By Sharon Muza, BS, CD(DONA), BDT(DONA), LCCE, FACCE, CLE
Many reasons for becoming a doula
As a birth doula trainer for many years, I have learned that there are a variety of reasons that people take a birth doula workshop. Some people want to support a friend or family member, others want to work professionally as a doula, a few just have always been interested in birth and want to learn more. L&D nurses take the class to beef up their labor support skills. There are people who are headed to advanced degrees like midwifery or obstetrics and this is a launching off point. The reasons for taking a doula training are as varied as the workshop attendees themselves.
From doula to midwife
I have met doulas who already know or soon discover that they have a strong yearning to be a midwife (or doctor). They long for the clinical responsibility and continued education that is ahead of them. They light up at the idea of being the health care provider for people through their pregnancies, the labor and birth and the first postpartum weeks.
Frequently, I meet a fellow doula during a birth or at a local doula meeting or around town, and they excitedly tell me that they were just accepted into midwifery (or medical) school. We have two local Certified Nurse Midwifery programs and a local Certified Professional Midwifery program as well as a medical school all within ten miles of each other. The doula might have been admitted to one of those programs or they may be doing a long-distance program or even relocating out of state to attend school. In a few short (long?) years, after huge expense, training and effort, they will be catching babies! I am happy for them and delighted for the families who will benefit from their care. I know it is a dream fulfilled for them.
A doula forever
Other doulas are sure and remain clear that they have no desire to be a midwife. They are happy and satisfied providing support to families as a birth doula and have no desire to have any clinical responsibility. I am one of those doulas. I have never wanted to be a midwife. Or a doctor. Not once. Not for a minute. Not ever. The thought of having clinical responsibility for someone (or two someones) scares me to death.
But do you know what thrills me to no end? Attending births with a midwife (or doctor) who I trained as a doula years before. There is something absolutely special in watching this doula turned health care provider expertly care for the laboring person and the baby. They are confident. They are knowledgeable. They are exactly the right health care provider to help this family welcome a new baby. It makes me immeasurably happy to see them in this role and I love working with them as I support my clients.
Do you want to be a midwife?
Are you currently a doula who dreams of becoming a midwife or doctor? How are you going about realizing your goal? Where are you at on this journey? Are you happy and satisfied in the doula role without any desire to become a health care provider? Can you share more about this? Do you feel completely satisfied with your role as a doula? If you were a doula and are now a health care provider can you reflect on how being a doula has helped you in your current profession? Our experiences and reasons for being a doula are as varied as we are. I would love to learn what is important to you. Thank you for sharing.