It's often asked - and well, it should be wondered by anyone considering this work - what's the hardest part of being a doula? Here are the 3 things doulas struggle with the most.
Living Life On Call
If this were a top ten, this one would be numbers 1-5. There aren't that many professions that require being on-call. And of those that do, most of them divide on-call time between a group so that one person is on-call for a limited number of time. And sure, you may decide to work in a group that rotates call time. But, most clients want YOU when they hire YOU and one of their biggest beefs (and rightfully so) with their OB/midwife is that they have no idea who will actually attend their birth.
So, how do we do this? Well, we indulge a little less, we sleep a little more (save that netflix binge for off call time) and we go about our normal lives as much as we can, and those who love us get used to hearing "as long as I'm not at a birth." Being on call kind of sucks. But you know what's awesome? Walking out of the hospital at 8am and seeing everyone else go about their normal day - running to work, dropping off kids, all completely oblivious to the absolutely magical event that happened on this earth just hours before. And sure, getting called out at 1am isn't awesome, but it's the life and privilege of a birth worker. How you manage your on call time becomes a key aspect of your sustainability - your ability to last in this profession - this is one of the four principles of BEST Doula Training (Business, Ethics, Sustainability, Together). So, honor your time off call. Binge on netflix, drink an extra glass of wine, laugh with friends a little too late, leave your phone on silent (and maybe in another room) - enjoy, because the next round of babies is coming soon!
If you don't have children - skip this part - yay! only 2 hardest things for you!
If you have a child or children this is a juggle. Our childcare needs are unique to our work - we need childcare available 24/7 within not more than 2 hours of first notice and for unknown lengths of time. Some places have childcare facilities that have drop off services that open early in the morning and stay open into the evening, and that will cover a lot of your time. But this isn't available everywhere. You may consider asking someone you trust to be on-call childcare and paying them monthly for taking call and hourly for time that your children are cared for. If there is a nanny agency in your area you can launch a professional relationship and use their services and refer to them as well. Their client's are likely having more babies, too. Really, childcare is an issue for any working parent, especially when children are not in school, the situation is just a bit different for doulas because of the time needed (potential over nights and duration). My parenting and professional advice - treat your childcare well! Whether it's teachers, sitters, nannies or friends, bring them treats, verbally thank them, refer them to friends, sing their praises and pay them well and on time! Do this, and you'll assure yourself a nice childcare arrangement. Having reliable childcare leads to your growing business and sustainability - don't be afraid to work together with other businesses to make this a sure thing for you!
This is a funny one right? Sometimes other doulas can be the worst - but the thing is, they can be the BEST. In any situation, a school classroom, a working office, a few bad apples can ruin the bunch. A few people being loud, maybe a bit aggressive in an unkind way, etc - well, they can make things kind of rotten for the masses. But, like children can learn in the book "One" by Kathryn Otoshi, we can stand up. We can choose kindness. We choose what we say, how we behave, who we surround ourselves with, and we can choose to bring positive energy to the world. Surrounding yourself with doulas means always having someone to doula you through. . . well, anything really - tattoo doula, dentist doula, bad-hair-day doula, you name it - this group of empaths has got your back! We can choose positive doula culture, we can choose to be BEST Doulas and together we can change the world. Remember, Together is one of the four principles of BEST Doula Training. Join us at Love What You Doula and register for BEST Doula Training - jump right on in to this positive doula culture!