How doula skills translate

I just ran across this blog post from a doula-turned-lawyer, about how her skills as a birth doula have helped her be a better lawyer:

As a doula, I was required to listen more than I talked.  I learned to encourage women to ask questions and get information rather than doing it for her.  I learned that I couldn’t possibly understand all the circumstance of another woman’s life that drive her to make the decisions she does, but that I should do everything in my power to hear her and help her achieve those choices.  I learned to work behind the scenes, providing valuable skills and resources when needed, but never taking the spotlight away from those who really mattered: the woman, her family, and supporters.  Outside of the birthing room, I advocated for changes in a complex system of institutions, laws, and circumstances that make it difficult for women to have the birth they knew was best for them.

It’s great to see something that so reflects the way I think of my role as a doula, and to think more about how our skills as a doula can translate to other areas of life and work.

Because my doula work over the years has been infrequent (once a month at best), I often think about how what I’ve learned from being in this role influences everything else I do on a daily basis.

It definitely has, in big ways.

I like what she talks about in the post about not being the expert. So much of our society’s value is based on expertise–claiming it, selling it, being praised for it. As a writer, consultant and speaker so much of what I get paid to do is about the expertise I claim.

But I also think much of that expertise is actually really just intuition. Intuition about the world around me, about what makes sense in organizing, about observing and putting together bits and pieces into a coherent whole.

I think the biggest thing I’ve learned from my doula work has been to trust my intuition. That without much information, I can intuit what might be helpful to someone that I am supporting. That I’m not an expert in doula care, but that I’m following my gut and letting the person I’m working with show me what they need.

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3 thoughts on “How doula skills translate

  1. maria August 1, 2012 / 11:17 am

    Intuition, the one skill a Doula MUST have!

  2. DoulaSummer August 4, 2012 / 8:18 am

    I totally agree with this post! I, too, do not actually get into the birthing room very often (I attend a grand total of three women last year!), so a huge chunk of what I do is advocacy work and just listening to women. More listen, less talk. More intuition, less expertise!

  3. carrieleeferguson August 5, 2012 / 2:52 pm

    Yes! Being with women in birth we re-learn how to BE, without trying to control what is happening. Just like the birthing mama, our bodies know what to do, and it’s where our intuition lives.

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