By Doula Jen
For both birth and postpartum doulas alike, there is a certain stereotype. Vegan, purple scarves, acupuncture enthusiast, co-op shopper, knitting needles in purse, perhaps a strong feeling or two about the modern need to shave…or not.
OK, so some of these characteristics–however cartoonish as a whole–are valid. Most doulas have at least a hint of crunch. And most of us have–at one point or another–joked about the stereotype, perhaps proclaiming: I’m a doula, but I don’t compost. I’m a doula, but I love lip gloss…no seriously, the crappy drug store kind, not just Burt’s Bees.
Joking aside, there are certain traits that make a woman a natural born doula. Often, when I’ve trained a woman working on her certification in the field, Tory will check in with me afterward and ask, “Does she have it? Is she a doula?” Beyond certification, it takes a certain type to do this work. There is an “it” factor that can’t necessarily be learned.
Doulas are wonderfully fascinating, complicated, and compassionate people. Here is what I have found to be somewhat universally true about my fellow doulas:
- They hug everyone, announcing that they are a hugger (and probably also that they are a doula) as they do so.
- They come to friends–always–with offerings…chocolate, trinkets, coffee, wine.
- They are super-geek OBSESSED with childbirth and lactation.
- As the opportunity presents, they will always ask about a woman’s birth. This comes before “where did you go to college” and “how did you meet your partner.”
- They “get” yoga.
- They possess a deep emotional well which over time brings forth many tears.
- They also have a thick skin and strong shoulders upon which they easily lay the emotions of others.
- They have many close girlfriends.
- They offer help to other moms–at the school carnival, at the grocery store, on an airplane–most likely with the blanket explanation, “I’m a doula.”
- They are both perpetually tired…and tireless.
Happy World Doula Week to all of our wonderful Welcome Baby Care doulas and doulas everywhere!