Can I Be a Doula? (Part Two)

"I have not had a natural birth? Can I be a doula?"

Women are often interested in doula work but have either been told directly or inferred indirectly that there are some things that might disqualify them from pursuing doula work. BEST Doula wants to dispel these myths. If you want to be a doula, you can be a doula! Some of the biggest myths about doulas surround natural birth so let's talk about that.

Do I need to have had a natural birth in order to become a doula?

A thousand times...NO! Great doulas have had natural births, births with epidurals and Cesarean births. They have adopted their children, their partners have given birth to their children and some have not had children at all. A doula's personal birth story IS NOT A JOB REQUIREMENT. Women from all experiences and walks of life can be skilled and trained to provide doula support. When it comes to being a doula, the focus is always on the people having a baby and not on the doula's history. 

BEST does understand that there are some organizations that *do* have a natural birth requirement for doulas and childbirth educators. These organizations will only train and certify women that have had a natural birth. While we understand that every company has the right to choose the regulations for entering their program, at BEST we feel a natural birth requirement is discriminatory and unnecessary. 

We hope that the organizations that have a natural birth requirement will reconsider and remove this requirement both for doulas and for childbirth educators. 

Doulas go through training to learn to support ANY laboring woman. At BEST we teach skills for active listening and for developing professional relational support. Yes, doula training will include the basics of childbirth and yes, a doula should understand physiological birth, but the bottom line is that doulas provide professional support and that can be done well regardless of anything that happened (or didn't happen) in their personal life.

Do doulas only support natural birth?

Once again, nope. Some doulas may choose to market to families planning a natural birth but one of the coolest things about doula care is that research shows that when a doula is in attendance at a birth, it results in better outcomes and happier women - no matter how the delivery occurred. In BEST Doula Training we will help each doula think about her ideal client and how to make doula work sustainable. Some doulas will choose to specialize in working with those who are having Cesarean births, medicated births, VBACs or natural births but doulas do it all and do it all well.

All doulas hAVE natural Births, probably in A bathtub. Right?

This one goes back to the first question. Have most doulas had natural births? We don't know because we don't ask the doulas that we train to explain to us if, how or why they had their children. The stereotype of the hippie doula is just that - a bad stereotype. (We blame television.) Doulas are a beautiful tapestry of women and men who have a passion for pregnancy, birth and post partum. They love that they can have a career making the world a better place. BEST's mission is to help doulas have long lasting, meaningful and profitable careers. Are their some doulas that have birthed at home in their tub? Sure. Are there some that scheduled Cesarean births? Also yes. However, neither choice matters when it comes to being a fantastic doula.

If you have other questions about becoming a doula, the "rules" about who can become a doula (hint: there are none) or how to become a BEST Doula, we'd love to hear from you! If you would like to read further about becoming a doula if you have had a Cesarean birth, we invite you to read Can I Become a Doula (Part One) in our series.