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  1. It can be really tough to explain what it is that a doula does to someone who doesn't already know. This is especially true when you start to talk about things like "active listening" and "holding space" which make perfect sense to doulas but can seem like really abstract and meaningless concepts to people who have never experienced them.

    "So what exactly do you do then?"

    "Well, you see.... I doula people. That's what I do."

    Modern life is expensive, and babies can be even more so. Everyone wants to know what they're paying for; reassurance that they aren't pissing their money up the wall, and it can be hard to imagine what you're buying when your prospective doula can't really describe what she does. How do we put a monetary value on "holding space"? Or explain a charge per hour for "intelligent tea drinking"?

    Our society has an obsession with observable external THINGS that we can point to and say "this!" and that doesn't often mesh well with the essence of doulaing. So, here is a list I've put together, of "things that I have done for clients so far". It is not exhaustive, but it is pretty comprehensive, and I hope it helps.

  2. I have lost count of the number of times I have opened my Facebook app, scrolled my news feed and discovered a post in a homebirth support group along the lines of:

    "I've been told that if I pass out in the pool then the midwife will cut the pool open with a knife in order to get to me. Is this true because it's really worrying me?"

    Sometimes it even has an extra spicy side dish of fat-discrimination by specifically referencing the BMI of the mother-to-be or parent-to-be.

    That's not to say it's a daily occurrence. But it happens often enough that I stopped bothering to count how many times quite a while ago.

    I will preface this post, which is destined to be rather ranty, with the statement that I have never heard a story of a midwife actually doing this. That being said, if it has never happened and, as I am about to illustrate, shouldn't ever happen, then why on earth is it still being brought up during homebirth preparation appointments as though it is a real thing?!