Am I doing the wrong thing here? - Mothering Forums

 
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#1 of 10 Old 03-25-2008, 01:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi everyone! I'm new here and loving it so far.

I'm working towards my pp doula certification through DONA, and really love it so far. Originally I wanted to be a birth doula, but I'm also a teacher and knew that the on-call thing wouldn't work well for me in that situation.

ANYWAY

I see that most doulas have had children. Is it bad that I haven't? I want to eventually, but I'm wondering if it's going to make women/families less likely to hire me if I haven't actually breastfed, diapered, and taken care of my own baby. I've changed a few diapers and have bottle fed here and there, and as I read the literature really wish I had a baby (real or fake) to practice breastfeeding positions, cosleeping, attachment parenting with.

I'm thinking it's going to be a good idea to work with an experienced pp doula for a while, so I can get more experience with infants. That should help, right?

I guess I'm just looking for some reassurance/encouragement, but honest opinions are also welcome. I am truly invested in helping women and families in any way I can. I see this as a real life extension of my volunteer work with www.vaginapagina.com, and really do want to do this. Is this going to be a uphill battle? Thanks in advance!
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#2 of 10 Old 03-25-2008, 02:34 PM
 
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Just because you do not have children does not mean that you could not be a good doula of any sorts. Just like women use male OB/GYN's that never will have a clue of what it is like to be a female. It may be a drawback for some women, but having experience with infants is what you need. Hands on learning is crucial in this business. The more you are around and take care of the babes, the better. Even with that said, there is a difference between taking care of someone else's child versus taking care of your own 24/7 and learning all about their personalities and what works in your individual situation.

Anyway, working with other doulas or even helping with family/friends babies will give you confidence.
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#3 of 10 Old 03-25-2008, 03:10 PM
 
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In principle, I agree that not having been there/done that is totally fine and will not impact your ability to be a great postpartum doula. That said, I would never have hired someone who had not birthed, nursed, and cared for a baby for my labor/postpartum doula, but this is just my preference. I think to other women this might matter less. Getting more skills by working with someone already established is a great idea -good luck to you!

Megan

Megan Davidson, Labor & Postpartum Doula, Breastfeeding Counselor, Anthropologist, Mom to August (9) and Clay (4), Partner to Shawn.

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#4 of 10 Old 03-25-2008, 03:22 PM
 
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My midwife is not yet a mother, and she was absolutely wonderful!! I don't think being a momma is a prerequisite for being a good doula, but you do need plenty of experience with child birth and babies and to find out whether or not it is your gift.
Best of luck!
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#5 of 10 Old 03-25-2008, 04:04 PM
 
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If this is your passion, go for it!

There are cultures in the world that do not allow mothers to be midwives and birth attendants.

The good news: every baby and mama pair is different with different needs, so YES you will gain experience.
Might it be more difficult for you? Perhaps. Might it be easier? Perhaps.

-L
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#6 of 10 Old 03-25-2008, 07:21 PM
 
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I am a birth doula and I am not married and have no children. I was afraid it would prevent me from gaining clients, but I can't be a doula for every woman. It will be a big deal for some women, not so much for others.

In my experience, no one has been put off by my not having children. In fact, one woman (who was very concerned about making sure her doctor had had a child) specifically made a point to tell me that she felt so comfortable and reassured by my knowledge and presence that childlessness absolutely didn't factor in. That was very encouraging!

Just know that the women who hire you regardless of your "mamma" status, they are the ones that you are the right doula for. Every woman should have a doula (if she wants one), but one doula can't be right for every woman.

Just my 2 cents! HTH and good luck!

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#7 of 10 Old 03-25-2008, 07:27 PM
 
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You're not doing the wrong thing.

However, there may be some women who will choose not to hire you because of this. But then again, there are some women who may definitely hire you because of this -- you're not as encumbered (physically and emotionally) as doulas with kids are.

I'm taking a break from doula-ing right now because I'm in a new city and haven't set up local childcare yet. It's hard with four kids!

treehugger.gif Erika
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#8 of 10 Old 03-25-2008, 10:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you so much for the responses ladies! You are making me feel better.
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#9 of 10 Old 03-26-2008, 10:46 AM
 
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They will hire you as a labor support but will NOT hire you for postpartum doula work when you have NO knowledge or practical experience with babies, baby care, breastfeeding or postpartum transition issues. Be realistic I'm not sure you could get hired as a baby sitter.

Get as much practical and academic experience as possible to learn about babies. I assume you're getting certified as a postpartum doula with DONA. Also take some childbirth education training course work, and more breastfeeding training, newborn care classes.
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#10 of 10 Old 03-26-2008, 11:03 AM
 
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i have a friend who, do to health problems will not have children of her own, yet she has a real heart for women, and is a great doula. As for being a PP doula, I agree you need to find a way to get some real hands on experience. Be around lots of babies and nursing moms! You'll learn a lot from watching and listening, and sometimes, with babies, its in the touch you have, so even if you don't have your own kids, I believe, at least having good experience can give you much of what you would need!

mom to Reaghan born underwater into midwife's hands 1/17/07 & Myra born surrounded by doulas and midwife at home 1/12/09. Birth Educator, and Photographer, Baby #3 Coming May 2013!

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