I’ve gotta say, life as a doula in Edmonton is quite odd. I mean I love it, but when I talk to friends or family (or anyone not in the birth industry, really) or meet new people, and the topic of what I do for work comes up, the conversation usually ends in a blatantly obvious change in subject to something a lot more generic (cue the ‘how about the weather?’). The Edmonton doula industry has its quirks and definitely isn’t made for your average-joe… but really, who will get as turbo-pumped to talk about perineal tears or pooping yourself as we do? We’re cut from a different fabric is all.
So I thought to lighten up the mood, I’d talk about a few interesting aspects of life as an Edmonton doula. Just so that all of you out there get a little taste of what makes us so… unique 😉
We operate on completely whack-o schedules
Ok so you know the usual work week – 9-5pm Monday to Friday, weekends off, simple schedule that is very predictable. Then we’ve got oil field workers who work out-of-town for days or weeks at a time until their job is complete and they get a series of days off (or sometimes they get the advantage of consistent days out and in). Then we’ve got the shift-workers like nurses and doctors, who work 12 hours straight and sometimes though the night. Thats all interesting, but an Edmonton doula? It is completely normal, in fact common, for us to work 24 hours straight, get called to work in the middle of the night and go without working for weeks to then all of the sudden be working 3 or more complete days out of our week. We literally have NO idea what day or time we need to work. With us frequently being awake at strange hours of the night, it’s very normal to get a text from us at 3 or 4am and to not hear from us when calling during normal human hours. I heard a hilarious phrase recently that said “waiting for a baby is like picking someone up from the airport… but you don’t know who they are or when their flight gets in”. I’ll be over here, living at the “airport” for the next two weeks for a complete stranger, haha!
Nearly nothing body-related makes us uncomfortable
There was a time in my life that I remember getting weirded out when my mom talked about periods in front of my dad. Or going red when someone asked if I had regular bowel movements. However now that I’ve entered this realm of working as a doula in Edmonton… I can’t wait to chat about ovaries! And placentas! And HORMONES! Wooo! I’ve had a client complain about talking about mucous plugs while we were sitting in Starbucks for our prenatal meet-up, and I felt bad afterwards but honestly it’s just so normal to me. Us Edmonton doulas see various bodily functions happen before our very eyes on a regular basis. We know what lots of different bodily fluids look like, and we are (well I am anyway) totally comfortable talking about sexuality openly because that is how we get our work in essence (also, just saying, it’s true – what gets a baby in, gets a baby out). I feel like becoming a doula in Edmonton has really opened my eyes to these systems that I only read about in textbooks before, and I so passionately am fascinated by them no matter how many times I watch them unfold.
We become close friends with complete strangers in a fraction of the normal time
I’ve never been a stranger to connecting with random people very easily, being the extrovert that I am, but as an Edmonton doula I am constantly meeting new people and getting to know them very quickly during such an intimate time in their life. I feel such a connection to every client I support, sometimes to the point where I find myself thinking about them months and even years after their birth. To me, being a doula in Edmonton has really made me feel closer to humanity. I see couples through one of the most, if not the most intense part of their lives and in order to allow me into this incredibly intimate space, they need to learn to trust me completely. The fact that so many people can do this really demonstrates how much humans as a species are so connected through our similarities and primal instincts. One added bonus is my friends know that they can take me pretty much anywhere and I’ll leave with a new friend, because thats how I do what I do!
Our bodies LITERALLY function differently
So this is a bizarre one, but many other Edmonton doulas can attest to this – regularly attending births, especially home births, messes with OUR regular hormonal ebbs and flows. I’m sure I’m not the only doula in Edmonton thats come home from a birth and felt incredibly emotional, crampy in my uterus, maternal, primitive, etc. We literally are subjected to come-downs from oxytocin from how receptive we become for our clients. We soak in all of the emotions, and hormonal climaxes that are around us, and physical touch with our clients who need it add to this (some may not believe it but I truly think that you can get a high from being in physical contact with someone who is experiencing a hormonal high). I have heard of many who’s moon cycles (periods) get disrupted due to attending births, and I’m sure my day will come for this. Overall I just feel like this work has made me more empathetic and more receptive to the energy of others, even though I felt sensitive in this way before.
We eat, sleep and breathe our jobs
One thing is straight across the board with all of us doulas in Edmonton (and I’m sure in other geographic locations too), we freaking love our job. Sometimes I think about how I get to help babies be born for a living and think, is this ACTUALLY what I do for a living?! Don’t get me wrong, I work dang hard for the money I make. And balance is a constant struggle and effort. But I just couldn’t imagine doing anything else ❤
Let’s hear your doula experiences in the comments below!