Updated: May 9, 2020
"Get a real job, hippy." Yes, someone did say this to me. And well, to start, I am not a hippy (not that there is a problem with being a hippy). I wouldn’t even consider myself “crunchy.” So, what does it take to be a (birth) doula?
Let’s start with what a doula is. A doula is a labor companion and technically, anyone can be a doula. Doulas are not a new thing, as women have been attending each other’s births for centuries. The profession of being a doula, however, is a more recent development. At some point in time, when births shifted from homes and communities to hospitals, women began to lose the knowledge of labor and birth that had been passed down through the years. There was even the time of twilight sleep, where women were given drugs that put them in a state of semi-consciousness and caused them to completely forget their experience. Thankfully we have moved on from that method.
This major shift in how we approach childbirth also shifted the meaning of being a doula. Doulas are now regarded as professional non-medical support persons. The knowledge of labor and birth, and how to support someone through it, is now something that needs to be regained through education. But the doula industry is not regulated. What this means is that there is no standard training, curriculum, or certification required to be a doula. Multiple training organizations exist and it is up to the individual to decide which one suits them if they even choose to go through training. I chose to train and certify. I do think it is possible to self educate and gain experience to be an amazing doula without having to be certified, but these are all important things to consider when interviewing doulas.
So what am I ultimately trying to say? *Not all doulas are kale eating, kumbaya singing, circle chanting, oily, all-natural, armpit hair having “hippies.” Because we come in all shapes and sizes. And we are typically trained/educated professionals. So if you want a doula like I just described, you can find one! Or if you want a doula who is a coffee junky, Netflix watching, Flaming Hot Cheeto eating, pun-loving kind of person, you can find one. (Me. It’s me.) So take some time to decide what is important to you in a doula and reach out to those who you might be a match with. You will find that most offer a complimentary consult.
*I have zero problems with kale eating, kumbaya singing, circle chanting, oily, all-natural, armpit hair having people. I am just using this as an example of what so many people think of when they hear the word “doula”