I met my doula for lunch today. She is such a joy in my life and while we don’t see each other often, we text and chat (online) almost every day. I envy her passion and excitement for doula work. I used to be there but am still burnt out despite several years away from the work. Hopefully soon, I will find that special client to take on and rejuvenate me.
While we were talking today, I learned that I was considered a “crazy” client. Interestingly enough, my doula and I are now friends so what does that say about her? 😉 LOL but what IS a “crazy” client? Many doula clients could be considered crazy and many doulas struggle with these clients because they take so much out of them. I am so glad my doula had the energy for me and didn’t dump me. I had my share of anxiety about my pregnancy that I have shared with the world through this blog. Was I crazy or anxious?
After a review from a book reader on Amazon.com who bashed my book and told the world I should have been put in a “psychiatric ward” following my pregnancy loss, I was a bit sensitive to being considered that “crazy” client. I know what she meant and I felt horrible for putting her in that position but I had to think about it from the doula perspective again.
As a doula, I have also had “crazy” clients. Those are the clients that are high maintenance and seem overly worried about every little thing in their pregnancy. The few clients that I had that fit this category had horribly long births with many interventions. It can be a RED FLAG in a client but knowing what I know now, what does that red flag really mean? I needed to explore this a bit more.
Would it be any different than a client stating she was scared to give birth? No. That client might have many fears and concerns surrounding every piece of her birth. She might ask lots of questions and might tell me that she is so scared to give birth she might as well have a C-section. Does this mean that every time she asks a question or poses a concern that she is crazy? No. Exploring it further, I think it means more. Back to me…
I certainly didn’t think I was crazy or acting crazy. I needed a place to vent and ask questions that I knew my husband couldn’t answer or knew he was tired of hearing about. Plus, it had been 10 years since I had had a child AND it had been 5 years since I had been so engulfed in the doula world. I considered my doula a safe place and she was. I even told her in our interview that I would be a challenge. I probably should have mentioned to her that I would need to use her in such a fashion.
I was glad that she accepted me as a challenge and hope she now understands that my issues were rooted from a deep loss. I knew I would come out of them and in reality, I need to write another book on pregnancy after a loss since that brought on so many challenges, BUT…
Would I be such a safe place for my clients? Would I seek out help and assistance in understanding my clients needs the same way my doula did? What is it that my client really needs? Are you, as doulas, childbirth educators and birth professionals, asking yourself that question when you have a high maintenance client. The one that seems “crazy.” Is the client’s anxieties the FIRST ball in the snowball of interventions they usually receive? Can we intervene? Should we intervene? How do we provide that support? I know I will look at my clients much differently when they seem high maintenance; much like my doula did.
So, what are the things my doula did? Well, she asked how I REALLY felt about things. I don’t mean on a basic level either. She wanted me to dig into my intuition and FEEL. My doula let me send her messages and when she didn’t understand, she asked questions. She stood by me and ultimately, I had a fantastic birth with little intervention. It was just a long birth. Who knows why? I don’t think I was holding onto anything although I am now second guessing my birth (that’s another blog).
In the interests of research, how many women out there have had a pregnancy loss and had a doula for their rainbow baby? If you are out there, please contact me. I am curious and have questions. Yes, part of me wants to feel validated and not “crazy.” 🙂 Let me know you are out there, maybe this is another book?