Whenever I tell someone I'm a doula it almost always elicits a response somewhere along the lines of "Oh that sounds like fun! I would love all those new baby snuggles!"
I smile. I nod. I tell them how much I love my job. I tell them how important I think it is and how lucky I feel to do it.
What I don't tell them is; they're wrong.
Don't get me wrong. I love my job. But I don't think fun is how I would describe it.
Amazing, inspiring, rewarding, fulfilling, moving, maybe, but not fun.
Why? I mean, I have fun doing my job right? Of course I do. I have amazing clients and get to work incredible providers, but I still wouldn't describe my job as fun.
Birth isn't only this beautiful, majestic process I have the honor of witnessing, It's messy. It's unpredictable. Sometimes things go every way but "right" and occasionally you're left with deep sadness where you were expecting joy.
To me those moments are still amazing. They are still inspiring and moving, but no, they aren't fun.
Thankfully most of those moments are rare. I mostly get the ones filled with laughter and smiles. Still, this career isn't for the weak hearted looking for a good time.
I also don't hold nearly as many babies as you would think.
My job isn't to hold babies. It's to hold moms, and dads, and grandmas, and grandpas, and aunts, and uncles.
It's to help them navigate the ups and downs, the twists and turns of pregnancy and birth. It's to lift them up, to empower them, to support them, and stand by them through it all. I'm there to help you get through the rough moments and to help you enjoy the happy ones, but never, ever to detract from them by inserting myself as the person in the spotlight.
For a job so entwined with the process of pregnancy and birth, it actually has surprisingly little to do with babies.
So there it is. The truth behind my job. A job I would choose over and over again, despite the not always fun times and the lack of baby holding.