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?

  1. Would it be help­ful to have a person(s) who is 100% com­mit­ted to my goals?
  2. Do I learn through sto­ry-telling & expe­ri­ence sharing?
  3. Am I good at keep­ing my goals top of mind and advo­cat­ing for myself when things get tough?
  4. Can I eas­i­ly pull myself out of the weeds of the every­day to think and act strategically?
  5. Do I work bet­ter when I receive feedback?
  6. 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.