I get this question a lot. It can be an odd concept to some that a support person for laboring mothers can be successful without having experienced labor herself. There are many things to consider when hiring your doula and experience should definitely be one of those things. There are families who prefer doulas who have had years of experience and there are some who don’t mind a first timer. When picking a doula, comfort is the most important thing. If you’re not completely comfortable with a doula, do not hire her. It will be beneficial to you and her if you don’t try to force comfort. A doula is there to make your day better and if you’re not relaxed when you’re around her, her job will not be successful.
The point of this post is not to steer you in any direction during your doula search. There are many questions when it comes to doulas who are not mothers and I am going to try and answer just a couple of those questions. I am also not trying to detract from the benefits of having a doula who has had a baby before. In my personal opinion, having a doula, no matter her past experience, will only prove to benefit your birth day.
Passion Working in the birth world is something that requires a lot of passion. It is not something that a person does simply because "they needed a job." It is nearly a guarantee, when delivering, to have people around you who are passionate about everything being successful. No matter a doula's background, you can trust that she loves what she does and is doing it because she believes in the benefit of having extra support. Personally, I've been fascinated by the miracle of birth since I was a preteen. I've observed over a dozen births and don't need to experience myself to know without a doubt that the female body is one of the most incredible machines on this earth and that a mother's spirit is one of the most resilient and strong willed you will find. I know without a doubt that every mother is capable of what she is put through during labor and I make it my job to remind her in every moment of doubt that she is stronger than anyone could ever know.
I've seen the intense love between parents and children at all stages of life. While I long for that connection for myself, I know, without that experience, that fostering that love and allowing for immediate bonds to be made are what's really important during delivery. I know that your partner is the one you want to be right by your side during labor. I don't need to experience the intimacy of birth to know just how important having your partner with you is. I know how important it is for me to support the love you two share so that this day is remembered positively by both of you.
My passion for birth day to be successful allows me to recognize what is really important: you, your baby, your partner, your family.
No Children=No Childcare Simply put, I only have myself to worry about when you call. While I would love to have the responsibility of taking care of mini-mes one day, I’m able to take advantage of the freedom I have until that time comes. There won’t be any delays in my service caused by childcare needs and the ever changing availability of babysitters. I won’t be worried about getting kids to and from school or daycare if you call during the day nor will I worry about getting kids to bed on time or waking them up early enough for the day if you call during the night. My only focus when you call is you, your baby, your partner, and your labor. And until I have my own bundle of joy, that’s how it will remain.
Your Story, Not Mine Often, people may encounter unsolicited advice from loved ones that compare your situation with theirs. While intentions are almost always good, this can feel intrusive and overwhelming. A doula is trained to use her past experiences to aide you while avoiding the aforementioned situation. This applies to all experience, whether it is personal or professional. Every labor and birth are unique and there are many factors that affect the day. Rather than a cookie cutter plan for what’s worked for other people in the past, you want a personalized experience with what will work for you. Whether or not a doula has had her own baby, how she uses her experience to best help you during your labor will not change.
Training All doulas receive the same training. I saved this reason for last because it’s the one I referred to the most in the beginning and yet I find it the least effective in explaining the position I’m in. If it were as simple as, “we’ve all had the same training,” then no one would have more than a single phone call to hire their doula. Yes, I’ve had the same training as a mother of two and can be just as successful as she is as a doula, but if you’re wanting a motherly figure, I may not be able to provide that. So, while I like to emphasize that I am no less prepared for my job than any of my colleagues simply because I am childless, I think it’s more important to highlight the point of comfort. As I said in the beginning, your comfort is the key to making a doula-mother relationship work. If you do not trust your doula or you are uncomfortable around her, no one will benefit.
If you are looking for how to find the best doula for you and your family, google ‘questions to ask a doula’ or look for a future blog of mine with a similar title.
What do you think about having a childless doula? What are some other questions you might have about hiring a childless doula that I can answer? Let me know in the comments! Remember to be kind.