Being a doula comes with a lot of unexpected duties and unpredictable schedules, but #DoulaLife can be just as interesting to navigate for doula’s partners as it is for us birth workers. See what my partner, Matt, thinks about this wild life of doula work.
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Welcome back to our second Partner Perspectives where my partner, Matt, joins us to share his perspective on birth, parenting and various doula topics.
Today, we’re talking to the doula partners, as Matt shares what life has looked like over the past (almost) 7 years of being a partner of a doula. From the things he considers most challenging, to the aspects he really has grown to appreciate, Matt’s not holding back his thoughts, AND he shares a few words of wisdom for all of the other doula partners out there.
Alright, friends, let’s get into it!
Question: What has surprised you the most about being a doula husband?
Partner Perspective: The time commitment, which has changed throughout the years. You’ve been a doula for almost seven years, so my perspective of that time commitment has evolved over the last seven years.
In the beginning, when you were just starting out as a doula, there was the time commitment of networking and education, going to classes and really just learning how to be a doula….
And now, I realize you’re not just going to a birth. You’re not just on the hook to be on call and have to drop everything when your client says “Hey, I’m going into labor.”
It’s the support, the texts, the calls, the check-ins, the prep… all of that stuff. You’re basically on-call the second you sign with your client. And some cases, a lot of cases, it’s even months postpartum.
Question: Is there anything that you would say to the partners in regards to the time commitment, as maybe a way to show (their doula partner) support or something?
Partner Perspective: I would say to be open to the fact that they are going to have hours that aren’t normal. There are probably going to be times when texts and calls happen at night when you’re relaxing and on the weekends.
But I will say that seeing the testimonials of the people you have helped, overhearing some of the conversations in the lead-up to a birth, and the reassurance I hear you giving to some of these families, makes it all worth it.
When you take a high-level look and put things into perspective, the work that is being done is just very important and very appreciated. So sharing you with the moms that are going into labor becomes easier once you realize that it’s “for the good” and that the energy is going to a really, really great cause.
It can be hard to swallow the hours (and I’m probably preaching to the choir of doula partners), but it’s fantastic that you do it because I know it’s not easy for doulas either.
Q: What are you few pieces of advice that you would have for doula partners?
Partner Perspective: First of all, and this is just me, one of the things that I try to do is encourage you, leading into births, because I know that sometimes you can doubt your abilities. And I know that the way you handle yourself and what you’ve done leading into the birth, there’s no reason to doubt yourself. So just making sure you know that you’re really good going into a birth and having the confidence that you should is one thing that I specifically try to do.
Doula Perspective: Which I feel like that should not be glazed over, because that’s a really big deal, just being encouraging. And I feel like in this work, compared to a formal job, where your partner may have a big presentation coming up, or a meeting or interview… things that are all easily recognized as “pep-talk moments”, in our job, yes we attend births, but it doesn’t mean that we (I) don’t get nervous or doubt our abilities beforehand. So I think it’s just a really important piece to not glaze past. Encouragement from your partner is huge!
Partner Perspective: Another thing to consider is that owning your own business, being a doula and working from home is not easy. It’s a full-time job. I had a facade that even though we have a kid, you’ll be home so you’ll handle the childcare, but you also have a full-time job. So understanding that and remembering to treat your work as that is important.
Just because I go to an office, doesn’t mean that my job is any more or less hard than yours, and understanding that, knowing and taking it into consideration when we’re communicating is important. There are two full-time schedules, even though one person leaves the house to go to work and the other doesn’t.
And we’ve kept an open mind about your business and we’ve adjusted our lifestyles and our careers so that you can do this work. So just trusting and knowing that you’re going to succeed is something that you have to believe in.
Doula Perspective: And I feel like that can be good advice for doulas as well. Consider it a job. This is a non-traditional job and there are benefits to working at home and having some flexibility for things like childcare, but it’s still a job and should be respected as one.
Partner Perspective: The last thing I’ll say is that it’s a lot more fun if, as a doula partner, you’re interested in the work. Sometimes I feel like it’s a reality show where you’re telling me about these people and I feel like I know them. I know about the family and the dynamics (with confidentiality considered), and then they go and have their baby… It’s kind of fun to kind of be in it together with this. And it makes it easier because like you said, sometimes I’m giving you up for a full day or two, so I want to know how it goes. I’m invested a lot of the time in the lead up to the birth and even after when you come home and decompress… so we’re in it together with some of this and I become invested in these families that, for a long time, you kind of become part of.
And it’s crazy to me that I haven’t met a lot of these families, other than just a few. These people look at you as an extension of their family at a very important part of their life, so I want to at least know them a little bit.
I think it’s really cool, the work that you do. I think it’s an essential part- like I would never have another kid and not have a doula.
**Cue the tears!!**
And maybe even a little teaser for what’s to come… Maybe Matt will meet my clients some day after all!
In all seriousness, Matt really is my biggest support and cheerleader in this work that I do. I would not be able to show up as the doula I am without his love and encouragement, and I’m so grateful for him!
Doulas, I encourage you to have a similar conversation with your partners. Find out what parts of your work they find most rewarding and most challenging and share it with us!
Matt (and I) would love to know what your partners think about this wild work that is doula life!
Share here, slide into the DMs on Instagram @ebbirthing or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until next time!