Some of you read the the title of this post, and now you’re thinking that perhaps I’m not a very good doula. You thought my job was all about advocating for my clients in birth, and empowering them.
Unfortunately, you’re wrong on all points:
That’s a strange thing to hear for people in the circles I travel in. We’re folks who like to help others and “give back”, who maybe believe we are striving toward a more just world, and who believe that people should be empowered. But when you examine the idea further, empowering another person implies things that I don’t believe at all.
In order to empower my clients, I would have to have some sort of power that they do not. I would be giving them something that they lacked. And I firmly believe that we each have our own power. Power to birth babies, be excellent parents, and live our best lives (according to our own definitions).
So I don’t have to give you power. Instead, my job may be to help you access it, if that is a thing that you need. I can create an environment where tapping into your power is easier, because someone is listening to you, rooting for you, trusting you and your instincts without judgement and providing any resources that you need.
You’ll also notice that none of that involves any advocacy, and I’ll talk more about that in another post.