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Any Teen to Twenty-Something Doula's out there?

post #1 of 33
Thread Starter 

Hi! I'm just curious...any doulas out there who are in their teens or 20's?


I became a certified birth doula when I was 19, now I'm 20. I'm just curious if there are any others like me out there and if so, what has your experience been as a younger doula? What do you think are some benefits to being a young doula? Some drawbacks? Has it been a challenge for you to get births?


I'd just love to hear from you!

post #2 of 33

Hi E!  I am a labor and postpartum doula and I am 22.  I just trained last year and attended my first births in April.  I love it! 


I think that one of the advantages of being a young doula is being able to have more energy.  I bounce back pretty quickly from births, which is nice.  If I had to build my own client base, the age thing might be more of a disadvantage, but I work with a very reputable and large doula group who gives me clients!  It's great.  Only one or two couples has asked my age, so I don't think it's a bit deal in comparison to personality matches and experience.


Do you have kids?  I have a toddler and I have to admit that I think that makes a difference in other people's eyes--to know that I am also entrenched in the world of motherhood.  Not that I'm suggesting that you go out and have kids to improve business or anything; I believe that doulas without kids can be just as excellent!  It's just an interesting thing...I think people assume I'm older because I have a son.


Anyway, glad that you're doing this great work too!  Do you enjoy doulaing?

post #3 of 33
Thread Starter 



That's great that you are a birth and postpartum doula! I agree about the energy thing, I did a birth Tuesday the 30th and felt back to normal by Thursday. (It was #25! :) I do have to build my own client base, and age definitely is a disadvantage. EVERYONE asks me how old I am, but thankfully when I ask them how old they think I am it's usually 3-9 years older than I am (I'm happy they don't think I'm immature!). That being said, I do think I have lost potential clients because of my age. 


The other reason I sometimes lose potential clients is because I'm not a mother. If that picture is of your little boy, he is adorable! :) And while there is a huge advantage in that by having gone through birth and being able to talk from that experience, I find there's an advantage in not having children yet as well, the main one being that my time is my own. I don't have a child I'm looking after 24/7 who takes up the majority of my time and that allows me to be more focused on my work as a doula. Although when that day comes, I won't be complaining! :) I think being a mother and wife is the most important roles we can play as women, and when my time comes it will be wonderful! :)


I LOVE being a doula! To me, it's the most wonderful thing in the world to get to share in the intimate, powerful, experience of childbirth with a woman and her family. To get to raise her up and help her during birth and build that foundation of confidence for motherhood makes such a difference in women's lives, and I feel humbled and in awe that I am able to get to play a role in it.


Any others out there? And feel free to keep the thread moving! :)



post #4 of 33

I am 23 and a student doula as well as lactation consultant. I find that most concerns about my age go away when people find out I'm still nursing my three year old. =P I haven't attended births as a primary doula yet, mostly just done postpartum work, and people seem to be more open to that. I think that women who are older than me find it hard to trust me as a support person- they want someone who seems older and more experienced or around their own age. BUT there are a ton of young moms around me who love having someone their age who they can message on Facebook when they have a quick question. So it's a trade off, and I figure it'll only get better as I get older.


post #5 of 33

When I was a senior in high school I followed a nurse-midwife and helped with a few births at my local hospital.  I knew birth work was for me.  I trained to be a doula a month before I turned 19.  I am now 24 and have attended 25 births.  I've worked for a volunteer program the past five years, taking some private clients here and there.


My experience has been that no one has really cared what my age is.  Clients can tell if you are a caring person, knowledgeable and are passionate about what you do. 


Benefits:  I have no kids of my own yet so I can leave at a moment's notice without trying to find a babysitter.  Waking up at 4 am by being called isn't a struggle for me.  I also have plenty of time to spend with clients since I have understanding college professors and flexible hours with my part-time job.


I can't really think of any drawbacks...  I really feel blessed to have this much experience with birth at my age.  I learn something new at each birth.  It's still exciting and wonderful each time. 

post #6 of 33

Hi ladies, 

I'm also a young doula, I'm 20 and I have only been a doula for about 6 months. So far no one has seemed to have any concerns about my age, especially as I gain more experience. I like being a doula so young because I'm excited to have found something I really really love so early on. Most people I know still have no idea what they want to do with their lives, which is totally fine, but it's nice to have something we're so passionate about. I feel like I gives me more of a chance to plan out my career/life knowing that I <3 birth. :)

post #7 of 33

I was 18 when I was invited to a homebirth to keep an eye on a toddler while mom labored and was immediately a birth addict. I started attending births as a volunteer doula up until I had a miscarriage. It has taken me almost 3 years to get back into it but I am soooo happy to be back. I'm almost 24 now and finally finishing up my certification. I think early on, I did lose clients due to my age, but that seems to be much less of a problem this time around. I'm also a nursing student (I graduate in 10 months!!!) which seems to comfort people for some odd reason. I went to a birth last Monday and still feel like I'm on a high from it!


I also don't have any children but I haven't found that to be an issue yet. So far, this time around, my only issue is coming on too strong just because I am so super passionate about it.


I just had an awesome opportunity fall in my lap to basically partner with a local homebirth midwife this November and December with all or most of her clients, establishing a relationship with me just in case she has to send a backup midwife since the one who had been working with her practice quit unexpectedly. I am super excited about all the doors that will open up.


And with any luck after I graduate, I'll be able to use this doula experience to get into Frontier School of Midwifery and 4 years from now, I'll be serving pregnant women on a whole new level!

post #8 of 33

I'm 17 and have wanted to be a birth worker for about a year now. Ever since my niece was born and I started reading stuff along with my sister, and I also helped her through part of her labor. (I wasn't there for the birth though.) I eventually want to be a midwife and open a birth center, but for now I'm going to focus on becoming a doula. I'm going to start training in a few months hopefully, and I think I'm going to go through CBI.

post #9 of 33
Thread Starter 

I'm a future midwife who wants to start a birth center too! :) I'm loving what everyone has to say! I feel like theres a little bit of my own story in each post here.

post #10 of 33

Awesome! I really want to open a center that's not just a birth center, but I also want to do regular gyn stuff AND most importantly have a few classrooms and make it like a community center focused on women's health. So i'd offer stuff like CBE, prenatal yoga, mom & baby yoga, sex ed classes, that kind of thing. Maybe some mom groups or something too. or like a meet the midwives night. I have a lot of ideas for it :) so excited! I just can't believe it's going to be almost 10 years before i'm even a midwife!! (4 for bachelors, 3 for grad school, possibly a couple off for having kids myself and taking time off...) (this is a really unorganized rambly post but its 3am and i should really be asleepp...!)

post #11 of 33

Hi Ladies! I'm new to the forums, but wanted to say hi. I trained as a doula this spring, and am loving every minute of it. I'm just starting to get clients, and will have my first (pro) birth next month! I'm 25, I'm a stepmom to a 7 year old girl, 2 1/2 yr old son, and just found out I'm expecting #3 :) So excited, for my own personal journey with this baby and my family, to do things "right", since I've educated myself so much more than I was prior to the birth of my son. So happy to meet you all, and can't wait to trade birth stories!

post #12 of 33

I was 17 when I went to my doula training and have a small practice now at 18. I also do placenta encapsulation and am going to be starting offering preconception doula care very soon. I am a student midwife as well, and I also hope to open my own birth/wellness/spa center someday!


I think age/children can be an issue to some, but they just aren't the clients for me. I refer out everyone who may have an issue with it or is uncomfortable to my doula friend who is 23 and has two children. Most see that I am light years beyond my peers as far as where I'm at in life, so that helps.


Some people have more of an issue with me having no children. But I like to explain that no experiences of my own helps me serve them better IMO since I am not bringing my own fears/memories into the situation.


So cool to know so many others find their interest in birth work young!

post #13 of 33

Wow! It is so exciting to see all the young doulas out there! Everyone's ideas for a birth center sound SO AMAZING! I would love to open one as well. Maybe someday there will be more birth center's than L&Ds in hospitals! 

I am 23 and am about halfway done with my Birth Doula Certification through CBI. I will also be completing my certification for a breastfeeding counselor hopefully in 2012. Life is busy when you are a full time mom!

I attended my last birth about a week ago but it was a cesarian and even though I wasn't able to see a vaginal birth it was most definitely a learning experience. I can't wait to attend more births and hopefully pursue some postpartum work as well. I have thought about volunteering with a local breastfeeding clinic as well.I recently met with a local experienced doula and apprentice-midwife and she is teaching me so much, and hopefully she can continue to be my mentor. 

I used to be a little self-conscious about my age but if they don't want to hire you because of your age than you surely don't want to work with them! 

post #14 of 33

Much love to the young doulas out there!  

I had my first baby at 21 and started attending births within the year.  I soon began apprenticing with a home birth midwife and teaching childbirth education classes.  As a midwife I helped start two freestanding birth centers in my state.  2 years ago, after attending hundreds of births, I retired to spend more time with my kids and pursue other dreams.  Also, by 15 years in the biz, two kids of my own,  and at age 36, these bones were feeling it!


Keep on, keeping on, lovely young women!  You mean so much to the families you help. 

I leave you with one bit of advice to remember - "It's not my birth" (repeat as needed)  ;)

post #15 of 33

I consider myself a young doula.


I am 23 years old and began my training as a doula when I was 21.  I didn't find it a challenge to get births at all being young!  I currently have at least one birth a month until February and have 2-3 some months.  I have two children - a 2.5yr old and an 11m old.  I'm a nursing student on my way to becoming a certified nurse-midwife.



I have a blog following my journey here - http://midwifeology.blogspot.com/ - if anyone wants to follow!!  If any of you blog, I'd love to follow along!

post #16 of 33

I'm 24 and just attended doula training last month. I'm finding it really hard to get certifying births, and part of the reason I put off doula training for two years since I first became interested in the field was because I don't have any children and I am young so I was afraid it would be more difficult for me to find clients.

post #17 of 33

I trained at 19 (I'm 30 now) and I thought it was much easier being young and not having childcare concerns, and not needing the steady income/benefits of a "regular" job as much since I was young and just starting out.  I never lost a client over my age.  And yes, the lots of energy and the ability to be able to sleep it off without being responsible for a child was fantastic!  Also, it was just nice not to have to watch the clock at all-- if we misjudged her birth and it took days/weeks of my time, oh well, it just balanced out the quick births. 

post #18 of 33

I'm currently still in my birth doula training, I'm 20. I find it to be a bit of a challenge with two kids, but I think it's easier for me to do it all now, then to do it when I'm older.

post #19 of 33

At BAI we have a quite a few teen doulas, a lot are homeschooled.

I think more young women should be involved:) Peer providers are really important, and it is also important to have diversity in the field.

post #20 of 33

I did my doula training when I was 22.  It took me awhile to really get off the ground with it because I was finishing my degree, but I'm 26 now and I've attended over 50 births.  I've done a lot of volunteer work with younger moms, and I feel like it was much easier for me to connect with them, and for them to trust me because we were so close in age.  Occasionally I meet clients who ask me if I have children yet, and when I say no they end up not hiring me, but for the most part my age hasn't been a problem at all!  

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