"Exceptional Care for Families with Newborns"

Northeast Doulas’ Response to “What the Fuck is a Doula?”

This post today is probably one of the most important that the women at Northeast Doulas have ever authored. It is our well thought, deep and meaningful response to a blog post that has been circling around the online doula community, entitled… “What The Fuck Is A Doula?” What alarms us the most as Doulas, is the positive reception it is receiving in the online Doula community. Are other Doulas not embarrassed by the foul nature of this post?

Northeast Doulas has a much different stance on this. We are HORRIFIED!

We can see how it might be easy to read this blog, being snagged by the eye catching title and then, without taking it too seriously think it’s just an amusing and somewhat “badass” way to describe a doula.  We can see not thinking too much about it, but we can not see not being offended by it… when you break it down, when you look at each sentence and each idea, you will see that we could not possibly ignore this. So here you have our, very detailed, take on this blog.  A blog that could have appropriately been titled, “The Angry Girl’s Guide to Becoming a Birth Avenger”.

In this post, we will reference many quotes from the offensive blog, in hopes of giving you the gist of it without you visiting the actual blog itself, as it is NOT our intention to promote this unprofessional and judgmental behavior.

I would like to start by saying that we as a group are offended. We are offended as Doulas, as women, as mothers, as wives…. Oh, and as future mothers-in-law! (Quote #1- Referring to your Doula “She’ll basically be the opposite of that vapid bitch you call your mother-in-law.”)

There are so many things that we are bothered by about this blog.

We will begin with the language.  Anyone who knows us knows that “foul” language doesn’t bother us – We curse (most of us anyway! It’s gotta be pretty bad to get a curse word out of Elaine), frequently and our children don’t flinch at an f-bomb being dropped.  The author’s “badass” tone is a stretch at best; there is nothing authentic about it. Every curse word that’s used in this blog sounds forced, sounds like it’s there for shock value, and quite frankly, sounds ANGRY.  We think anger and Doula don’t compliment each other…

(Quote #2- “Doulas are the shit.”) Really? Because at Northeast Doulas, we have always thought our clients were, as she says… “The Shit”! We are women who serve… NOT ego-maniacs that think they are owed anything other than reasonable pay for the service that they provide.

(Quote #3 – “They are there for you 100% even when they have their own shit going on”) Of course we are. That is what people do when the go to work. They leave their personal “stuff” at home. From McDonalds to high-end law firms, employees are taught to “check themselves at the door”. It is simply a standard of professionalism and not something to be given an award for.

(Quote #4 – “Doulas fucking know their shit”) A bit forced with the cursing, don’t you think? Of course we “know our shit”… we are professionals.  We are hired because our client perceives us to have the knowledge of a professional. Again not something we should be praised or recognized for, simply a trait of professionalism. If you truly “fucking knew your shit” you would never have posted this offensive blog!

(Quote #5 – “and they do their best to make sure you make healthy decisions that you won’t regret”) This is NOT true! How the hell do we know what our client will regret???? We don’t! We provide informational and educational information and then we support OUR CLIENTS decisions! There is no universal “healthy decision”. Decisions are individual and that important detail has clearly escaped the author of this horrendous post.

(Quote #6 – “From the moment they are hired until after your baby has been born, they are officially your birth bitch.”) I can assure you, we are no one’s bitches. We are as I pointed out, professional and compassionate Doulas. We respect and respond to our clients as necessary and in turn they show us the same respect.
(Quote #7 in reference to Doulas being “on call” – “Not to mention that she has to remain sober at all times. Even though she may have two or three rabid offspring under the age of five and a borderline unhealthy relationship with $6 Target wine.”) We can appreciate sarcasm and humor, this just seems like an inappropriate way to talk about children to Doulas, clients and potential clients.

OK… (Quote #8 – The foulest one so far… “She’ll also guide you through making the Big Ass Decisions so you don’t fuck up and have your kid’s junk cut off or something stupid.”)  A little intactivist plug from the “non-judgmental” doula?

Interestingly enough, this quote comes immediately AFTER (Quote #9 – “She will help you outline your preferences and wishes for your labor and birth, even if they aren’t choices she would make for herself, without judgment.”)

The author of this post does not sound like a Doula!  She sounds misinformed, opinionated and judgmental.

(Quote #10 – “Your amazing rockstar superhero doula angel”) The ONLY ROCKSTAR/SUPERHERO/ANGEL at any of the births that we have collectively attended as doulas… is the mother! Never the Doula! Check your ego at the door, lady!

Ready to be repulsed? (Quote #11 – “She will stay by your side while your baby daddy lies there oblivious and snoring”) We have no words for this. This has not been our experience and frankly if it were… IT WOULD BE NONE OF OUR BUSINESS!

(Quote #12 – “She will say “yo, hold the fuck on a second” and give you a heads up when Doogie Howser M.D. tries to sneak something into your IV, or grabs his scissors and attempts to go at your vagina”) We took a poll at Northeast Doulas and it was determined that NONE of us have EVER said, “yo, hold the fuck on a second” to any medical professionals in any birthing scenario. Nor would we! Perhaps THIS is why many medical professionals do not have positive views of Doulas prior to their experience with us.

(Quote #13 – “She cares so much that even though she’s probably super emotionally invested in you, she will hold it the fuck together if things go awry because she knows you need her to.”) WHAT?!? What do the Doula’s emotions have to do with YOUR birth?!?! Lady, we hate to break it to you, but… THIS ISN’T ABOUT YOU! A professional doula is not holding anything “the fuck” together! She is supporting her client. End of story!

(Quote #14 – “she will not leave until she feels like your baby has the whole “sucking on a titty” thing down.”) “Sucking on a titty” thing down? You mean early breast feeding support? You mean the honor of helping a new mother experience the magic of her body nourishing her baby?  Who would speak of this beautiful and natural experience in such a vulgar manner – show some fucking respect, would you?! 

(Quote # 15 – “50% reduction in the cesarean rate, 25% shorter labor, 60% reduction in epidural requests, 40% reduction in oxytocin use, 30% reduction in analgesia use, 40% reduction in forceps delivery”)

These are outdated statistics, we thought you “fucking knew your shit”…

(Quote #17 – “Like unicorns, we are fucking rare and magical creatures.”) We are nothing like unicorns! We are not rare OR magical! We are professional and compassionate certified Doulas.  As we witnessed the positive response this blog got from Doulas in the online community, we found it even more unfortunate that Doulas with this attitude seem to be the exact opposite of RARE these days…

Aside from the language, the tone and the sentiment of this blog (all of which we find completely disrespectful, insulting and distasteful, the thing that bothers us the most is that she writes as if it’s all about the Doula. We can assure you, with a professional certified doula, it is NOT.

We are there to support a woman and her partner, to be a part of a team – a part of HER team.  It’s a team that she has assembled, it has all of the players that she thinks are necessary and it takes place in the location of her choice.

Our job is NOT to go into a labor and delivery room and be the rockstar or the superhero.

If you’ve ever been to a rock concert or seen an action movie you can easily identify the rockstar and the superhero as the person at center stage, the focus and STAR of the show.  We have always thought of that as the woman having the baby, the client, the patient.

Anger, aggressive and combative behavior or language has no place in a woman’s birth place or within her birth team.  If a doula’s role is to enhance and support a woman’s desires we can’t imagine how this type of attitude does anything except piss people off.

We are Doulas – we are professional and compassionate and we check our philosophies and egos at the door! 

If you are interested in becoming a Certified Professional Doula contact ProDoula today.

In closing, we would like to say that we would have addressed these issues with the author directly, however she writes under a pseudonym and so we don’t actually know her name or identity.  Below are the names of the authors of the blog, the owners of Northeast Doulas and ProDoula, as well as the Doulas of Northeast Doulas, who are equally offended.  We are proud of the words we’ve written here, we stand by each and every aspect and as such, we sign our true names to this very important blog.

Randy Patterson
Debbie Aglietti
Lauren Schwarzfeld
Elaine Osterhout
Kim Jones
Dara Pinkston-Scott
Cathy Anfiteatro
AnnMarie Esposito
Katie Valentino
Lindsay DiCarlo
Valerie Cirillo-Bunch
Graziela Salazar Jordao