Why I Became a Doula

When I first meet with prospective clients and their families, they often ask me why I became a doula. And for along time I didn't have a good answer. I had never given birth, so I didn't have a personal birth experience that motivated me to support birthing people. I had never even been to a birth before I worked with my first client (thank you for believing in me!). But there was still something powerful that drew me to birth work. I would give a joking answer about being a "birth nerd" (I'm still a birth nerd) and talk about how I've always grilled my own mama for every little detail about her births. I decided that I became a doula because I was fascinated with birth, and that was a sufficient answer for a while.

Let me be clear, I am still fascinated with birth. I tease my childbirth classes about how I could stand up in front of them all day and just talk about having babies. But as I started supporting more families, an answer and a purpose started to emerge. I watched births unfold exactly as the family had hoped and I watched births that unexpectedly changed course but were fulfilling and serene. I also watched births that were frustrating and scary for one reason or another. It was incredible to watch the families I supported feel empowered enough to ask for what they needed and feel confident in what to expect when things veered from the initial path. And as painful as some births were, it was reassuring to see them reflecting thoughtfully on the experience and to see them reaching out for the help they needed. Watching this made me realize that through my work as a doula I was giving my families the tools they needed to do these things. I was able to use my knowledge of birth and decision-making tools to support them as they advocated for themselves and drew on their inner-strength. That realization felt tremendous.

Now when people ask me why I became a doula I tell them it's because I'm passionate about education and advocacy during the entire process of pregnancy, labor and the postpartum period. It fills me with joy and wonder when my clients can say they felt empowered during their journey to parenthood, even when things were not as they expected. My hope for the future is that I can help achieve an empowered birth for all one small step at a time. 

Maggie Mehr