When I began doulaing, I remember looking at more experienced doulas - those who had 25, 40, 75 births under their belts - and feeling like they'd achieved so much, and it might be impossible to catch up with them. The idea of having done so many births seemed unimaginable to me.
I paid attention to the moments when I passed my tenth birth, and then my fifteenth, but then I somehow managed to make it up to the high twenties without really realising. All of a sudden I was booking my thirtieth birth and it felt like A Big Deal.
And yet, it also felt like No Big Deal At All.
I look back on my early days, my first tentative doula steps, and I want to reach back in time and give myself a good ol' shake. I've learned so much, and I'm definitely more experienced, and hopefully wiser than I was then, but I don't feel like I've somehow achieved anything so very insurmountable.
Perhaps then, it was simply an unspoken acknowledgment of the amount of time and unending passion that would be required to have accompanied thirty families along their journies (although, in reality it is fewer than that, owing to some parents booking me again for subsequent pregnancies). That certainly seems likely; doulaing is, literally and figuratively, a labour of love.
Regardless, thirty births seemed like a good point to pause and take stock, make plans, and look at my birth statistics.
I love looking at my birth statistics
I find them really interesting, but they also make me happy as I remember each birth.
Of course, my stats don't prove anything. They don't say anything about the type of person who books a doula, because there are as many types of doulas and clients as there are people. They don't say anything about my practice in particular. They don't really say anything about the effect of hiring a doula; for that you need robust sampling, and many more doulas than just little old me. All they do is relate what has happened in the births I've supported since I started taking on clients in 2012.
I put them in graphs, because... well... who doesn't love a graph for representing data?! Much nicer to look at than numbers in a table.
First up: birth locations
These two took me by surprise. I hadn't realised that my homebirth numbers were that much higher than hospital/birth centre; nearly 2/3rds homebirths. I like the build up of total birth numbers as the years have gone by - I think as a new doula I would have found a graph like this reassuring. I also find it very interesting that I've years where I've had lots of homebirths, and years where I've had lots of hospital births. That would also be reassuring for a new doula; like buses - and doula clients - these things can come in waves, but those waves do not last forever.
Secondly: baby number
This one didn't surprise me at all.
Thirdly: types of labour and birth
I put these two with each other because it's nice to see how they relate. I very much hope to have at least one birth in that last column the next time I do this!
I think this one pretty much speaks for itself!
I can't wait to do this again in a few years when I celebrate birth number 50!