Supporting Choice


Easily Said, Not Easily Done

Can you truly and fully support choice? Can you get behind someone’s ideals, rationale and beliefs 100%?  Many doulas come to training with the quick response “of course!” but when you start to examine personal opinions, judgments and biases, the new answer sometimes shifts uncomfortably in its giant, overstuffed, ugly green chair.  It is hard for some of us to think we cannot give 100% of ourselves when we believe that we are open-minded and practice non-judgement in our daily lives.

What is it that gets people’s feathers ruffled?  Every. Single. Little. Thing.

Place of Birth

Choice of Caregiver

Natural Vs. Medicated Vs. Wait and See Vs. Cesarean Births

Religion & Politics


Substance Usage (Alcohol, Drugs, Cigarettes, Etc.)

Feeding Methods

Vaccination, Circumcision

Diaper Type – and the list goes on.

Doula Posts (23)

What would happen if you were not “that” kind of doula?  What would happen if, for instance, you had a client meeting which clearly illustrated a clash in core beliefs?  If you know your boundaries and choose to work within them, you start to acknowledge who you can and cannot work with. You give up the notion that this is the one and only birth that will come your way and you should take it for the experience and/or the money. Knowing your doula community becomes vitally important in order to provide appropriate referrals. Get to know all the professionals that serve your area so that a series of symbiotic relationships are in place long before you need them and you have the ability to refer people to another doula if you feel that you are not the right person for the job.

If you want to be the doula who fully supports choice, there are things that you can do to help yourself and help the client. Your doula workshop should cover key questions, phrasing and perspectives that can help you understand choice and get behind the decision 100%.  

You must be abundantly clear with yourself; genuinely and authentically honest with yourself.  There are things that come up that you would never, ever expect to challenge you; things that seem so clear one day, but truly are not on another day.  There are situations you witness over time that change your perspective and realign your belief system.  

Ultimately, you have to trust your instincts and respect the boundaries you set for yourself.  Make only the promises that you know you can honour.


Doula Posts (6)


About Mélissa Cowl

Mélissa is a Certified Doula, Prenatal Class Instructor and DONA Approved Doula Trainer with more than twenty years of professional service. Mélissa brings a wealth of personal experience combined with a professional background of childbirth-related training to each client and class series. To book doula workshops in your region, hire a doula or for speaking engagements, please contact Mélissa through

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