This is a question that new Doulas often ask of seasoned Doulas, but clients rarely ask.
The answer is simple! What’s in the bag is
Well, not in the form of “confidence” as you may know it.
In the beginning of a Doula’s career, she looks for “things” to put in her Doula bag. Things that will make her feel like she brings value to her client’s birth.
That Doula has not yet learned the secret.
In her Doula bag are things like massage tools, rolling pins, tennis balls, rebozos (a long piece of fabric used in a variety of ways to help support and comfort a laboring woman) various massage oils, essential oils in a variety of flavors, heat packs, ice packs, flickering battery operated candles, an ipod/iphone dock and other things of that nature.
Many Doulas keep this bag near their front door for quick and easy access or even in the car for fear of getting called to a birth and not having time to get home and get the bag before heading to the birth.
The truth is…. Most of the stuff in the bag is absolutely UN-necessary. Typically the majority of that stuff… never even comes out of the bag, with the exception of her granola bar and bottle of water for when the Doula takes a quick “break” while her client is peeing.
In fact, I challenge the new Doulas that I mentor, with full Doula bags, to take one item out of the bag that she didn’t use after every birth she attends. When the bag is empty, she will realize that SHE is what the client needed, NOT the “stuff” in the bag. The only thing left in the bag will be a CONFIDENT DOULA!
I have learned over the years and over the births that I have attended that I only need 3 tools with me and they are ALWAYS with me.
The 1st, is my head. My head is filled with tremendous knowledge of all things relating to pregnancy, labor and birth. I hold in it the experience of over 1,000 births. Within my head is the ability to help each of my clients understand their choices and options in relation to what may arise on her journey to birth her baby. I am studied and am able to clearly remind my client of the benefits, risks and alternatives of any choice she may have to make on her journey.
The 2nd, are my hands. The hands that have held, massaged, comforted and caressed every woman whose birth I attended leading up to yours. These hands are at the same time, both unbelievably strong and compassionately gentle. These are the hands that will confidently clean your most intimate parts, apply the exact amount of counter pressure you need and cup your face when I look deep into your eyes and tell you that you can do this! My hands are one of my best gifts!
And the 3rd, is my heart. My heart is filled with compassion and a compassionate heart has no room for judgment. I love my work. My passion for my work is anchored in my heart. It is what drives my nurturing spirit and I could not attend births as a Doula without it. My heart also happens to be where I hold the memory of each family I have supported and every miracle I have witnessed.
Authored by: The Rock n’ Roll Doula