burning bridges, unbiased support, nonjudgmental, professional doula

Building Bridges Others Burn Down

Stepping Cautiously, Building Bridges

One of the hardest things I have encountered since making changes to become an agency that promotes unbiased, non-judgmental support is all the bridges that have been burnt by other doulas.  Hearing providers talk about how unsure they are of doulas because of the things other doulas have done. Hearing nurses talk about how they never know if they will have the support of the doula in the room or have to fight her to save her patient’s life, should things go south. Hearing attorneys comment on how “risky” an investment it is to own a doula agency because of the reputation other doulas have created for our profession.  It’s hard to hear and I’m sick of it!

Building Bridges Because Fires Burn People, Too

I used to be one of those doulas who would advocate for my clients. I was hard-nosed. If a client changed her mind mid-labor, I would argue with her to stick with her initial plan. If a nurse or doctor tried to go against my client’s birth plan, necessary or not, I would argue with them. Looking back, I am utterly embarrassed by my behavior both as a person and as a birth professional. I burnt a LOT of bridges by acting this way. By burning those bridges, eventually, I got burned. I pushed my agenda one too many times and pushed too many people away with my attitude. It took this moment to open my eyes that maybe I was the one who was wrong.

I began to surround myself with women who didn’t have agendas. Who truly were dedicated to unbiased, non-judgmental support. I was both challenged and mentored by these women. My mind was blown. I realized how wrong I had been. I realized it was time to turn things around and begin building bridges that had been previously burned. It was time to rise to a new standard of professional conduct. It was time to lay out those same expectations for those associated with my agency. It was time to begin building bridges with the medical community.

Building Bridges Because No One Else Will Do It For You

Sitting back on my laurels has never been my mode of operation. I am a doer. I believe in action. As professional doulas, we cannot wait for others to build those bridges for us. We have to get out there and do the hard thing. We have to build the bridges burnt by others. We have to prove, by our words and actions, that we really are committed to unbiased, non-judgmental support. We, as an agency, have taken that committment seriously.

Sun State Doulas is committed to inspiring couples to find their personal philosophies surrounding birth and early parenthood. Led by the belief that women are wise and insightful, our knowledgeable, certified, experienced doulas strive to provide non-judgmental support while catering to every need, wish, or desire of our clients.

Casondra Gerlich, of Doulas Northwest, wrote an amazing post about rebuilding the bridges burnt by other birth professionals and why it’s so important to truly offer unbiased, non-judgmental support. Go here to read that post.

Casondra, and other women like her, are changing the face of the doula profession. They are promoting a code of conduct that embraces behavior that supports birthing individuals and their choices from birth, through labor, and into their postpartum period. These women have started a doula revolution and Sun State Doulas has fully jumped on board.

About the Author

Christine Santos

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Owner of Sun State Doulas, Christine is passionate about pregnancy, birth, and parenting issues that affect mainstream families. She is mother to 3 girls and is an active member of the roller derby community. Her favorite quote is, “Not my body, not my baby, not my birth, not my choice.”

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