My children think I have laser vision and a small implanted device within my ear canal that allow me to know their every move and thought process. They hear me yell through walls, correcting them for things they know I can't possibly know about. It's not true—I don’t have laser vision or super-hearing—but I'll never share my little secret!
I can give you a hint, though: As a doula, listening is a huge part of my job. Not just listening with my ears, but listening with my eyes, my hands, and whatever special sixth sense tunes us in to the emotional states of the people around us. That “super-listening” is a special doula skill that gives us a wealth of information about what our clients, their partners, and their care providers need and want.
As doulas, we support women in their decisions for birth and parenting, provide non-judgmental support, rub backs for hours, encourage birth partners if needed, and ensure that parents understand their options and are able to communicate with their care providers with greater ease. We are many things, but not super-human. We're not built with an ability to know our clients’ exact needs, thought processes, or desires in any given moment. But we are trained to LISTEN—even to what’s not being said, to assess, to do our best, and to follow the lead of each individual client to the best of our abilities.
As doulas, we need your feedback throughout your pregnancy and birth in order to give you the best experience possible. “Is the massage too firm? Let me adjust that for you! Is the juice too tart? How about some water instead?” There will be times you may feel we are complete mind readers with laser focus and determination, but behind it all, we are also humans—skilled professionals, yes, but humans.
Doulas are there to help you along your path to parenthood. We are there to listen to your needs and to act on them with grace and confidence. We aren’t super-human or super-heroes.
No, if anyone deserves the title of super-hero, it's you and only you! You have grown a new human being, and are bringing that new little person out into the world, where you will nurture and grow him or her for a long time to come. There is no super-power quite like that. Wear your title proudly!