Being a doula who's never experienced labor. : LUSENET : Doula.Com General Discussion : One Thread

I am a doula-in-training. My problem is that all the doulas I have talked to are mothers themselves, and I have never experienced labor/birth, nor will I in the near future. Am I going to have credibility problems? Will people discount me because "how could you know what you're talking about, having never experienced it yourself"?

-- Robin Andersen (, November 20, 2001


Hi Robin. I wouldn't attempt to answer for others in your case, but I just thought I'd tell you....when I went through my Doula Training, there were two young ladies in our class or 15 that had not had babies. One young lady was only 20 and her knowledge on the subject of birth and labor was immense! I couldn't keep up with her. She had been to 4 of her friend's births and was totally into it. I think she might have been just a little too inexperienced for me though. The other young lady, about 25, who had never had her own children but was studying to be a midwife also, was one of the warmest and wonderful ladies at my class. I have had my three children, but I knew by the end of that first weekend, that if I was ever to have another child, Retina would be the Doula I would search out and BEG to be by my side.

Being able to relate to a woman, knowing that you had that same pain is helpful, yes....but possessing the warmth, emotion, strength and support for that woman is the most important thing you need.

-- Therese Schafer (, December 17, 2001.

I am a doula and not a mother. I look at it as one less conflict with being on call. That is not to say mom's aren't great at being on call, but I can leave my house any time of the day/night w/o worrying that my kids aren't being taken care of. Carissa

-- Carissa Lentz (, June 12, 2002.

It is correct that doulas without children are at a huge childcare advantage in terms of being on call!

I don't think at all that a doula needs to have given birth. I had a cesarean with my only child. I bring to my doula work a perspective on the type of birth that 25% of Americans now get. I would never have thought not to become a doula because I haven't had a vaginal birth. My cesarean has made me the strongest advocate for my clients. -Barbara

-- Barbara Stratton (, September 26, 2002.

I really believe if a person recieves a well rounded education and applies herself she can do anything. Yes there is something to be said for personal experience, there is also some thing to be said for training. If you have compassion, if you apply yourself, and if you encourage your clients to become as knowledgeable of pregnancy, labor, birth, and postpartum issues as possible than that is what counts. After all its their birth and it has to be what is comfortable for them, safe for them, and best for them. You are a woman and you have that in your favor. Generally woman are compassionate, caring and nurturing, and can understand how another women feels even if she has not personally expereinced it. Also every birth is different any way so even if you have experienced childbirth it would still be your unique experience.


-- Michelle Schnaars (, May 28, 2004.

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