Would You Be A Good Doula?
You’ve heard of doulas, and maybe you’ve had one support you through your own birth experience. Now you’re starting to think Maybe I’d like to be a doula! Here are some things to consider in your decision-making process.
What Makes a Good Doula?
Personality -Doulas need to be able to meet and connect with families within minutes. A great doula is someone who is outgoing, caring, and easily trustworthy. It’s also vitally important that a doula be able to act as an advocate for the mother and family, so good doulas need to be strong, wise and assertive as well. Success as a doula will also depend heavily on a person’s ability to be flexible, kind, humble, energetic, and tender with new babies and exhausted moms. You do not need to be able to pick out the best paint colors for shabby chic decorating, but it does help to present yourself in a clean and calm style.
Education– As we discussed on the Certification and Training page, it isn’t actually necessary in the United States that a doula be trained or certified to take up the profession. We did, however, highly recommend both training and certification, as both make a doula more attractive, helpful, and trustworthy. It is potentially more difficult for an uncertified doula to find very many interested clients.
If you are considering being a doula as a career choice, it can be a great option for someone who does not have a formal college education or who has been out of the work-force for a while. Aside from doula training, the “education” most helpful for a doula is experience as a mother or involved family member who loves babies and has a passion to help new mothers and families find joy, peace, and success!
Lifestyle– A birth doula, especially, must have a very flexible lifestyle. Labor can begin at any time, day or night, and a doula needs to be able to drop whatever is going on and rush to the side of the laboring woman at a moment’s notice. This means a successful doula will have a very flexible schedule, and understanding boss if they have another job, instantly available childcare 24 hours a day for long periods of time, and an adaptable family life.
Antepartum, postpartum, and other doulas may be able to schedule their services more regularly, but flexible availability will always be an attractive trait for a doula, as women and families often need readily available support at all points in the process.
Physical characteristics– Birth doulas need to be relatively strong physically. Assisting women in labor often requires direct physical support to help turn over in bed or assume various laboring positions. Labor can also take many hours (even days occasionally), so a doula needs to be able to stay alert, helpful, and supportive for long periods of time.
Other types of doulas that are not involved in the labor directly may still need enough physical strength and stamina to assist in household chores or help a healing woman change positions.