WHO CAN BE A DOULA? – Not just anyone!
This work is challenging and for very little monetary reward. So what are the skills required:-
- A good listener
- Having the skills to be an ‘effective’ advocate
- Learning to ‘mind’ read, or ‘read’ beahviour of the woman, her partner and staff
- Must have a great knowledge about birthing, the physical, emotional and spiritual components
- A doula must have an ability to self reflect, and accept and learn from any feedback
- She needs to especially be aware that this is NOT about her own births, or that of friends, but about the woman’s needs
- Emotional intelligence
- Excellent communication skills
These skills take many, many births to develop. Learning to sit back, watch and listen, creating a safe haven for a birthing woman to trust absolutely in her birthing power. It takes time to feel comfortable and O.K. with just ‘being’ at a birth, without feeling the need to ‘do something’, or to ‘fix it’, or ‘make it better’ – hospital staff do that all too well! Most women want and need to feel your confidence and trust, and simply allow birth to unfold, in a protective bubble.
WHO IS NOT SUITED TO BEING A DOULA?
- Anyone who enjoys ‘rescuing’
- Anyone who finds it uncomfortable to watch and listen and just ‘be’ with woman
- Anyone who wants to fix it and make it better
- Anyone who has their own personal agenda, e.g. unresolved issues from their own birthing experiences
- Anyone who is not a skilled advocate and cannot negotiate in a politically correct way, keeping staff happy and making sure a woman has what she wants
- Anyone who has poor communication skills
- Anyone who thinks they can become a millionaire by doulaing!
A word about EMPOWERMENT – doulas can empower women with knowledge, encouragement, and being positive, but women need to take opportunities to ask questions to get what they want. Doulas create these opportunities, by teaching women about the system, and most importantly about using the right language that care providers will respect. A doula needs to understand the conflicting agendas within the system and employ sophisticated communication strategies that respect both the woman and caregivers.
This work, changes lives, and changes the face of birthing. It is hugely rewarding and helps you grow as a person, learning from each birthing experience. It cannot be done by just anybody.
I’m very proud of this testimonial from a Dad, which sums up, what a doula is all about – “she was present, without being a presence” Nigel.