When I decided to become a doula, my greatest concern was how this would impact on the needs of my own family. When I had my children, I made a conscious decision not to return to work so I could be around for them. Being able to attend school plays, assemblies and help out on the occasional school trips is a privilege where I see my sons and daughter in a different environment. I enjoy watching them interact with other adults and children and behave differently from the way they are at home.
Being a doula means that I am on call for 4 weeks around the mother’s due date. During this time, my priority becomes the couple I am supporting and all other needs come second. I have to keep my phone on at all time and be prepared to leave at a moment’s notice. I also have to have to be organised and have food ready and friends on stand-by to take care of my family if I am attending a birth.
So why did I chose to become a doula despite its impact on my family? Because supporting couples in that special time makes me happy and fulfill my vocation. I know deep down what the presence of a doula brings to make this experience positive and fulfilling for both parents. I also know that having found my true calling has helped me feel more settled and content with my life.
More than anything, I am proud that my three children grow up in an environment where birth is seen as a special, exciting moment and not as a painful ordeal. My 11 year old son probably knows more about useful positions in labour than I did while I was pregnant with him. This makes me happy and I know that, from this knowledge, generations of babies will be born in a supportive and positive environment. I also like the fact that my daughter, aged 7, understand that what she sees on the TV is not the only way a baby can be born and my work as a doula has helped her see the variety and beauty of birth experiences.
So, I am not neglecting the organisational impact of my work, but I know that it is a small price me and my family pay to ensure birth is, once again, perceived as the natural, beautiful process that it is.