1. We cry. A lot.

Sometimes I’m so emotional after a birth that I feel like Dawson Leery inhabits my body. I’ve cried tears of frustration, tears of joy, tears of sadness, and tears of exhaustion. I once cried after a long birth because the hospital cafeteria was no longer serving breakfast. I’m not sure what kind of tears those would be…tears of delirium? Attending a birth is such an amazing, emotional and exhausting experience, that sometimes the tiniest things can set off the water works. But I never let my clients see me cry. Mostly I save up my tears for when I get home. They are a great prelude to sleep!

2. We DO have a strong opinion on the topic.

A lot of my work as doula is centered around informational support. I present the pros and cons of a situation in an unbiased manner to help my clients make the best choice for their families. This involves stopping the “bad doula” side of my brain from spewing opinionated garbage everywhere. Some days it’s harder than others, because I’m a pretty opinionated person in my everyday life. But I’m learning, growing, and spewing less as time goes on.

3. We don't think all babies are cute.

I’ve seen lots of newborn babies, and while they are all precious, a lot of them look like the newest member of the Conehead family. So when I say “your baby is so adorable”, what I really mean is “your baby will be so adorable in a few days”.

4. We sometimes have very little left to give.

My favourite time to be called to a birth is after a full night sleep. I am rested, energetic, and ready to be a kick ass doula. But it really doesn’t work out that way most of the time. Sometimes it goes like this instead: my kids wake me up at 5:30am, I make food, take them to the park, break-up fights, wipe tears, cuddle, wipe butts, sneak in some office work, wipe more butts, make more food, go grocery shopping, clean, yell, cry, visit with family, and put the kids to bed. Then right as I’m putting my feet up to relax at the end of a long day, a client in labour is calling me. Its times like this that I have very little left to give. At the birth I might need to take an extra nap or an extra break, and it feels like crap. I feel awful for not always being able to give 100%, but I give as much as I can with a smile on my face, hoping my clients don’t notice how exhausted I am!

5. Being a doula sucks sometimes.

Doula life doesn’t always look like a Lisa Frank illustration, and I don’t always love what I do. I’ve supported clients through miscarriages, and lived through the heartbreak of having a client pass away. I’ve witnessed trauma and bullying during labour. I’ve missed anniversaries, birthday parties, and vacations. I miss entire nights of sleep on a regular basis! And, if I’m being honest, sometimes I’m just a glorified vomit catcher. But it is, without a doubt, totally worth it. Because even though being a doula doesn’t always look like a Lisa Frank illustration, there are still a shit ton of rainbows and unicorns to be found along the way. And I wouldn’t change it for the world.