Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Showing Gratitude

I have a friend who used to tease me that I was always waiting for the "I couldn't do it without you" speech from a family I had helped.  Well - maybe just a little - but there are so many ways to show gratitude.

From the doula's perspective, we can show gratitude for being invited to a birth by being respectful of the room.  Keeping our area cleaned up - keeping our voice soft when it needs to be - keeping ourself still when the couple is working well together and don't need any extra hands.

We can show our gratitude by being responsive to their messages as quickly as possible, making them aware when we will not be available. But trying to be available as soon as they have a need.

And don't forget to let the laboring mom know how amazing she is - and the supportive dad how much help he is providing.  Commendation is such an important part of a labor.  

From the laboring family's perspective, they can show their doula gratitude by keeping them informed, giving them updates regularly.  You can show gratitude by being willing to listen to suggestions and being open to trying them.

I'm always appreciative of a thankful note - or knowing that the family is telling others the value of a doula.  Many doulas are listed on websites that require references and jotting a few lines down about your doula that she can use is very helpful.  Some moms have taken the time to write a letter of recommendation.  Some dads have written comments that  I could post on my website for other dads to read.

I think the best sign of gratitude is inviting me back to the next birth - when I know the family has valued my help enough to bring me back, I'm so very grateful.

Lastly, in some cases families have given a nice gift or additional funds to the fee and these are unexpected but lovely signs of gratitude.  Please know that these are never expected and not required, but when they come I can feel the gratitude from that family.

What made me think of this topic?   Three years ago I was brought into a first birth late in the pregnancy.  I think the dad felt noncommittal at first about what my role would be in their birth. But halfway through the process, he was sold on the value of a doula.  Their son arrived safely and the family was grateful.  Now every year on the "anniversary" of that day, I get the nicest note from the mom and a $50 check.  The latest one arrived yesterday.  I feel humbled by her gratitude and grateful that so many families have invited me into their birth experience.  Thank you!

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