Why I Love Having a Doula Partner
In the doula community the phrase "unless I'm at a birth" is used frequently. As in "I would love to come to your party, unless I'm at a birth," or "I have a dentist appointment, unless I'm at a birth." It's a phrase used so often that doulas even wear t-shirts with it and carry coffee mugs that say it. It's become our motto of sorts.
What if there was a way to just say "sure, I would love to come to your party" period. Or "It's in the calendar, I'll be there" and still give great, supportive doula care to your clients?
I love birth doula work. Every
time I see a birth it is a miracle. There's nothing better then to be present when a family welcomes a new baby into the world. I always feel honored to be present, sharing in the awesomeness of the moment. I love to see a new parent holding their baby and marvel at the new life in their arms.
But here is what I don't love...being on call. You see, I have a family and life too. It's hard to put everything on hold at a moments notice. I feel guilty when I have to cancel appointments or can't be at something important in my children's life. I always want to be at a birth, but sometimes I want to be someplace else too.
So here is what I did. I found a doula. I thought she would be my backup, but instead I found a partner. For a doula, a backup is a necessity as none of us can predict when we might have a stomach bug or break our leg. There are things I don't love about having JUST a backup. I feel responsible to my clients and am on call all the time. As I got to know my future partner I discovered that she shared my feelings. We started to look for a way to serve our clients better and make being on call easier.
So we decided to "share" our clients. We would present our "team" approach whenever either of us received an inquiry. We went on interviews/consults together and really sold how having a doula team benefits a client. What we offer to our clients are 2 doulas worth of experience, training, and support. And one incredible advantage, is our own families are not neglected as we serve our clients completely.
Using this system makes me a better doula. I am not burnt out from being on call. I have the ability to schedule self care and enjoy my family and friends without being afraid I will get called to a birth. I don't feel guilty or distracted about what I am missing when I am at a birth. I can fully commit myself to being 100% there for my clients, because the things that matter to me are already taken care of.
My doula partner is a fantastic doula. She has skills and certifications that I don't. When my client decides she would like a breastfeeding class/help that is out of my scope I can confidently offer her that resource through my partner (she is a CLC and a La Leche leader for many years).
I love having a partner and walking this awesome journey with a wonderful doula and friend. The benefits of having someone to share the responsibilities of being a doula with is absolutely right for me and the families I serve. Now I can confidently say "yes, I'll be there" without adding "unless I'm at a birth" to whatever is important to me and my family during the month.