I received a phone call at 8:45 this morning from my friends husband, “Hi Gena, Uh, Lisa’s client went into labor and she’s at the hospital and I need to be at work today in a few hours…” No sweat, I say. My friend Lisa is a Doula and so am I, (don’t know what a Doula is? CLICK HERE). Doulas are essentially on-call 24hours a day. No matter what time it is, or what the weather’s like, they are out the door when their clients need them. Being on-call 24-7 is rough when you have kids. So, Doulas are sure to have a whole community of support.
Most Doulas have supportive partners and families and friends that understand the unconventional job we love. They understand that we may get called to a hospital or home-birth at 2am or 3pm. My mom has taken sleeping children at 4am and my poor kids have fallen asleep at home and have awkened at grandmas as if by magic a number of times. We wouldn’t do it if we weren’t nuts about this job
I’ve never met a Doula who wasn’t in love with her profession. Most Doulas however are not just Doulas. Most of us here in Fresno have “real” jobs that either pay on a more consistant basis or offer benefits, like retirement. I could never dream of more than three clients in a month. The problem isn’t finding a client. The problem is each birth is amzing and beautiful and powerul, regardless of the outcome. I’m physically and emotionally drained after a birth and need at least a week to process it and recover physically and mentally. So more than 3 for ME seems like a lot. So, since most of us Doulas take half payment up front and the other half when the baby’s born, being a Doula doesn’t really pay the bills. Yet, we do it. I know I would be crushed if I couldn’t. I LOVE my job! We don’t do it for the money, we do it for the joy of it. For the opportunity to participate in a miracle. We do it for the opportunity to be close to the creator and to witness the strength of women. And I do it because I love watching families come to life, to see the look on a new dad’s face, the tears in the eye of the grandma. The disbelieving look in the mothers eyes as she spies the wondrous outcome of love.
I’m crying as I write these last lines. I can recall so many happy faces. I remember watching the faces of a mother and her mother as they looked wordlessly at this brand new pink little baby, born only seconds before. Their eyes brimming with tears of joy glancing silently from baby to one another. I felt so honored to share this incredibly intimate moment.
Lisa just called and let me know her client had her baby and all is well. I breathe a sigh of relief and as I do my phone rings. I hang up with Lisa, it’s my client. She is in early labor and it looks like I will have to go to the hospital myself this evening. How exciting! I better make some phone calls….