Image courtesy of Pixabay
I will never be the perfect doula for every single birthing person.
It's simply impossible for me, a human being just like you with all of my own faults and uniqueness and differences, to be absolutely perfect for everyone else regardless of their own faults, differences and uniqueness.
And that is ok.
It is why I offer no-obligation interviews FIRST before someone hires me, to make sure that I am a good fit for my clients, that I am the right doula for my clients, that they feel comfortable with me and the style of support that I offer as a doula.
This usually doesn't get to happen with backup clients, the clients that I'm called out to support on behalf of a colleague who is unable to stay at a birth, or unable to make it to a birth, for whatever reason.
These clients are another doulas clients, not my clients, I'm just there to help when it is needed.
They fit well, mesh well, feel comfortable with that doula that they chose and I'm a secondary emergency replacement that they may never have met before and have no experience with and it can be awkward, it can be difficult.
I try my best to support them well in the way that I 'feel' (from observing their body language) that they need but I don't always get it right, I don't always read a cue the right way or get the right spot with counter pressure, or say the right words, or sometimes I might suggest something that I think might help but they don't want anything to do with it and may feel upset or angry that I suggested it. They don't always tell me what they need either. It's hard, but I really do try my best.
For both of us it can feel like we've been thrown in at the really deep end of a diving pool without a floaty to keep our heads above the water. We're both trying to get through it, the mother is trying to birth her baby, her partner or another support person is trying to support her in whatever way she needs, and I, or any other backup doula, am trying to read cues and provide support when it's needed as it's needed and sometimes we get it wrong or because we're not their chosen doula what we do provide feels wrong to them.
I want to say that that is ok.
And it's ok to tell the backup doula to leave.
It's ok to say that you're not a good match and it's not working.
I also want to say please speak up too if you need/want something and the backup, or even your chosen doula, isn't doing it.
We can't read minds, we don't always know what you need or want just by looking at you, by observing you. Sometimes we need to be told what you want or need before we can do it. We're human just like you and we can, and do, make mistakes, get things wrong.
I want to thank a particular mum, for whom I was the backup doula, for her honest feedback. Even though I had been expecting it it still felt brutal, but I can cope with that and learn from it. I did my best and tried so hard to provide good support, it just wasn't the right kind of support you needed, *I* just wasn't the right support person for you.
For being so honest.
For confirming what I have been thinking, and condemning myself for, for the past month and a half.
For being true to yourself and what you actually needed and didn't get and not just saying "weeeeellllll, she was ok I guess, I wouldn't hire her again but she was probably ok" when what you might have really wanted to do was slap me and scream in my face.
Thank you for saying you weren't happy with me so that I can make changes, not only in how I provide support as a backup doula but also so that I can now put things in place to work with my colleagues and meet with their clients before the birth so we can, hopefully, know ahead of time if I'm not the right backup to be called in for that particular client.
You're an amazing person, and it was an honor to be able to provide what support I could for you even though we weren't the right fit.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for everything.
Does any of this resonate with you? Want to work with me on your pre-birth mindset? Send a message to arrange a no obligation interview to find out if I'm the right doula for you!