A Day in the Life of a Doula

My alarm rings at 6:30, and my morning begins with coffee with my dear, counting our gratitudes and  mapping out the day.

By 6:45, two boys are on their way to high school, and depending on the day of the week,  up to four more members of the household are out the door by 7am, on their way to work or school.

I have fifteen minutes to check email and answer any texts that came during the night before waking the youngest, getting her ready for school and out the door while getting myself ready for the work day ahead.

Morning prenatal appointment at 9am, followed by an hour of phone time. I check in with mamas who had doctor appointments in the last couple of days, check in on the two mamas who had babies last week to see how they’re doing. In the afternoon, I have an hour for updating my records on the computer, getting insurance invoices together while I eat lunch, a phone consult with a doctor at 1, and a new client interview at 2.

3pm, I pick my daughter up from school, come home to say hi to the boys, oversee homework, and then get the grocery shopping done for the next few days.

Back home at 5, I start dinner for the family. We sit down together, our family of 8, as often as we can. Afterward, depending on the day of the week, I might have a client appointment, or a class to teach. There’s navigating the picking up and dropping off at various lessons. On other nights, there are choir concerts, school plays, PTA meetings.

Back home in the evening, there’s laundry to be done, household needs to be tended, and precious time to spend with my beloveds. In the spaces between, there are bills to pay, a dentist appointment, errands to run, a movie I want to see, friends invited over, family members to connect with, and so on.  At the end of the day, today’s undone “to-do’s” are added to the top of tomorrow’s list.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Or, none of the above. Any day, any time, no matter what I may have planned, I could lift right out. When the “come now” call happens, at least once a week, my life screeches to a halt as I make a quick change, grab my birth bag, and get in the car. I might be out of bed in the middle of the night. I greet the sunrise through a hospital window,  bleary-eyed, having spent the last twelve hours with a laboring mama. My sitter gets a 6am wakeup call, asking her to step in where I cannot, to tend the morning in my absence. My clients get last minute calls to say that I won’t be seeing them today. My family might move through the day without me, while I miss the school play, the dinner guests, or the tucking in at night.

I’m often asked, “Isn’t that hard? How do you do it?”  In my view, I’m the lucky one – I’m getting to do as I love. My family’s needs for food, clothing, and shelter are met by my getting to live my passion. Sometimes, I might have a pang of, “Oh, I wish this was happening on a different day”, but when I’m present at a birth, most of the time I’m not thinking about  being anywhere else.

Committing to someone’s birth means giving them the privilege to take the reins over a day in this precious, beautiful life of mine. I get the blessing of being part of a miracle. It’s my family that pays the price. It’s the people I love who have learned that I may or may not be home when they get here. I may or may not be at the concert, the Halloween parade. The boys might have to make dinner. The laundry might wait yet another day. My kisses  and “Good night, I love you” might be by text. It’s my dear friends who accept that I may not make it to the birthday party. Inviting them over is always iffy. My mother’s phone call to ask how I’m doing might go unreturned for two days. That these who are so dear to me love me anyway is my greatest treasure.

Without their acceptance, flexibility, and support, I couldn’t do it at all. For the people who love me, I am truly grateful.

 

One thought on “A Day in the Life of a Doula

  1. Thank you for sharing your all too familiar story, It was so well written and shared it brought tears of relief to my soul.

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