Life as a Doula – Being on Call AKA JICIAAAB

This is the most challenging part of being a doula for me.  I can’t commit to anything except my expecting moms.

A friend calls and asks, “I have a dentist appointment on Wednesday.  Can you watch Logan?”

I respond, “Sure.  Unless I am at a birth.”

This leaves my friend in a quandry.  Does she hope I am not at a birth and risk being stuck with her son at the dentist, or does she find someone else?

Then there is the craziness of the fact my husband has a job of his own, which occasionally requires him to go out of town.  He will now suddenly be gone Sunday night through Monday night.   Apparantly my job doesn’t trump his and I am on my own to figure out what to do.

So I call my friend, “Are you willing to be on call to watch my kids on Sunday and Monday, just in case I am at a birth?”  She is kind enough to say yes, but I imagine she is praying that none of my moms birth Sunday-Monday.  She would double the size of her family,  potentially for 2 days.

“Just in case I am at a birth. ” I say that SO much,  I should really make an acronym for that phrase.


Pronounced, JickieAhb

Sounds like Hickie Saab, With a J and Without the S.  Getting a hickie in a Sabb could lead to a birth.

Though I think I more frequently say, “Unless I am at a birth.”

UIAAAB   Oooo EEE ahhh B

This really doesn’t sound normal at all.

I really like JickieAhb though.

Maybe this post should really be titled, Weird Acronyms and the Potential Problems Associated with Being Friends with a Doula.

Tomorrow I am heading to the Aquarium with above mentioned friend.  She says, she is happy to be my friend, but might be angry tomorrow if after paying $25 to get into the aquarium, we have to leave and drive home because someone is having a baby.

Hmm, maybe we will take 2 cars.

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16 thoughts on “Life as a Doula – Being on Call AKA JICIAAAB”

  1. OH my word!! So true my friend. So true. I just had a birth that my hubby was out of town for as well, but thankfully one of my friends was “on call.” I guess what helps me to have so many people willing to offer to help is that I don’t charge for my doula service.. I only ask for them to pay for a sitter (even if its my bff) for their service.. because three kids four and under is a HUGE undertaking.. LOL.

    Here’s hoping that you don’t have to waste $25..
    and that your friend finds someone for her dentist appt!

  2. And this is why I couldn’t be a doula, at least not with small children!!! But it’s a nice dream for the future, when my kids are all grown.

  3. I think there is a place in this world for doula (and midwife) “enablers”! It’s extremely hard to be on call all or most of the time – I know this from experience. I know many women who feel a strong calling to birth work but cannot do it because of logistical, family, or financial challenges. So I think a perfect job for those people is to help out midwives and doulas. 🙂 I have often relied on friends for help with childcare, carpools, etc. The friends who are the most laid back about it are the ones who love birth, or had great support at their own births and are happy to to “pay it forward” in some small way.

    Continuous support for laboring women has such important benefits that it SHOULD be valued by the whole community, not just those of us who make our living providing it. So just like we help our clients ask for what they need, we should do the same!

  4. I always wondered about the time logistics of being a doula. How do you schedule clients? Do you ever have to say no to a client?

  5. Oh my goodness! That is so funny! And I can sooo relate! I have to admit that these very reasons are why I’m slowing down in my doula work, and paying more attention to prenatal teaching. It’s so hard to have a life for 4 weeks when on call. Especially with 4 kids and all their committments too.
    Yup – I’d take 2 cars to the aquarium. much safer bet!

  6. Yup. This is why I just can’t do it right now. I do believe this is the hardest thing about birth work.

  7. I have said no to potential clients, typically because I am going to be out of town when their guess month is. If I am going to be around I pretty much say yes, because I love being a doula and going to births! 🙂 Though I just said no to a potential client, because I already had committed to 2 other moms due the same time she was.

    The most I like to have is 2 a month. Though I have a doula friend who takes up to 5 a month, but she doesn’t have little kids at home.

  8. Amy–I think those people are called doula doulas 🙂

    Sheridan–I’m so used to Facebook lately for comments that I was looking for the “like this” button on your post 🙂

  9. Oh this is SO TRUE! I’ve been on call for five weeks (!) and I now have two weeks off… ahhh heaven! Being on call was exciting for the the first six months. Now I find it draining- the stress of not knowing what important events I will miss.

    I need an on-call babysitter.

  10. You nailed it! I end all my planning mails and phone convos with UAAB (unless at a birth) and now my peeps get it (after almost 7 years)

    The “on call ness” of the doula lifestyle is one reason I feel like I deserve every penny of my fee, not counting the often long hours spent with my laboring clients. And the being on call is what burns out the birth professional fastest!

    thanks for writing this!

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