"I had a Cesarean Birth? Can I be a doula?"
This is a question we often get asked. Our answer is simple - HECK YES. There are no rules about who can be an amazing doula and how (or even if) someone has given birth is not a question we ask. It's not that a doula's birth doesn't matter in a bigger sense, because all births matter, however a doula's own birth or lack thereof does not change her ability to support other families as they journey through pregnancy, birth and post partum.
A doula's job is to focus on her clients. She uses skills such as active listening, encouragement and guided questions to build relational support with her clients. These are all skills that are developed with good training, experience and a heart for expecting families. They are also skills that can be used with every client in every birth situation. They are not however, created during the doula's own birth process.
Some clients may have a preference for a doula that had a similar birth to what they are planning and others may enjoy working with a doula who does not have children because it alleviates any concern that they carry about their doula's availability. Clients are certainly allowed to have these preferences. However, an excellent doula knows the support a doula provides is made stronger when her focus is entirely on her clients.
Through the years, I have worked with many doulas who did not have children. Some of these doulas were the best in my town. I also know doulas who have had Cesarean births who are amazing doulas. Finally, I know doulas who have delivered half a dozen times naturally in tubs in their dens who offer exceptional support to clients having scheduled Cesareans. It's all good.
We believe that doulas provide a valuable service to expecting families. They honor families through pregnancy and birth with compassionate and professional support. Having a Cesarean birth, or even four or five of them, does not change the value of the doula or the care she can offer.
Want to read more about the "rules" of becoming a doula? Follow our series as we discuss natural birth and the doula. Spoiler alert, you do not need to have had a natural birth to become a doula!