Hi. My name is Christine, I'm a birth and postpartum doula, I own a doula agency in Asheville, NC, and World Doula Week makes me uncomfortable. There I said it. Phew.
Every year beginning on March 22, we celebrate doulas. I'm guessing if you found this blog you already know what a doula is. But for those that don't,
"doulas are professionals that provide [non-medical] physical, educational, and emotional support to families during pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum period." Randy Patterson, ProDoula
We are present for families as they wait for their babies to arrive and as they navigate the often difficult transition to parenthood. We are available at all hours to answer questions, we provide unbiased guidance, unconditional support, and
we help our clients feel safe, supported, and prepared to meet their little ones and adjust to life at home with them.
We are with families as they work hard to meet their babies and as they learn how to care for them. We hold hands and hold back hair. We wipe tears (and share them too). We squeeze hips and we massage backs. We speak words of support and encouragement at just the right moment. We help with feedings, demonstrate how to swaddle, diaper, bathe, soothe. We take care of babies so their parents can get much-needed rest.
We help families feel cared for and confident as they navigate huge changes that are often unpredictable, stressful, and tender times.
But as doulas, we must do this with a quiet confidence and subtle presence. Our clients' birth or postpartum experience IS NOT ABOUT US. We should be like a shadow, present but never the focus.
I know I've done my job not when I hear my client say "I couldn't have done it without you" but when I hear "I can't believe I did that on my own!"
So World Doula Week makes me uncomfortable. It turns the attention on us and that just feels weird to me. I like being in the background, quietly but confidently supporting my clients as they empower themselves to have the birth or postpartum experience they want. On their terms, but with support that makes it feel easier.
I am a proud doula, and I do love seeing an expanded awareness for this profession.
But I'll just be over here tucked away in the beautiful mountains of western North Carolina supporting my clients, waiting for their babies to arrive, and waiting for the attention to be off of us again.