The Empathic Doula
I am a birth worker by trade, having studied postpartum doula work, and childbirth education, over the last seven years. I knew I wanted to be involved in the birth world after I had my first child, though, thirteen years earlier. The nurses that attended to me during my fifteen hour labor were an inspiration to me, and provided much comfort to a scared, 19 year old first time mom. Back in those days, I had never even heard of a “doula” and thought midwives were a thing of the past.
(Just FYI, “Doula” literally translates to ‘a woman’s servant.’)
Fast forward many years, past a picture perfect pregnancy, and an awesome totally med-free eight hour labor with my second child, I knew that the birth world was the place for me. I studied to become a certified HypnoBirthing® educator, later on studying to become a postpartum doula. Most recently, I am studying to become a labor and birth doula.
Last night, as I plugged away at the chapter about the doula in the delivery room, I found myself having to stop and wipe tears from my eyes, as I read about how doulas attend the birthing mom during the various phases of labor. The chapter spoke a lot about the emotions of the birthing mother, which are a huge component in not only pregnancy, but birth. (And of course, thereafter.)
I had to laugh a little to myself, wondering just how I am going to hold myself together in the actual birth setting, if getting through the compulsory education part of being a doula is THAT emotionally inspiring.
I guess when I introduce myself to potential clients, I’ll have to say “Hi! I’m Layla and thank you for considering me to be your doula…oh, and by the way, I’m an empath…this box of kleenexes here, is for me.”