It sometimes means staying home from the cottage when the rest of your family goes. It can mean being on call on your birthday or anniversary. It means going to bed early, just in case a call comes later in the night. It can mean achy legs and tired arms from squeezing hips and applying counter pressure to help a labouring woman cope with her contractions. Sometimes it means leaving your family for an unknown period of time.
Those are some of the sacrifices of being on call. What being a doula really means is witnessing the sacred moment of a new person coming into this world. It means being remembered forever as someone who helped make a birth a beautiful and positive experience. It means being an honoured guest at a birth, often times over close family members or friends. It means you get to help a couple bond and support her partner so that they can support her with confidence. It means being a part of the history of women supporting women in birth.
The honour of birth work is priceless. Being a doula is not just a career, it is a transformation. Imagine having work that you felt so passionate about that being paid was a bonus. A day (or night) on the job is often filled with moments that are so intense that you will burst with emotion.
When you decide to become a doula, you are stepping through a door through which you might never look back. You will never be the same person, again. Welcome to the sisterhood of birth workers.
Written by Michelle Stroud, former Labour Doula Instructor with The Healing Arts Learning Organization (now Doula Training Canada)