their babies grow and develop, even if it is only through the occasional catch up and social media. Thankyou to them, their partners and my future clients for sharing your lives with me. I am truly honoured.