Why I'm Becoming a Doula

Why am I becoming a doula? My answer comes in the clarity of my calling as a Christian. My faith has brought me to this place where justice meets the delivery room and I play a part -- as a peacemaker, a woman, and a doula. I am not a mother and I have never been pregnant. My conviction to become a doula is something I consider to be a vocational calling from God.

The ancient Greek word is translated in the New Testament as "servant" or "bonds-woman." She is the primary household slave who cares for the female head of the household during childbirth. Today doulas are essentially labor coaches. Unlike midwives, doulas are trained to provide various forms of non-medical support during the childbirth process. A doula’s work is one of tender service -- it is to "mother the mother" by offering physical, informational, and emotional support during prenatal care, childbirth, and the postpartum period. In recent years, doulas increasingly have been identified as key to reducing the amount of medical interventions -- such as Caesareans, epidurals, and labor-inducing medications -- needed during childbirth.

My journey began when a co-worker recommended that I meet his sister at a Caribou Coffee. Michele, a certified doula, arrived with a black bag on wheels trailing behind her. Inside were items she’d need if she were called into a birth: an inflatable exercise ball for the mother to rock on; a gardening pad to kneel on while coaching a mother through labor positions on the floor; a heatable tube sock filled with rice to soothe the mother; an eye pillow; lip balm; breastfeeding pamphlets; a tennis ball for massage; and other items.

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Sojourners Magazine December 2010
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