There are many reasons why women come to doula work. Most people find birth to be either absolutely awe inspiringly, fascinating and beautiful OR completely terrifying and the thought of it makes them throw up in their mouth a little bit. Some women are called to this work because they are natural “support people”. They just live to give! They want to help people and nurture people and birth is a wonderful time to fulfill that role in a woman’s life. Some women are called to doula work on the path to other work. They might be on the path to becoming a midwife or a labor and delivery nurse and want to get a “feel” for this work first, so they become a doula. Some women come to doula work through a friend. Maybe they have a friend who is working as a doula and that friend ignites something in them. They see the joy that this work brings to their friend and want the same for themselves. Some women want to be doulas because they learn about the support that doulas offer and they think to themselves, wow… I wish I had a doula! Those people become doulas to help elevate the experience that a woman has during birth and the postpartum period. BUT… the women who worry me, are the women that I call, The Birth Avengers! The birth avenger (as I have named her) is a woman who becomes a doula to avenge her own bad birth experience. Perhaps her own experience left her feeling violated or manipulated or “unheard”. These are real feelings and it is horrific that any woman should have to connect those feelings to the day that she met her baby, but, many do. However, it is completely unfair to bring those negative feelings to another woman’s birth experience. It encourages absolutes. The birth avenger warns her client to absolutely avoid things like pitocin at all costs, no matter what, because of the impact that she felt it had on her birth. She might have bad feelings associated with induction so she plants seeds of distrust in her client regarding her doctor or midwife in relation to induction. The birth avenger may have been told that she needed a c-section because her baby was too big, only to come out of the operating room with a 6 pound baby. She conveys that upset to her client and pushes her client to make decisions and take action based on the avengers own history. Often times, the birth avenger projects her own fear and anger onto her client. It can manifest into birth fear and anger for the client before she even gets to the delivery room. Under the advise of the birth avenger, the client may “confront” her provider about certain topics rather than ask questions in an un-accusatory way. As doulas we must resolve any and all negative birth related feelings that we may have PRIOR to walking through the doors of a potential clients home OR a labor and delivery unit. A birth experience belongs to the couple that are birthing. We must respect that and encourage our clients to find their own way through this process while offering them our nonjudgmental, unconditional support at all times! As a woman seeking a doula for the magical day that you will meet your baby, beware of… The Birth Avenger!   Authored by: Randy Patterson