It’s a simple fact that many who become doulas are naturally kind, caring people who want to help others in some of the most important and vulnerable moments in their clients’ lives. This is one of the best things about being a doula, but it is also important to find balance with your home/family and doula life. This part can be tricky, so be sure to not stretch yourself too thin, especially with all there is to learn out there about birth
At The VBAC Link we love helping aspiring doulas with providing numerous resources and tools including our Advanced VBAC Doula training where we cover not only VBAC related topics but also give tips on ways to help eliminate taking time searching for resources to become more confident and provide your clients with the most up to date information. Finding work life balance is so important. In today’s blog we have some ideas on how you can help create that balance while providing quality doula services to your clients and their families.
Treat it Like Any Other Job
In nearly all ways you will want to approach your doula role in the manner of any other job. You will have specific duties, responsibilities that you will need to live up too. Quality doula care means being present both emotionally and mentally and that can become difficult if you are worrying about what is going on at home while you are with your clients. It can also make Homelife hard if you are there and constantly thinking of what has or may happen in the birthing room. A few ideas to help create a balance in both spaces are listed below.
- Have a good support team
- If you have children have babysitters or someone to help at any hours of the day if needed
- Try not to bring the birth home with you.
- Leave home life at home
- Find a good birth community to process births and bounce ideas off
- Take courses to help you feel better prepared for all situations
Hours and Boundaries
While it is true that doulas often work at unusual hours compared to other professionals in the world, you can still set boundaries in order to protect your time and energy. This may sometimes mean missing out on social engagements and heading to bed early if you have a client showing signs of labor or setting up babysitting just in case you need to leave.
It is also important to set up good expectations with your clients letting them know that you are there for them if they are in need of services but if there is a question or something that can wait until the next day to message or call you during normal business hours.
It is also important to set a realistic number of births to take each month. If you are solo, this is especially important, because you never know how long births will be and how often you will have back-to-back births. When I was working alone, I would find myself going to a birth and then 24-48 hours later attending another birth however I still hadn’t recovered fully from being up all day and night with the previous client.
It’s Tougher at the Start
Becoming a doula is one of the coolest journeys I have ever taken in life, however I can’t say that it was a super easy start. There are a lot of doulas out there who work other jobs while they are building their business and that is okay. They also may be a full-time mom trying to juggle the on-call life with little kids at home. It is important to try not to get discouraged during these earlier days. Just keep your focus on what you want and know that your hard work will pay off.
Importance of Child Care
If you have children as a doula this can easily be one of the most challenging parts. Having a childcare plan in place can truly help reduce so much of the stress before going out for a birth. Over the years I found it was so nice to have a couple babysitter options in case one was busy during the time I needed to leave. I also found that hiring a babysitter for a set day one day a week helped so I could do prenatal visits or postpartum visits, market, go to a birth, or even catch up on rest. I ended up choosing someone to come by every Thursday because there tended to be more inductions on those days as well.
Communication is Key
Communication is key in any relationship — and this includes the one you have with your family. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or like you’re not getting enough help, talk to your partner or other family members about it. They may not even realize how much you’re struggling, and simply having a discussion can help to improve the situation. And on the flip side, you need to take the right steps to ensure your family understands the job you do — the fact that you may have to leave for emergencies sometimes, or that you may need to cancel plans at the last minute.
It’s also important to communicate with your clients about your availability and what they can expect from you. If you have young children at home, make sure they know that you may have to leave in the middle of the night or may not be able to answer the phone right away. This way, they can plan accordingly and won’t be left in the dark if an emergency does come up.
Have a Dedicated Work Space
Even if you only have a few clients, it’s important to have a dedicated workspace in your home. This can be a corner of the kitchen table, a spare room that you use as an office, or anything in between. Having a designated area for work will help you to stay organized and focused, and it will also give you a much-needed break from family life when you’re in that space.
In short, being a doula is a rewarding and fulfilling job — but it’s important to balance your work responsibilities with family life whenever possible. This can be challenging at first, but with some time, effort, and forethought on your part, you’ll find the perfect balance for you and your loved ones.
We would love to help your education grow as a VBAC doula. To learn more about how to support your clients through their VBAC journeys or more about our certification process always feel free to message us. You can find us on Facebook, Instagram, or feel free to message us privately through our website.