If you’ve had any experience in the blogging birth world, you might have noticed this odd trend in speaking about our clients. Here’s 10 reasons why I don’t:
1) The person giving birth isn’t my only client. Yup, that’s right I support ‘papas’ too as the family transitions to life with baby. My job is primarily to support the person carrying the pregnancy, but I do get hired by families to make the transition into parenthood easier…
2) Not all people who give birth identify as ‘mama’ because transgender people exist and have children. I don’t ever want to push potential clients away.
2) Sometimes the partner identifies as a ‘mama’ too and that could just get confusing.
3) I wouldn’t call my clients parents grandma or grandpa, nor would I call their partner papa or mama. Its a familial term an even though doulas do certainly get very close with families we are not actually family.
Let’s try this on for size ‘ I love looking after my grandmas too! They are usually so tired after the birth happens!’ Does this make sense? No. Just no!
4) Doulas have fought hard for recognition as a legitimate profession. You would not hear a nurse or an OB or a midwife calling their patients mama for a lot of the reasons listed above, so neither will I.
5) As a PSW I’m pretty sure I would have been in trouble if I called my residents ‘Nana’ or ‘papa’ because its unprofessional. I’m just saying…
6) I already have a mama. She is wonderful. I don’t need a new one
7) I truly respect who my clients are as a person. We are not just the roles and titles we choose to take on.
8) It doesn’t feel right, it’s about as odd as calling a stranger ‘honey’ or ‘sweetheart’ it’s just….no.
9) I am a professional doula who works hard to maintain the image of professionalism in my industry. Therefore I don’t have ‘mamas’ I have clients that hire me to care for them during birth and postpartum.
10) My final and biggest reason for not calling my clients ‘mama’ is because of the reality that not all of my clients will have a baby in their arms at the end of the journey, and they may or may not want to identify as a mother at that point. I accompany clients through abortions, miscarriages, still birth, relinquishment and apprehension.
I think that this trend is on its way out among professional doulas, and good riddance, because our clients need support, not cutesy names.
-Kate, your lovely, local, London doula