We love to think the birth community is full of support. Support for the birthing persons, their partners, and the providers themselves. However, depending on who you talk to, this isn’t always the case. In some cases, childbirth educators and doulas have become competitive and lost sight of why they began this work in the first place. Here’s why you shouldn’t feel overwhelmed by the competition and why you should learn to lean on the childbirth community.
Is There Competition Between Doulas?
Doulas are becoming increasingly more popular. Yet, the vast majority of pregnant women in the United States don’t use doulas. In 2005, only 3 percent of American birthing people used a doula. In 2011 and 2012, that number rose to 6 percent. That percentage has continued to rise in the last decade. Of the families who knew about doulas but did not have one when giving birth in the last few years, 27 percent said they would’ve liked one.
So, if you’re in Facebook groups or part of a larger doula network in your area, you may feel like you need to “beat” people to the punch when it comes to clients. Here’s your reminder that the doula business is only growing! There are significantly more people giving birth without a doula than with a doula right now, but many more desire having a doula as part of their birth team. Don’t stress about whether there’s a job out there for you. Because this is a growing industry, jobs will come as the word continues to spread about doulas and their services.
Why Collaboration Makes More Sense
If ever you’re feeling overly competitive, remember that having a community of people in your field has several benefits. Here’s why it makes sense to build your network and participate without fear of competition.
- A community allows well-connected birth professionals
Doulas work closely with families — arguably closer than any other provider. They’re at each visit and often remain with the family during the postpartum period as well. This provides them with a unique perspective and ability to get to know each member of the family deeply.
They also have professional connections to local chiropractors, pelvic floor specialists, family therapists, lactation consultants, pediatricians, and other professionals that are useful to work with during this period. If you’re just entering the field, you can leverage your connection to other doulas to ensure you’re connected with the best resources for your clients.
- A community boosts your professional confidence
When you network with individuals in your field, you create and build quality relationships. When necessary, you can enlist support and request ideas, advice, and referrals.
- A community leads to an exchange of ideas
Just like any job, it’s nice to bounce ideas off someone who is knowledgeable about your field. Having a network with people who know you and your work well can help you feel more confident in your practice.
- A community permits you to refer clients
One of the best things about working with other doulas is the ability to refer clients who aren’t a great fit. You can be selective about who you work with. If you don’t think you’re the right fit for a client, you can refer them to a colleague who is better aligned with what they desire for their birth experience.
Are you a new doula interested in getting clients and improving your doula business? Sign up for a Doula Mentoring Session to expand your network.