Merriam-Webster Online defines a doula as a person trained to provide advice, information, emotional support & physical comfort to a mother before, during and just after childbirth.
When I was pregnant with my daughter in 2015, I was adamant I wanted an intervention-free childbirth, meaning one without inducement, pain medication or surgery. To support myself in this goal I read every book I could, I spent countless hours reading other women’s birth stories, I assaulted my obstetrician with every question I couldn’t find the answer to, signed up for a “natural” childbirth course and finally, I hired a doula.
My decision to hire a doula was ultimately a simple decision. 1 in 3 American babies are born via caesarean, and almost every first-time mom I knew had an induction. However, research shows that childbirth goes more smoothly with a doula. Labor is 25% shorter, the need for epidural pain relief is 60% less and the caesarean rate is reduced by half. If I truly wanted an intervention-free childbirth, a doula was my best shot.
Looking back the benefits of a doula were immeasurable:
- Outside & steadfast support. Unlike my spouse & I, our doula’s life wasn’t about the changed forever. She wasn’t “in it”. She saw the whole picture and didn’t get swept away by the pain or emotion.
- Advocate of MY GOALS. If you’ve ever given birth you know that sometimes you aren’t really in the room. Your mind is elsewhere just trying to endure. My doula knew what I wanted and firmly advocated for me and to me when needed.
- Education & experience sharing. To me, there is nothing more anxiety producing than feeling unprepared. Our doula answered every question and calmed every fear not only through her knowledge as a birth expert, but through sharing her experience and others.
- Visibility of goals & roadblocks. When the pain would get to be too much to bear or the doctor would make a recommendation for potential intervention, our doula was there to voice the intended goals, restate the potential choices and support our decision.
By this point you’re probably thinking, “ok, SG where are you going with this?” But when I really think about it, birthing moms and business owners aren’t all that dissimilar.
Business owners and birthing moms are both:
- Creating something new
- Typically, in a lot of pain
- Uncertain about the outcomes
- Have closely-held goals & dreams about the experience
If we extrapolate what we know about doulas and their impact on childbirth outcomes, maybe the same can be said for hiring a doula for your business? As a business owner, ask yourself these questions?
- Would it be helpful to have a person(s) who is 100% committed to my goals?
- Do I learn through story-telling & experience sharing?
- Am I good at keeping my goals top of mind and advocating for myself when things get tough?
- Can I easily pull myself out of the weeds of the everyday to think and act strategically?
- Do I work better when I receive feedback?
- Am I trying to achieve something big, bold & purposeful?
If you answered yes to any of these questions maybe it’s time to find yourself a doula. Whether it be an executive coach, roundtable, strategic planning firm, or even small business prosperity coach, now is the time to invest in yourself, your business and your vision of the future.