I cannot always be everything to everyone, but I can sometimes be something to someone.
It’s okay with me that I cannot be the right doula for every mother. It’s okay with me if they choose another doula. I often ask potential clients if they are interviewing other doulas, and if not, I ask if I can give them some recommendations. After all, I would never encourage a client to hire the first care provider they meet.
Just as I encourage clients and potential clients to interview multiple care providers, I encourage them to interview multiple doulas. It’s only right to do so. Every doula brings something different to the table. Different strengths that will complement a client’s weaknesses. Different experiences that are in line with the experiences of different clients.
It would be the height of arrogance for me to view the interview process as a chance to “sell myself.,” as if I can guarantee that I am the best possible fit for all women, all the time. I’m already “sold” as a doula — after that, it’s a matter of the client’s needs, cultural/religious preferences, and simple personality.
I’ll frame it this way: Doulas are like those puzzle pieces that all look alike. You know, when you’re putting together the cloudless blue sky in a landscape? Or all the grass? We all are part of the same section of the puzzle, and we all look alike on the surface. Many of us have similar scopes of practice, similar philosophies of birth, and similar servant hearts. But – we are not as alike as we look!
Many families have a piece missing from their birth team that fits us exactly. The best way to find out who fits in that spot is to try a few different pieces. The good news is that it often doesn’t take talking to more than two or three of us before a family finds a good fit.
Heaven forbid a client ever hire me simply because I’m the only one they talked to. Sure, that sometimes happens, when we click really well, but that’s not the norm. Heaven forbid a student from a childbirth education class hire me, simply because I was their teacher. I really do feel better about a client deciding to hire me after they have talked to at least one other doula, and their gut tells them they feel right about hiring me.
I may not be able to be everything to everyone, all the time.
I can, however, be something really special to someone. I can make a difference, one mother, one baby, one family at a time. I can be the piece that completes the puzzle.
And that, to me, is enough.
Grace and Peace,