When clients hire me as a doula, they sometimes ask what kind of a doula I am (which is a little like asking what kind of a mother I am. Um… the good kind?). Here’s a little story I think illustrates Doula Meg.
A mom called me at around 34 weeks at a the recommendation of a mutual friend. Pretty late, but not unheard of. We really hit it off over the phone so we set up a time for us to meet in person along with her husband.
On Sunday afternoon, I knocked on her door and was invited in to their kitchen. She, her husband, and I sat around their kitchen table chatting. She asked questions, I answered, I asked, she answered, etc. Her husband though, was completely silent. Completely. I had been warned by both the prospective client and her friend that the husband was not in favor of natural birth. Talk about an understatement. I felt like I was sitting next to a glacier.
After about 20 minutes more of conversation with the mom, I finally turned to the dad and looked him straight in the eye.
“Dad. There is no way Mom is going to be able to do this if you are in the room for her whole labor, being the ball of anxiety and doubt that you’re being right now. So, if you’re going to support her in this, you will either have to change your tune or leave the room when your baby’s born.”
Now, I’m not going to lie – I felt pretty nervous saying this, but I’m the kind of person that has to not only acknowledge the elephant in the room, but name it and deconstruct it before I can move on with my life. So, I named the elephant.
Fortunately, Dad responded by explaining some of his anxiety and how he was feeling about Mom’s choices for the upcoming birth, which was her third. Before I left, Mom gave me a check for my deposit and told me that the second I called her husband out she knew I was the right doula for them.
So, that’s the kind of doula I am. I name elephants. Usually this is during pregnancy, once in a while it’s during labor, often it happens during post-partum visits. I love you, I’m there for you, I support you, but gosh darn it, you’re going to hear the truth from me. Bring on those elephants.