I’m the odd woman out.
One of many who identify as a Childless Doula.
No children for as far as the eye can see.
In a profession where many have come to it through their own birth experiences, I didn’t. I didn’t have a traumatic birth and yearn to prevent that for other women. I didn’t have an incredible birth supported by a doula and feel a deep desire to offer that kind of support for other women.
My journey is all it’s own. I am one of the very few (possibly only) birth doulas in the Hampton Roads area who doesn’t have children of her own. And while that can feel very isolating at times, there is something incredible going on in my own life journey. I know that if the time comes, I will enter motherhood armed with knowledge and experiences I know many didn’t have the privilege of having with their first baby.
And as for serving my clients? I don’t have my own birth experiences to process through, and set aside when I walk into the birth room. It means the information I offer, when you ask for it, isn’t based on my personal experiences.
(And as for childcare…well, let’s just say it’s one less thing I have to worry about.)
Let me be clear…many doulas have the incredible privilege of having their own birth experiences to bring with them to each client they serve. There is value in that experience. However, while some doulas haven’t had the personal experience of going through the emotions and physical actions of labor, we have the beauty of a clean slate. No preconceived notions. No bias. Supporting you right where you are at. Meeting your needs and guiding you through this transition into motherhood.
I come to your birth open and ready for anything to happen.
Your birth philosophy is my philosophy. My support is that of your own birth goals. I carry that with me when I whisper words of encouragement, when I pat your sweating face with a cold washcloth, when I see the look of worry in your eyes and assure you that everything is happening normally. It doesn’t take a personal birth experience to be able to attune to my clients’ needs in a way that makes them feel safe, comforted, and supported. To read their body language, to anticipate their needs, to help them process through difficult situations…that takes passion, attunement, and professional training.
So, does one woman make a better doula than another simply because she has or hasn’t had her own birth experiences? I need to you to understand that my answer is…Absolutely not! One is not better than the other. However, there are some who believe I am unable to provide support to my clients based on the sole fact that I don’t have my own children, ignoring my multiple trainings, certifications, years of supporting families during birth, and the passion I for this work. My goal is to show you that simply because I, and many other doulas around the world, don’t have those specific personal experiences, doesn’t mean we can’t provide the same high level of support to our clients. We just have a different, but just as beautiful, journey that brought us to this incredibly rewarding career.
Our stories and experiences that brought us to this work are just as valuable as the personal birth stories some doulas have.
So, as my husband and I excitedly await the day when we may be able to have our own children to chase after, I take comfort in knowing that my compassion, instincts, and professional training and certifications make me more than qualified to support our clients.
Children or no children.
Authored by: Lacey Bauer