Listening to what is being said…
As doulas, we learn that it is important to listen to our clients. We listen to learn what our client’s ideal birth looks like. We listen to learn about their hopes, dreams, fears, and concerns. We listen to know how they want laundry done or the baby put to sleep during postpartum shifts. We listen to learn how we can better serve their needs. We listen a lot, but sometimes, I think, we get so wrapped up in listening, that we forget to hear what is being said.
Of course, it is vitally important in our profession to listen to such things. For without that listening, we would not be able to accomplish the tasks for which we were hired. However, there is more to listening than just hearing the words that come out of one’s mouth.
AND to what isn’t being said.
What we listen to: the basic, the mundane, the surface. Sure our clients open up, but we’ve only known them a little while, and most people don’t open up that much to those they are just getting comfortable with, regardless of their credentials.
What we need to hear: the underlying fears, concerns, and worries. The things they keep saying to everyone around them hoping someone will actually…finally…listen.
When you listen to someone, don’t just hear the words they say, but listen to their entire body. Read the emotion behind their eyes. Observe the nuances of their body language. Hone in on the intonations and tones used with their words. Pick out those little things they say when they are providing an afterthought or think no one is really listening. That’s when you’ll hear what’s really being said.
As doulas, we learn that listening is important.
As Sun State Doulas, we learn that listening between the lines is imperative.