Ask a Doula Series, Part 2

ask a doula

Here is more from our series celebrating the doulas in our community!  Happy World Doula week! Did you miss part one? Check it out here!

What is the most challenging part of being a doula?

I’ll just be honest here… I get hangry. That’s why I pack a cooler and bag of food. When I end up at the cafeteria, I usually have a phone melt down with a friend over wet eggs or a greasy burger. Kari’s bags always include a doula bag, a huge food bag, and a cooler of more food!!!
Kari Jenkins

Preparing for and being on call are challenges, but driving home and recovering sleep after a 30+ hours can be very challenging at times.
Marcie Hadley

I’d have to say for me right now would be the interview. You want to come off professional but also be yourself. Or when you feel connected to the parents and feel confident but they turn you down. You feel like you did something wrong when really more than likely it wasn’t you.
Julia Green

Birth is the same every time in as many ways as it is different every time. Being sensitive to the unique combinations and aware of each woman’s specific needs continue to challenge me.
Heidi Duncan

As a mother with young children, I find it challenging to balance doula work with raising a family. The on call aspect is especially difficult; having to arrange childcare last minute and rearrange or cancel plans to support the laboring mother can be especially hard for planners like me. However the blessings that come with this job are worth the challenges! I have learned over time how to set limits in order to preserve quality family time as well as making time for myself. For me, it makes being a doula a sustainable career and something I feel honored to do!
Lori Stottman

Making room in your heart for everyone! (It’s also the best part.) Bonding with families during such an emotional event is incredibly rewarding and stretching. The postpartum view isn’t just the end of a “client” relationship, it’s often a segue into being a part of families in very unique way.
Megan Fleeman

I agree with the on call aspect and Kari’s hangry comment. I’ll also add that another challenge is simply educating people about the work that I do. I love spreading the word about the great work that doulas do, but it is sometimes challenging to constantly have to explain over and over again, “No, I’m not a midwife. Yes, “doula’ is a real word!”
Andrea Hewitt

What is the funniest or most unexpected thing you’ve done as a doula?

I once entered the triage room with a couple (they had not made it to a room yet) and mom was on all fours in active labor. I immediately pulled her mopped hair up off her face and neck and held it up while I got a ponytail holder secured. No sooner than I got her hair secured, she lets out on long intense moan and baby was born spontaneously. The nurse was exiting the room but turned back just in time to catch the baby. The mother later joked “the doula pulled my hair up and the baby came out.”
Amber Mohr

Kept my clients’ tiny dog from attacking their Roomba while they were trying to breastfeed. Chased a large fly all over the house with an electric fly swatter for another client.
Arielle Fears

Stood in a tiny bathroom with a couple, supporting mom in active labor on the toilet as well as dad puking in the sink beside her, with true couvade symptoms. (Couvade= sympathy pregnancy)
Megan Fleeman

I’ve got two: A client reaches between her legs with her bare hands and wipes her crotch to ask me if her bloody show was ok. A contraction began and she reached out and grabbed my hand. Ewwwww. I absolutely love her. Second, laboring at the Parthenon because Vanderbilt didn’t have a room and I knew this mom wouldn’t make it back to the hospital if we went home. I grabbed puke bags from the hospital and as she was leaning on the columns vomiting, her husband looked at people passing by and casually says, “She hasn’t been the same since she got back from Africa.”
Kari Jenkins

Guided a dad in catching his baby at an accidental home birth by the light of a cell phone.
Marcie Hadley

Watched a client’s 4 week old baby in a tiny hotel room so mom could come up to breastfeed and pump and had food from their elite dinner party.
Hillary Harvey

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