“I don’t serve families that have those kinds of parenting philosophies. It isn’t my cup of tea.”
It was a normal weekday evening, and I was about to shut my laptop down for the day when these words from another doula appeared on my screen. I was shocked – speechless, even, at first (and that’s an accomplishment!).
There was an eruption of agreement and condemnation of parents like I had never seen in all my years of supporting families, and it became clear that my idea of the inherent lack of judgement involved in doula support was not as widespread as I believed.
Many of my clients hold very different opinions, beliefs, and practices than me (sheer volume makes that nearly inevitable) and I’m comfortable supporting an awfully wide range. It’s always been obvious to me that my opinions have no bearing on the way I care for my clients, much less WHO I agree to care for! All of us doulas here at PFB are here to fulfill the needs families have for nonjudgmental support, whatever their personal goals are: breastfeeding, bottle feeding, sleep training, bedsharing, unmedicated birth, elective cesareans… you name it, we know how to help you through it!
These loud and proud personal judgments make me question why these people become doulas. They’re so hellbent on their way or the highway, and nowhere does that fall under the umbrella of support. I’m not saying no one can have personal opinions or convictions (hell, I’m full of them!) But if you can’t learn to set that aside and support families in any birth or parenting choice they might make, then don’t seek out a profession that necessitates that ability.
Because there is one judgment I will make, that for the good of families looking for support and for the reputation of my own career, I MUST make. If you can’t set aside your personal preferences, you shouldn’t be a doula. A good and effective doula must possess the will to learn new perspectives, and challenge their own biases. The best doulas are the ones who want to learn and let go of judgement, not push their own agenda on others (whether blatantly or subtly).
When I decided to offer both birth and postpartum support, it took lots of soul searching on my part to look at myself and see my biases and how they could potentially affect the families I was going to care for. I was a fiercely outspoken person with strong beliefs about how many things should be done. Working through that was hard work for me; and it was the best work.
Supporting all kinds of families is my passion, and it’s allowed me to grow and become a better and more compassionate person as I expand my comfort zone. Most importantly, I’ve watched it give parents confidence in how they birth and raise their own so-loved babies.
Don’t underestimate the power of affirmation in fostering healthy families.
Here at Phoenix Family Birth, we’re in the business of delivering unbiased, compassionate, hands-on hearts-on support.
So parents, I don’t care what kind of tea you like: when you come home with your new baby, we will steep, pour, and serve you that tea (and make you dinner to eat with it, too!)
Because at the end of the day, it isn’t my cup of tea. It’s yours – and you deserve it.
Tags: cup of tea, doula support, doulas, judgment free, kermit the frog, tea, unbiased