Oh, the "on call" life. It's not exactly as glamorous as the tv shows make it look.
Sometimes I miss my kids' birthday parties, a movie night out as a family, or a play or concert that my children have been preparing for months.
Out-of-town guests will visit and leave while I am at the hospital with a laboring mother. Many date nights have come and gone, with me working, and my husband left alone.
Phone calls missed, classes cancelled and plans changed is all part of my "normal". Why?? All the doula or birth workers that I know, work an on-call schedule to build their businesses. Some work alone and have to manage all of the logistics of a small business alongside a family life.
We have been told that we HAVE to do things this way, because our clients need us.
That is true: they do need us. They need us to be healthy, well adjusted, and on top of our game. Parents pay us to be knowledgeable and to help them keep it all together. Which means WE have to NOT LOOK and FEEL as tired as they do.
Think about that for a minute. Let that sink in.
Is there another way to be a Doula and still grow a successful business?
YES. And Richmond Birth and Baby is doing just that!
This small business, located in central Virginia, has grown from one very busy Doula, to an entire TEAM of birth workers: postpartum doulas, lactation consultants, teachers, CPR instructor, even an OT trained to work with infant feeding issues. We have loved to see our team offer service in multiples languages, including English, Spanish, and French Creole.
We utilize a team model, where each person shares the birth, shift, class, etc with another assigned worker. This has been especially helpful for our team members who are also mothers, and occasionally need to miss a shift to care for their own babies.
It truly is the best of both worlds because we get a work/life balance, and the client gets peace of mind, knowing her doula is ready to tackle anything.
It also gives our workers more time to pursue ongoing education and skill sets within this field. You're much more likely to pursue those courses and certifications if you don't have a client who is due the same week!
So does this mean we are allowed to be "off the clock" now?
However, it's not unusual to see Kristi Ramey zipping out to a birth. :)