Many doulas come to the profession after an incredibly empowering birth experience. Others come to the profession after a difficult birth experience hoping others will never face the same circumstances without support. But what if you’ve never had a baby? Can you be a doula?
In short, absolutely! In fact, there are many benefits to being a childfree doula. The only true requirement to being a doula is possessing the skills to provide non-judgmental, evidenced-based, and empathetic birth support.
However, many still wonder how someone can be a childfree doula. At IDI, we have doulas from all walks of life. We want to ensure you of the many benefits of being a childfree doula.
#1: If You’ve Never Had a Baby You Won’t Compare
While having personal experience giving birth might be beneficial for some people to relate, it can also create a barrier. How? When you’ve experienced something, you might assume others will have similar experiences. However, every birth is completely unique.
Even beyond that, it is extremely important for doulas to provide completely non-judgmental support. One must never place their personal experiences, expectations, nor preferences onto their clients. This can be easier for some who have never personally experience giving birth.
#2: You Won’t Be Tempted To “Redeem” a Birth Experience
For some, the interest in birth work comes about in their healing from a traumatic, difficult, or just not as planned birth experience. This is a perfectly fine way to find one’s way to birth work because good doula training will educate about this. However, it can still be tempting to use a client’s birth experience as a way to redeem a negative personal birth experience.
If you’ve never given birth, you won’t place that expectation onto any client’s birth. You can easily hold the space they need however their birth unfolds.
#3: You Can Be a Doula and Not Have to Worry About Last Minute Childcare
One of the most difficult things for parents who are doulas to navigate is last minute childcare. Being a doula means being on-call. With the exception of the rare scheduled induction or c-section, you never quite know when your client will need you.
Being a childfree doula means less last-minute stress when going on call. Certainly, pet sitting can be a challenge if you have pets who need frequent care. However, it is often possible to leave them alone until the other party arrives versus not being able to do that with children.
#4: You Have A Different Mental Load Than Parents
Every person who exists carries a mental load. Your work responsibilities, relationships, finances, etc. For parents, the mental load may also include juggling multiple people’s schedules, navigating their emotional health and wellness, and trying to balance time between on-call demands and your children’s needs.
While your mental load can be just as heavy, or even heavier, than a parent’s, it’s also a bit different. You’re less likely to get texts which can be simple but mentally draining such as, “When is Sam’s science project due again?”
You might find it easier to ignore texts when you aren’t also thinking about a child’s needs. Your mental load can be heavy, but you might find it easier to compartmentalize while with your clients. This provides them with more continuous emotional support.
#5: You Might Find Less Hurdles to Jumping Into Doula Work
For parents, there’s the cost of childcare, finding on-call childcare, a variety of bills, etc., can make it challenging to switch careers. Certainly, everyone has challenges in jumping into a new career, however, not having children can make it easier for some.
A doula is a professional. We do not typically ask Orthopedic surgeons if they have ever needed a major orthopedic surgery before we trust them to operate. A professional doula does not need to experience childbirth to be an amazing and wonderful support to their clients. In fact, there are benefits to being a childfree doula.
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