A Doula Trainer’s Resignation
I quit. For real.
No, it’s not click bait. I actually quit.
My passion for this work arose from the lack of options I experienced when faced with an unplanned, unwanted, probably unnecessary cesarean section birth with my first baby.
I didn’t want anyone else to ever feel as helpless and powerless as I had.
My first doula training focused on unmedicated births: the benefits, how to support women without epidurals, and glorifying homebirth. It was biased and so was I.
A few years later, I took a training with ProDoula CEO and seasoned doula herself, Randy Patterson. She emphasized: Providing judgment-free and objective support while collaborating with care providers and nursing staff instead of against them.
Patterson inspired me, insisting that every woman and every partnership has unique goals and priorities, that it wasn’t a doula’s job to change them but to assimilate to the family that hired the doula.
She blew my mind.
ProDoula taught me to support families how the family needed, in meeting their own goals and in deciding for themselves what made the most sense. I learned to put my own agenda aside.
ProDoula taught me about how to work with different personalities, how to respect and allow each person to express themselves as they needed. I explored communication styles, learning to attune to different people as they needed and not how I preferred.
ProDoula helped me discover tools of connection, presence, and empathy through this work. I’m a great listener. And I learned about running a business–keeping track of miles, budgeting, marketing, networking, and valuing my own work.
In our community, there is a common understanding that doulas should work for free if someone really needs it.
My family, however, disagreed.
My mortgage disagreed.
The gas station insisted I still pay for the gas in my car.
ProDoula and Randy Patterson’s influence helped me develop the confidence to decide that I could no longer get out of bed in the middle of the night, miss birthday parties for my kids, their chorus concerts or Christmas Eve service at church without being compensated for this sacrifice.
It didn’t make me heartless–it made me a business owner who is responsible ultimately to her family.
I became a ProDoula trainer and really loved facilitating doula trainings. I helped doulas define their work, learn about supporting all families in all births and all postpartum situations, and gave them the confidence to turn their passion for supporting women into a paycheck.
And then my life changed in the blink of an eye. Those helpless, powerless feelings I’d experienced with my first baby’s birth returned as I navigated a horrible situation with one of my children, who has special needs…
I put my business and my life on hold while I advocated for my child. The skills I had adopted from my association with strong, courageous women and from my ProDoula trainings served me well.
I spoke clearly and concisely.
I was rational.
I managed my emotions.
I confidently held school administration accountable.
I followed through with paperwork and meetings and appointments.
I was able to act decisively because of the growth I experienced through ProDoula.
6 weeks later, I surfaced for air. And my passion for doula work was gone.
Not my passion for supporting women. Not my passion for social justice and women’s rights in the labor and delivery room. But I could no longer anticipate attending someone’s birth and being fully present.
Supporting a new family through the postpartum period, once energizing, now was draining. The thought of leaving my family as quickly and spontaneously as I have before no longer felt joyful or right. It stressed me out, and I realized that fighting for my child’s quality of life had changed me.
I’ve resigned as a ProDoula trainer and closed my business. I remain a member of ProDoula and am delighted to always offer love and support to my former colleagues, forever friends.
My relationship and association with ProDoula, with Randy Patterson and Debbie Aglietti, have been a blessing to me. I’m so grateful for the time that we shared working together.
I am spending time healing from this event, with my family, and am planning on attending graduate school next year.
Thanks for everything!