A Doula Worthy of Imitation

As a labour doula-in-training, these are the traits I find worthy of imitation…

1. compassion (I want to see the compassion in her eyes as well as sense it in her demeanour and hear it in her voice.)

2. encouraging (Without the ability to encourage clients, she will not succeed as a doula.)

3. patience (She must be patient with her clients and the birth process.)

4. trustworthy (Clients share personal information with their doula. She must be able to keep a confidence.)

5. knowledgeable (Of course, clients want to hire a doula who can answer their questions – and knows where to find the answers if she can’t.)

6. available (Being readily accessible goes a long way to developing the client/doula relationship.)

7. strong (She must be physically strong as well as strong of character. Some comfort measures require a good deal of strength and stamina.)

8. maternal (This isn’t always going to be the case, but I find this is a wonderful time of life to enter the profession. I can offer the benefit of being the age of a client’s mother without the same interpersonal dynamic.)

9. nurturing (This, hopefully, goes along with the previous quality.)

10. sensitivity (Doulas must be sensitive in many areas. They must be sensitive to the mother’s needs as well as to the needs of others: the woman’s partner, the medical staff, etc.)

11. devoted (Birth is almost always an emotionally charged event. It is easy to get wrapped up in it and burn out unless a doula is devoted to her profession and those with whom she interacts.)

12. caring (If a woman doesn’t truly care for her clients and the whole birth process, it’s probably best if she seek another line of work.)

4 thoughts on “A Doula Worthy of Imitation

  1. heatherishither

    I thought about being a doula, then realized I’m not very good at compassion. Whenever I watched birth stories, I was constantly critical and thinking they were wimps. Not a good quality in a doula! Strike.

    Having said that, if I’d had a doula for my own birth, I would want her to have all those qualities. I’m a pretty private, independent person so I did fine with just my husband and my mom. When I was really “in the zone” I didn’t want any comfort, I just wanted to be left alone.

  2. I am a birth doula and I know that I have to channel many of these positive attributes during a woman’s labor — even though in the rest of my life I might have trouble embodying many of them! The hardest, hardest part for me is the “available.” I feel like I can always put aside my personal troubles or thoughts to focus on a woman in labor, but making sure I have my cell phone 24/7 and that I have childcare set up for my own children 24/7 for weeks at a time… that is the hardest, hardest part of doula life.

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