In the doula world there is a lot of talk about your "target market"... i.e. which types of clients you are trying to attract. The spectrum extends from homebirth to hospital, natural to medicated, first timers to experienced moms and even can include an income level, or mom-type: "crunchy," "polished," etc.
In the beginning of my journey as a doula, I tried to figure out if I have a target market and if I do... what it is. I thought and thought and I tended to keep coming up empty. I thought maybe I was broken. Am I not a real doula because I don't know what I am looking for in a client?
That would be a big fat NO. I don't think I am alone in this either.
What I have noticed is that I'm not finding my market... my market is finding me and it doesn't come in one form of "mom." Every woman I have birthed with has been authentic, smart, kind, and real. It has nothing to do with income level or where they fall on the crunchy scale. It has nothing to do with birth preferences either. Quite honestly, I don't care how you plan to birth. That sounds rude. Let me explain...
I don't have an agenda. I don't have a need for a certain direction or plan for you. I have YOU. My goal is to support YOU in however that looks. Your decisions are your decisions. Your birth is your birth. I will support what you decide (as long as there is no endangering of yourself or baby) and help you think through your options if needed, but I won't make your decision. Whatever your birth plan or preferences look like, I mold to fit that and to support you through your pregnancy and birth exactly as you need.
Do you mind if I give a brief example? Check this out: I've attended 4 births births (1 prior to certification and 3 while certified). All were amazing. All were different.
One was a 1 hour 45 minute natural homebirth.
One was an unplanned c-section due to a breech baby.
One was a 5 hour induction with an epidural.
One was a 36 hour natural birth which was augmented.
Each birth was raw and beautiful. Each was empowering and emotional. Each had it's own story and merit and wouldn't have fit any other way. There was no single birth that was better than another. There was no birth that I felt I couldn't support.
I supported the mother. I supported the father. I supported birth. I gave physical support where needed. I gave emotional support where needed. I was gentle at times. I was strong at times. There were times where I took a back-seat and times when I was a strong presence. I did what I felt each mom needed for her unique situation, personality, and birth. Socioeconomic status, or birth preference or lifestyle had no bearing in the support I gave. Labor and birth strip a woman down to her core essence. Women are joined and united through birth on a primal level. In that mind-frame, I support birth and therefore, I support you. I support you, however "you" look.
It's your baby. It's your birth. It's your way. Target market may be a thing in the doula world as a whole, but for me... it's not. I've stopped looking. I connect emotionally with my clients, and if I can do that, I can support them. Period.
And if I can say one thing to all the women out there planning to have a baby: you do you. Plan your birth as you want it. Have who you want in the room. Go with a midwife. Hire an OB. Have as many or as few vistiors as you want. Have a natural birth... have a medical birth... have a long birth plan or go with the flow as things happen. Truly truly truly... your baby, your body, your birth, your way!
Baby Love Blog
Here lies a stream of consciousness regarding, pregnancy, birth, babies, and my doula business...