What's the biggest mistake new birth pros make?

They don't know the boundaries.

They don't know the boundaries with their clients, how much money they will or won't accept, what they include, what they are or are not willing to do. They don't know, and they get stuck. Because humans are imperfect and that is our target market. Humans. We are always inventing new, specific situations. Somany doulas come to me and say, "How to I make sure I don't . . .(give to much, take too little, get into a sticky situation)?"

The answer is boundaries.

As birth professionals, our clients want us to connect with them so they can feel comfortable being excellently supported through a transitional and sometimes bumpy period in life. That will always mean giving some part of ourselves to the work. My work and life are not separate - they are both very much who I am and are intertwined by my values.

But boundaries - good ones - are priceless.

They give us an opportunity for seeing and communicating with more clarity. We can recharge and refill the well from whence we give so generously. Boundaries give our clients the ability to have their own opinions and in a sense, find their own way, according to their own values. Having boundaries as an independent birth professional teaches the world that we deserve respect, and we respect the world, in turn, too.

Not sure what your boundaries are? Start with knowing the answer to these questions:

  • What days/times/locations will you do an interview?
  • What days/times will you answer your phone or emails?
  • What are the exceptions (besides labor)?
  • What are your days off (besides labor)?
  • How much do you get paid, when, and how? When do you give refunds? Can you give them promptly?

Burnout is rampant among birth workers and boundaries can be our saving grace - so we can continue to help others. If you are new and feeling like you'll never have enough clients to need such boundaries, fear not: YOU WILL. There is a vast need for birth professionals in our city and the world. And even now, if you have clear boundaries, you will be communicating to your potential ideal clients what to expect from you, and you, in turn, will know what to expect from them.

With all I've got!