Not that the doula gig isn't full of sunshine and kittens. Okay, yeah, so it's totally not full of sunshine and kittens. What you've read about birth work isn't all that accurate--babies are rarely born bathed in heavenly light and serenaded by a chorus of angels. It's usually more, uh, primal than all of that, that's a freakishly bright spotlight up there, and the chorus of angels is likely a nurse coaching a woman on how to take the largest dump of her life. You think I'm kidding about that last part. How sweet of you!
So this one goes out to my doula sisters, because they may be the only ones who truly understand what it's like. Sometimes we need each other to talk us down from the proverbial ledge. Thank you for talking me down so I can doula another day. You are a rare breed... A doula.
If you've ever had a full-blown panic attack upon realizing your cell phone shut itself off in the middle of the night, even when none of your clients are due.... You might be a doula.
If you've ever been forced to spend a weekend in borrowed scrubs and dress shoes because you've been called in for a birth but your birth bag hasn't.... You might be a doula--and repeatedly considering burning said pair of dress shoes when you get home.
If you've ever found yourself in the middle of a coffee shop [loudly] discussing what wine would pair best with your client's placenta tartar... You might be a doula. You might also take satisfaction in seeing the people in the booths around you push their food away in disgust.
If your partner texts you at 3 a.m. to ask "How far dilated is she?"... You might be a doula, and trying to dismiss the fleeting notion of calling him in as your back-up.
If you've ever laughed in someone's face when they complained about their 12-, 20-, or 24-hour shift... You are really just insanely jealous. But, yes, probably still a doula.
If you've ever held someone's leg in the air for two hours.... I don't want to hear about it, probably. This is a family show.
If you have burst into tears about the sink full of dishes that smugly greeted you when you emerged from that three-day birth... You are totally justified in stringing your family up by their toenails. And you're a doula.
If you complete each of your sentences with the phrase, "unless I'm at a birth". Doula doula bo boula.
If you've learned an otherwise pointless hobby just because you need something to occupy yourself during early birth... You should probably sleep instead. Just sayin'.
If your colleagues are some of the nuttiest women around but also the most amazing people ever, you're not only a doula, but you're blessed beyond measure.
In a world where we work so hard to be that difference to the families that trust so very much to us, sometimes we need more shoulders to bear the burden. Thank you for walking this crazy path alongside of me, sisters. You are amazing! You are doulas.