Birth Processing for Doulas
There's a reason why so many birth doulas leave this work before long.
Holding space for parents in birth means holding onto memories of both the beautiful births we witness, and the excruciating ones.
It can be very lonely to store these difficult memories and images. There aren't a lot of safe places to share the story of a challenging or traumatizing birth you've experienced as a doula without receiving "helpful" advice or "If I were there, I would have"s.
We believe that doulas deserve to process these difficult experiences with compassionate, nonjudgmental listeners just as much as parents do.
- $65 for a 1-hour session
*Reduced fees are available for those in need.
We've been in your shoes.
We know what it feels like to walk away from a birth burdened with guilt, shame, regret, shock, a million "what ifs" and "I should haves" and "whys".
Sometimes those feelings come from questioning our own actions as a doula. Other times they come from seeing someone's agency being questioned or rejected by the people they entrusted with their care, maybe even witnessing the obstetric violence we know is prevalent in our birthing culture today. And sometimes, those feelings come from a just plain traumatizing moment in birth no one expected.
If you find yourself burdened by a particularly difficult birth you attended, consider a birth processing session to help ease the intensity of those memories. Using a similar approach to our support for parents after a difficult birth (based on Pam England's Birth Story Medicine® process), we'll work to reframe the story a bit so something can shift in the way you see yourself relating to that birth.
We've processed births with dozens and dozens of parents. We look forward to working with you as you move through these challenging memories as a doula and/or as a parent yourself, so you can continue to serve your clients with a clear head and a warm heart.
Ready to take a step toward healing?
Frequently Asked Questions
My client had medical procedures or interventions that they didn't want, and I feel like I could have done more to help. Is that appropriate for a session like this?
Definitely. This happens so often for doulas, especially toward the beginning of the journey as a birth worker, and it can be so unsettling. If after a birth like this you've had doubts or fears creeping in about whether you're really cut out for this or if you're really a good doula for your clients, that's definitely something we can work on together.
The topic of medical intervention in birth is a HUGE one. There are so many factors that influence the paths and outcomes of birth, and none of us can control all of them... not doulas, midwives, OBs, or the birthing person themselves. There is mystery in birth (despite our best efforts and technologies). It can be a journey in and of itself to learn to let yourself off the hook for events in your clients' births they had wanted to avoid.
Since we're experienced doulas ourselves, we're happy to offer some ideas or feedback about what you could do in a future situation like the one you faced. This can be a session for both processing what happened and learning along the way.
We've walked this path too and we're here to support you.
I feel a need for further processing of my own birth(s). Is that an option for one of these sessions?
Absolutely. It's so important for doulas who are going to be attending other people's births to be able to be fully present in their work. That can be extremely challenging when memories of your own birth come quickly to the surface, bringing strong feelings of guilt, shame, fear, or anxiety with them.
It can also be really tough to find helpful avenues for processing your birth(s) when you're a birth worker. Many people outside of the birth world just aren't equipped to work through birth trauma with someone who has a much deeper understanding of birth the way doulas do.
We feel strongly that doulas deserve opportunities for safe places to process their births, and we are honored to play a part in that. Rest assured that if you work with us on your own birth story, judgment will never be part of the equation and everything will be kept completely confidential.
I think I might have secondary trauma or PTSD from a birth I attended. Is this a good resource for me?
We can definitely work with you if you feel you could benefit from processing with another doula. Our practice - whether working with clients or other birth workers - is trauma informed, and we will always do our best to approach things sensitively.
Sometimes validation from another doula to let you know that yes, what you witnessed and/or experienced was traumatic and it makes sense that it's affecting you this way, can make a huge difference. It can be tough to find listeners or helpers outside the birth world to talk about things like this with on a peer-to-peer level.
That said, if you feel that you need additional therapeutic or medical assistance to process trauma in your nervous system, we always recommend seeking additional resources as well and may be able to provide some suggestions of things that could be helpful.