So, what is it like being a doula?

Already after just having three clients, I’ve had to deal with a number of tricky situations.  Without divulging any information about who my clients are/were, I’ll tell you that already I’ve dealt with physical abuse, single parenting, teenage pregnancy, eating disorders, even  murder just to name a few.

Sounds miserable, right?  Only it isn’t.  Absolutely it isn’t.

The think the thing I love the most about my job, I am finding, is that I get to come into someone’s home and assume only the best about them.  A family might be in a tough situation financially, but they love and support and love each other better than most of the people I know in my own “real” life.  Someone might have more abuse than anyone should ever have to endure in their past, but are obviously very intelligent, introspective people.  Everything people assume about poverty, abuse….is so entirely wrong.

In almost every culture, there exists an archetype of the poor, wise man – the wise cobbler, or the sage at the top of the mountain.  Here in America, we only view our poor as stupid and ignorant.  It makes me angry that we can’t see this is wrong – and with these images we are actively oppressing our brothers and sisters most in need.

Rich often teases me that I’d be the world’s worst policewoman.  “Excuse me, sir…could you tell me the reason you were going 125 miles per hour?  Oh, well, that’s perfectly understandable – it is a rather beautiful day, and that’s a great driving song on the radio there…”

But being a doula is not being a policewoman.  I’m not a mandatory reporter, and I don’t have to solve all of a family’s problems.  But when I step foot into a home and a young family who has very little spent probably most of their money in making me a real smoothie with fresh fruit, I realize the sacrifice they are making and it is the best tasting smoothie in the world.  When I get to treat a teenager as an adult and respect and support the decisions she makes for her unborn child, I feel blessed to have that role.  And when I help a single woman through a birth that she didn’t think she could get through – but she does (however she does it) – I can see all that she is capable of and have hope for her future.  And it rekindles my love for humanity.

As a human, I have many flaws.  But is it a flaw that I see the best in people?  I see it as a gift.  Just keep me away for a job in law enforcement for everyone’s sake.


3 Responses to “So, what is it like being a doula?”

  1. 1 karen August 31, 2007 at 12:41 pm

    it is a crazy, amazing, somewhat spiritual ride we’re on when being someone’s doula.

  2. 2 Dan Leone September 1, 2007 at 3:39 am

    Kristina! What a wonderful post. If you stop to think that children are born with this inability to judge people and label them based on class or race, you realize that it is the adults that are so screwed up.

    Your post is beautiful because it actually had nothing to do with being a doula (which I can bet you excel at), but everything to do with being a human.

    Keep up the great work…and writing about it!

    Dan Leone

  3. 3 Agatha September 1, 2007 at 5:32 am

    Excellent post! The world is a better place with people like you advocating for women. Keep going! x

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