For those ambitious individuals who are looking into branching into an exciting and rewarding career as a birth doula, there are a few elements that come along with the job that can be challenging. For some, these elements are not a big deal, while for others, they can be quite difficult to overcome. For those in the profession, it’s not uncommon, especially for those aspiring to become a doula, to be curious as to what the hardest parts of being a doula entail. Here are the top three things that doulas struggle with the most throughout their career.
Always being on-call
Being on-call is never an easy thing. There are only a handful of professions that require individuals to be on-call when they are not at work, and for those that do, it is generally for a brief period of time, and rotated with other professionals. Sure, it is possible for you to align yourself with a group of doulas that take turns being on-call, but your clients might not be too happy about it. When clients hire you, they expect you to attend their child’s birth. When the “on-call” doula shows up in your place, most expectant parents aren’t going to be too thrilled.
The easiest way to handle life when on-call is to indulge in guilty pleasures less, sleep more, and go about your daily life. It is not always easy to make plans, when you’re go to-response is “as long as I’m not at a birth”. How you manage your on-call time is essential to having a successful doula career. So, when you are privileged enough to not be on-call, enjoy it. Take the time to indulge in your guilty pleasures, stay up late, binge watch your latest Netflix obsession, go out with friends, turn your phone off. Enjoy these moments, because before you know it, its baby time again!
For doulas who have children of their own, this is an exceptionally challenging aspect of the job. As a doula, you not only need reliable childcare, but you need childcare that is available 24/7, with minimal notice, and is available for unknown lengths of time. Depending on where you live, some daycare facilities open early and stay open into the evening, covering the majority of the day. If there is someone that you know and trust, consider asking them to be an on-call baby sitter, paying them monthly for being on-call and hourly for every hour they take care of your children. Another option is to hire a nanny that you can build a professional relationship with. Use their services, while referring them to other clients. No matter what childcare option you find that works bests for you and your situation, treat your childcare provider well. Bring treats, verbally express appreciation, refer them to other parents, sing their praises, pay them well and on-time, and you’ll have a great relationship with your childcare provider, who will be more willing to accommodate your situation.
Just as with anything else, a few bad apples can give the whole bunch a bad reputation. Sometimes other doulas can be the worst—while at the same time, others can be the best. By choosing who we associate with, and choosing to be kinder than necessary and conscious of what we say, we can bring a positive impression to birth doulas as a whole. When you associate with positive, like-minded doulas, you’re not only aligning with a professional alliance, but with someone who will be there for you through everything!
While being a birth doula is not always the easiest job to have, it is by far one of the most rewarding careers you could possibly embark on. Find a career that you are passionate about, and see first-hand the positive impact that you can have on those around you! International Doula Institute teaches new doulas how to be successful, and how to have a rewarding career serving expectant mothers at all hours of the day or night!