Introducing Jan Barker, BirthBliss Doula Of The Month, November 2018.
I live in Harrogate in the north of England and attended the BirthBliss doula course in Leeds in March of this year. I am a mentored birth doula but am finding it difficult to get my first client. I am networking all the time and have joined lots of different local groups to try and spread the word. So many people don’t know what a doula does! I have three sons, all grown up and married now. I retired from the NHS where I worked in medical admin for 12 years.
What inspired you to become a doula?
I read about it in a magazine where I worked and it just ‘hooked’ me. I kept thinking about it and then decided to do it once I retired.
What did you do for a living before becoming a doula and if so, how has this helped you when working as a doula?
Secretarial work for many years and then latterly medical admin at a health centre. It has helped as part of my job was dealing with people either directly or over the phone who are worried or stressed. Helping them gave me a lot of pleasure and confidence and I learnt to keep calm myself. I learnt a lot of medical terminology/diagnoses and outcomes etc., which I love because I think human physiology is amazing.
What has been the highlight of your doula career so far?
I haven’t really got going yet but getting an enquiry via Doula UK which might be a possibility for a client in January was exciting.
What have you found the most difficult?
Can you share one lesson you have learnt through your work as a doula?
Keep going! I also found my original mentor did not support me as I felt she should so I have changed recently and I already feel a lot more confident that she will be helpful in finding clients and offering advice.
What is the one essential item you can't be without in your doula kit?
Haven’t used my kit yet but it’s all ready.. Maybe the diffuser and essential oils?
And finally, what would be your one piece of advice to a woman who is considering training as a doula?
It is hard work but I think to be the trusted birth partner of any woman will be very rewarding. Giving back and making someone’s experience better through your own knowledge will be amazing I hope.
Kicki Hansard is a member of Doula UK, however any opinions expressed on this blog are personal views and not necessarily the view of Doula UK.