I am a Doula. That is my profession, my career.  It is my job, NOT my lifestyle. I clean my house with bleach (not cleaning products that are safe for human consumption) and I was devastated (but now recovering) from Hostess’ announcement to go out of business. I drive a gas guzzlin’ SUV and patchouli oil gives me a migraine!

All professions come with stereotypes. Accountants are called nerds, Firemen are sexy, used car salesmen are deceitful and you know what they say about those hot librarians! However, I, and the staff at Northeast Doulas does not meet the stereotypical description of Doulas. Instead, we are professional, articulate, well trained, certified support Doulas.

I do not encourage any certain birth philosophy or parenting style. I have no agenda. I simply want for my client, what she wants for herself. I support her completely free of judgment, knowing that I may be the only woman on Earth NOT judging her.

Somewhere down the road, the definition of the word Doula became cloudy. For many, it has taken on a connotation that implies crunchy, granola, natural un-medicated, un-intervened birth along with exclusive breastfeeding and attachment parenting.

Today, I set the record straight!

The word Doula, is a Greek word and it is defined as a woman servant. A woman who serves another woman. The capacity that we use it in is a woman serving another woman through pregnancy, birth and the postpartum period.

Let’s break that down….

The word serve means…

1. to be in the service of (a person)

2. to render or be of service to (a person, cause, etc.); help

3. (in a shop) to give (customers) information about articles for sale and to hand over articles purchased

4. (tr) to provide (guests, customers, etc.) with food, drink, etc.

5. to distribute or provide (food, drink, etc.) for guests, customers, etc

6. to present (food, drink, etc.) in a specified manner

7. (tr) to provide with a regular supply of

8. (tr) to work actively for

9. (tr) to pay homage to

10. to answer the requirements of; suit

10 ways to define it and not one that says to serve, means to have your own agenda! Not one that says, there is a proper way to serve, one that implies an expectation of the type of service provided or one that says there are pre-requisites on whether or not you are served based on your philosophy.

The type of service provided by the servant (or Doula) is always specific to the woman she is serving.

I serve all women in all ways through pregnancy, birth and the postpartum period. I serve them in a capacity that suits them and ultimately, I do it without judgment.

I recently was visiting with a woman (who reads our blog and knows me more personally than professionally) and her impression of me as a doula, was that I support women who only want natural births and only want to breastfeed. It was an incredibly valuable conversation for me because somehow I had conveyed a style of support.

A support with conditions. A support with an agenda…. I couldn’t believe it.

I am so clear when speaking to clients, potential clients and doula trainees about unconditional unwavering support and yet my own blog wasn’t conveying that!

So… Let’s be clear. The client is the person being served and the doula is the person serving. Not the other way around! Every client has a different desire, fear or concern and her doula serves her by having the training, experience and passion to accommodate each of those as they arise.

Know that at Northeast Doulas, we support WOMEN. Period. We support them in their choices and we believe that when a woman makes her own choice, she is empowered by the process of making that choice. Shame on anyone who doesn’t support THAT!

So let us serve you! Be it with an epidural or without, be it in the operating room or your home, be it in a tub of water or with your feet in stirrups, WE SUPPORT YOU!


Authored by: Randy Patterson