All About My Doula Bag
"So what do you carry in your doula bag anyway??"
It's a question I get asked often and I see a lot of other doulas asking each other this question as well in Facebook groups and such. And the answers always range very widely, depending on each doula's experience and what they've been told what they need to take.
But I'm not here to talk about what other doulas do. I want to tell you what I do and why.
So the short answer to the question "What is in your doula bag?" is: Anything that I would need to take with me or wear to the grocery store.
Phone, charger, wallet, snacks (always snacks. And in care you're wondering, yes, I sit in my car and eat a snack before going into the grocery store, so I don't go in hungry. Otherwise I come out as the proud owner of aisle 6), my water bottle, wearing comfy clothes that aren't going to show off my muffin top when I squat down to pick up a case of water (I mean, let's be real). Supportive shoes. But that's about it... Yep, that's it.
"But Mary, that's not a lot of stuff for a doula to take to a birth!" You know what? No it's not.
So why so little? Why not bring all the things that I could possibly need for every situation that could come up for birth?
I'm so glad you asked! ;)
1. There is no possible way for me to anticipate everything that might happen over the course of labor and a birth. I would go crazy trying to make sure I had all the things!
2. What happens if I promised to bring something to someone's birth, but I get called to their birth while I'm out and don't have time to get it from my house before going? That's not a situation I want to set myself or my clients up for! I feel like that would open the door for disappointment. I'd rather not bring a bag of disappointment. My bag has no expectations tied to it.
3. Ick factor. Do you really want me to bring something (heat pads or tennis balls, for example) that you cannot tell if they were used on a previous labor client or not? I doubt it. That's gross.
4. Safety reasons. I don't bring things such as massage oils or essential oils to your birth because I don't know your skin and what might cause you to have an allergic reaction. And I'm sure that you would agree that during labor isn't the time to find these things out!
5. I am what makes me a good doula. My emotional support, how I empathize and help couples process situations that arise in birth, my knowledge about birth and how their medical providers work with them, and how I use my hands to provide physical support and comfort (massage, counter pressure, etc) are just a few examples of why my clients choose me and not what I carry in my bag.