Sunday, 2 December 2012

Journey is the most over used word in the English language....

.....but the road to active doula-dom actually qualifies as a journey for me.

I'm not sure when was the last day I was in official, paid employment but it was about this time last year and it has been a long, frustrating year.
Having said that, I am glad I had the opportunity for a redirection, if I ever get to seriously be a doula I am pretty sure I will love it but the way to success is long and winding.
I did my study and attended my training birth and then, thinking it would save me the hassle and expense of setting up for myself I signed a contract to work for my teacher. I phoned a few potential clients who all decided I wasnt the doula for them and after six months without a single successful referral I decided I couldnt stand to be entirely impotent over my own fate and maybe I should leave the contract. The boss didnt like that idea so there was another delay while I got some advice and I will be free to fall on my face or rise on my own feet at the end of this month. How exhausting and I havent even had to get up in the middle of the night yet!
Since deciding to strike out on my own I have bought a domain name, got a business registration number and wrote copy for as well built, my website.Its not the fanciest site you ever saw but fit for it's purpose. I liked doing the website, even taught myself a smidgin of HTML so I could customise the look of it a little bit.
The world of doula-ing is a funny one, seeming not to have any monetary value. It is affected by that strange phenomenon where people wont pay to keep their health but will pay anything to regain it. People regularly suggest I do free work for experience and doulas themselves dont expect to make a living from it. Its a bit of a shock to sit in a park with a bunch of doulas (as I have done a couple of times) and hear them talk about how it is a job one does for love. I'm happy to work for love but love doesnt put fuel in the tank or food on the table and who else do we expect to work below cost or for free? I'm all for positive energy and trusting the universe but I like cold hard cash in my pocket, too. I guess I have a ways to go in full fledged new-age-ness :)
I do have a single client right now, her baby girl was due last week so I am on high alert. The process of walking through the pregnancy with her has been a learning experience and it's both daunting and exciting to know that every mumma and every baby will be different, the joys and challenges of each one will be unique. I almost feel like a detective sometimes, taking intuitive or educated guesses on what might happen in the next part of the process, thinking about what issues might arise and how I might deal with them. Yesterday my lady in waiting had some concern about baby being very quiet and I was pretty happy to realise that I could imagine both the good and the bad possibilities of that situation and know that I was as ready as I would ever be to deal with any of them. Bub woke up after mum had a good rest, which was the perfect resolution so after that potential drama we are back to the long wait. Waiting, more than anything else is the main occupation of a doula.


  1. I have my fingers crossed for a successful 'first birth'. And yes, it is bizarre the professions we underpay (nurses, child care, teachers) and those we overpay (company directors, many politicians, ....).

  2. Hi EC! happy sunday to you.
    In this society (ie,most of the world) we have odd priorities. I will never really understand people who can (say) drive a fast car but not have good dental work or drink buckets but not be prepared to pay for good food.
    i think that when we look around at value systems of any scale, the trend is to pay for power, prestige, comfort or to try to safeguard ourselves from some fear rather than to put value on human capital.

  3. Thank you. I have learnt a new word - Doula.

    I wish you all the best in your new endeavour.

  4. Hello, Kylie! here from Nick's blog.

    What is a doula?

  5. rummuser,
    thank you :)

    hmmm, where to start? a doula provides emotional and informational support to women (and families) during the childbearing year. a big part of it is to be present at the birth and try to make sure the parents get the kind of birth they hope for. of course with birth being the unpredictable thing that it is we cant always make it perfect but if things go pear shaped we try to make sure the mum still feels empowered where possible, it can make all the difference between a fulfilling birth experience and a traumatic one.
    your question is a "how long is a piece of string?" type of thing and i could go on forever in answeing but not everyone is quite so keen on it as i am :)

  6. Hey, Kylie, I'm glad to hear you have a client at last! That's great. I hope she feels the benefit of it and recommends you to others.

    Of course doulas should be well paid and making a decent living out of it. The obvious benefit to the mother (and father) should be properly rewarded.

  7. hi nick,
    this one was voluntary and great experience but it does deserve to be paid.
    i noticed yesterday that once the work of getting the baby is done the supporters get distracted but without the family attachments etc a doula remembers that the mum must be her main focus

  8. Hark! I'm caught up. Man, I just wouldn't like them there 37 hour days (that you mentioned in your more recent post), no I wouldn't, but I sure respect you for doing such work.

  9. thank you so much, snow!
    if anyone had told me i would be self employed and work 37 hour days i would have laughed them off the face of the earth but i found something i really WANT to do so that makes it easier. i wont say easy and i wont guarantee how i feel when the novelty wears off but for now it is joy


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