"You have a.....quiet confidence about you," my friend and fellow new mom said to me. I giggled a little because she had no idea that I have never had the reputation of having confidence about anything. In fact, my reputation, at least among my musician friends, was one of negativity and lack of confidence. It was amusing to hear anyone, much less someone I thought was amazing and had it all together, tell me that I had a shred of confidence.
The more time passed, the more I thought about this. Maybe I do have a quiet confidence about me. Through years of practice and training, I have learned to keep my negative thoughts about my flute playing to myself. Well, for the most part. I have learned to work through my confidence issues. However, where I may have lacked confidence in my playing, I made up with hard-headed determination to succeed. Maybe what I perceive as hard-headed determination is actually quiet confidence. It sounds better doesn't it? Let's go with that.
I met a mama today for a consultation and she asked me some unique and thought provoking questions that I do not usually get asked. One of the questions was, "What do the women who hire you have in common?" I may be misquoting her question a little bit, but since our interview, I have been pondering this question.
What do the mamas I have worked with have in common? In the interview I told her that she asked me a very good question and that all of the mamas I have worked with so far have set out to have a natural childbirth. It may seem that I was being facetious or being Captain Obvious with that answer, but not all women who seek out doula care are trying to achieve a natural childbirth.
I didn't think of this until later, but maybe one of the reasons I get hired is because I am charging less than a lot of other doulas around this area. Perhaps the mamas want some support but are also looking for a deal. Maybe they feel like they do not need a ton of support so are not willing to spend a ton of money on a service they aren't confident they truly need. Maybe my services are truly all they can afford and they'll take what they can get.
I can't dismiss the money issue completely, because, sorry, money is a deciding factor. As much as I wish it wasn't an issue, and as much as people probably don't want to admit it, I might be hired sometimes because the price is right. And you know what? That doesn't really bother me. My fees are my fees. I am in charge of setting them, and I set them that way on purpose. The more experience I gain, the higher my fees will become. It is important to me to charge a price that I think is fair for all involved. I admit that several of my doula friends have been urging me to raise my fees. I will get there! But I am taking my time because I think it is fair.
Now I hope that no one hired me simply because they wanted a doula and they liked my fees. I am not the only doula around who is working towards certification. I am not the only doula around who is offering her services for a modest fee. Plus most doulas, no matter if they are certified or not, well-seasoned or not, offer payment plans, sliding scales, are willing to barter, and/or may even donate their time and services for an extremely committed and needy client. There must be something else. Even if money is a contributing factor as to why they hired me, it certainly can't be the only factor.
I admit, when I meet certain people, I feel a connection. There is definitely *something* there. Of course I don't immediately reveal, "Hey! I felt a connection with you. Did you feel a connection with me?" It's not a date! And even if it was, that's a little forward, yes? I don't want to be Ms. Creepy Doula who goes around feeling all connected to everyone. Sometimes there isn't an immediate connection, at least on my end, but that doesn't keep me from doing my best when the mom ends up hiring me as her doula. Through our postpartum visits and getting to know one another, we build a relationship. Even if it's a temporary relationship, there is a rapport between mom, dad and doula when the birth happens.
Because there isn't the same type of connection with everyone, I'm not sure that is something all the moms have in common. Perhaps it's personality. I would consider the moms that hire me to be calm, modest, kind, hopeful and also have a certain quiet confidence about them. If they do not start off with a quiet confidence, they have it by the time I see them at the postpartum visit. There must be something about my presence that the women must have felt soothing, or at least they felt that they wanted me at their birth. I have had several moms tell me, "I just want your presence. I find your presence comforting." I am not overly eager to do something. My desire is to follow the moms wishes. She is in charge. Maybe they were drawn to my humility and my quiet confidence, knowing that I wouldn't try to take over their birth or step on any toes. Maybe it's my soft voice. It's really hard to know.
I suppose the biggest thing that the mamas had in common other than wanting a natural childbirth was me. They chose me join them on their birth journey, and I was honored to tag along.