I have been thinking about choosing clients. I have recieved two recent calls from potential clients. These calls have somewhat thrown me as, in both cases, I had felt urging to decline their offer for paid solicitation of services (i.e., I decided not to take them on as clients). The first time, I had only the reason that I am 2 hours from her home, and it would be 4 hours roundtrip. I had no problem travelling that for myself, but in the best interests of the client, I felt she would do better to find a doula closer to her place of birth. The second, I had no real reason except I felt compelled not to take her on as a client.
I truly believe being a Doula is a calling. And, as such, without overspiritualizing things, I believe that I am given an indication for which women to take on as clients, whom I should pass on, when to suggest different options to mom, when to let mom lead the birth, and when to help her regain her footing. In other words, I feel led. This was a bit of a revelation to me: I want to be able to be a doula to anyone who seeks me out, but I am finding that I cannot be the best doula for every woman who comes my way - but those who are placed on my heart and mind, and given 'permission' to serve, those I can and will be the best doula for.
On this same thought, a doula, being a woman's servant, has to connect with the woman she is serving. The mother has to be able to trust and accept the doula for who she is and what she is, and vice versa. Likewise, mother must be comfortable with the doula - they should both be on the same page when it comes to birth philosophy and often, pregnancy and parenting. Again, I cannot be every woman's doula - nor can I be the best doula for every woman who comes my way - but I am the best doula for some. And those my heart and soul goes into fully.
I have been thinking a lot lately about the calling of a doula. A woman's servant - there to bring comfort, not only physically, but emotionally, mentally, and spiritually, there to birth WITH her, to beCOME whatever that mother needs of her, to crawl into her space and simply BE with her - it is definitely a calling.
Thinking about this, I have been considering what my promises to a pregnant woman could be. My promises are bound up in a ball in my chest and stomach, but I had been having a hard time articulating those promises. So - I set about getting that ball out of my chest and into my mouth.
These promises, I give to you, Mother:
- I promise you will not be alone. I will be with you every step of the way, from the moment you call on me until you are holding your precious little ones, you will not be alone.
- I promise I will always tell you the truth, in everything, you will be told the truth. If others mislead you, I will tell you the truth.
- I promise that you cannot say or do anything that will disappoint me or hurt my feelings.
- I promise that I will help protect you. Though no one can guarantee physical protection, I will protect your labor space, your interests, your desires and feelings regarding birth. I will shelter you with love. I will help protect you.
- I promise that you will be validated. Your birth is your rite of passage. Whatever path that journey takes us, you will have a witness and a record. Your journey is yours alone. You will be validated.
- I promise that you will be heard. I cannot speak for you but I will make sure that you have a voice and I will make sure you are heard. Though I cannot speak for you, I will be sure to make sure that you are heard.
These are my promises to you, Mother.