It's 3am on a Sunday morning and I am returning home from a birth, I now have to quickly shower and go to sleep so I can teach childbirth education classes in a few hours. In the same day, I have scheduled a session with a mentee and I start to review doula requests that came through my emails. Before dinner I visit a previous client for a non-emergent breastfeeding issue. I prep for bed and get my head ready for my full week of work as a scientist, while still being on call for a another birth.
Multiple Microsoft Teams meetings later, I take a lunch break to join an Evidence Based Birth Interview or write another article for a newspaper on either virtual doulas or black maternal health. I've also signed up to take a few more classes on Birth Trauma that meets early Thursday mornings, so that means I'm working on my day job into the evening to catch up. Sure I have some flexibilty, but if I'm called to a birth that evening I'm screwed.
THE WHIRLWIND OF THOUGHTS:
I see a gap in training new doulas, I put a class together to fill that void. (Homebirth Doula Training, done!) I do this on top of teaching parents childbirth education (Bradley, Evidence Based Birth Classes & my own Holistic Class) and a workshop for Nurses on labor & delivery comfort measures. (Maybe I need to put another one together for doulas needing certification?) I am also certain to make all classes and workshops affordable to BIPOC. Now back to providing training for the chemists on my day job, (hmmm...I wonder if they will need a hands-on lab component, better create that option too! But first I need to talk to the marketing department.) Some customers want a private presentation on our newest products, (Ok scheduled, wait the whole team?...great 45 people then!) Virtual school has started for my daughter, thankfully she's in high school... (but let's create a better space for "class" and try to have lunch together.) Hey I think I want to set up some new classes for The Birth Center of NJ, (let me reach out to the doulas and give them a nudge/support.) What's this email? Oh I need to review the new training curriculum for The National Black Doula Association since I'm on the Advisory Board, ok (check!). So grateful for the program that we at the NJ Birth Justice Collective created to hold space for birthing persons! Did my husband kiss me this morning? (Yeah, I think so!)
For those of you who don't consider me a REAL doula because I did not quit my day job that provides full health insurance for my family, pays my mortgage and college tuition for my son...I beg to differ. My whole heart is in my doula and birth advocacy work and I submit I put in more than 40 hours a week doing it! I still enjoy the work I do during scheduled 9-5 hours and I'm pretty darn good at both jobs. I don't like the remarks and commentary reserved to "part-time" doulas who are seen as having hobbies. I have TWO full-time jobs AND I volunteer to teach 4th graders religious education at my church.
Since COVID, I am working the most I have ever worked in BOTH jobs. Constant meetings, trainings and births. My birth schedule is booked through April of 2021. So put that in your "part-time" doula taunts and eyerolls. There are many of us in this boat who are strongly moved by the work needed in maternal health and MUST keep a toe in the pool of birthwork. There are others of us who are swimming daily and maybe drowning! There should never be labels placed on those who decide to keep their day jobs. There is enough work for us all, I promise! So while I applaud those who take a leap of faith and switch careers to work as full-time doulas, call me, I can mentor you on time management skills and keeping your calendar full with clients!