You know you’re a doula when…

It’s World Doula Week this week. Funny how it seems to roll around about every five months. At the moment time passes by at the speed of a parent with a child-free 30 minutes and a week’s worth of chores to do. My children are turning, in moments, from tiny newborns to great hulking creatures with opinions about stuff.

So, here we are again all too quickly. As I’m too sleep-deprived for thought-provoking commentary here is my list of the things that make me realise I am now a doula through and through.

  1. If I put my phone down for a moment, my four year old grabs it shouting “your phone Mummy, your phone, what if it riiiiiiings” in hysterical tones.
  2. My house is full of birth pools. Open a cupboard and one will fall on you. Move a box, there’s one hiding behind it. Woe betide you if you look in the loft; there’s a small army of them and I swear they are multiplying.
  3. My four year old daughter can talk you through human reproduction in minute detail from conception to birth. She will even act out the birth complete with noises and an inexplicable bit where she makes cupcakes a few moments after her triplets are born.
  4. I can’t help but subconsciously assess houses I go in to in terms of suitability for a birth pool, walls to lean on, door frames to hang off. It’s like being a cross between Mary Cronk and Lawrence Llewelyn-Bowen.
  5. I’ve had to develop a system for when friends get pregnant to save my sanity and theirs. I send an email with every possible resource I can think of and then step back unless they ask for more. There’s a lot of tongue biting and hoping and worrying. I sometimes scream in to a pillow
  6. The post-birth picture on Facebook brings out my inner Sherlock. I tell myself “just look at the cute baby” but end up wondering whether this person has had an easy or tricky birth, looking for clues, wondering whether to deploy a friendly local doula, breastfeeding support or a shoulder to cry on until I’m cross-eyed.
  7. Insuring my car is a living nightmare. There is no category for my employment. No it’s not ‘just like being a massage therapist’. Don’t ‘just put down ‘dealer’. Argh.
  8. I have a range of answers (from the one sentence quip to the lecture-length speech) to explain my job when the inevitable blank look appears.
  9. I say the word vagina so often that it’s started to sound funny.
  10. My husband hides fragile ornaments and puts in earplugs when maternity shows appear on TV.

And if it all gets too ridiculous and I’m trying to unflood a kitchen while making empathetic moaning noises, or wondering if anyone will notice that stain on my cream brogues, I remember that what I’ve lost in glamour I’ve gained in other ways. I have an army of wonderful women and their families building around me. People I hardly know yet know so well. People I have been through something intimate, powerful and momentous with, who give me strength, teach me stuff and let me share in the most incredible moments of change, hope, despair and joy.

You know you’re a doula when your job is your life and life, well, it’s your job.

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The Hackney Doula

Doula UK Recognised