“It’s been interesting, this mental shift from midwife to monitrice/doula. I’ve wrestled with not seeing what I’m doing as a step backward, but a step sideways. A wise woman pointed out that I surely felt as if I was going backwards because so many of us in birth see being a monitrice and doula as a stepping stone to midwifery. But, perhaps the phrase, when asked if she’s a midwife, a woman says “I’m just a doula” needs to be abolished. What if we were able to say, “I’m a doula,” “I’m a monitrice” or “I’m a midwife” with equal pride and delight in our voices.”

– Navelgazing Midwife Blog – Midwife to Monitrice

see honestly, i know a lot of midwives who think that doulas are ‘just student midwives’ and that being a doula is like being a midwife, but with less skills.


being a midwife is a completely different set of skills than being a doula.  and the fact that midwives dont recognize this means that they say things like, if you have to be transferred, i will act as your doula, but they arent equipped to handle hospital birth, they dont really understand how to negotiate with the hospital personnel in a way that is in solidarity with the birthing person.  they dont know the kind of emotional and psychological support that is necessary for a doula to provide.  good midwives can make horrible doulas.

i was preparing to be a midwife, when i became a doula.  but i didnt see being a doula as being a stepping stone to being a midwife, i saw a doula in a completely different role.  more like doing human rights accompaniment work in violent situations.  that is what i was doing.

it was powerful work.