(Last week we posted this ‘Advocate’ graphic on our Facebook page and it got a lot of attention. It brought about a lot of discussion in the doula world about the word ‘advocate’. Since it has received so much attention, and we have had the opportunity to really hash out our feelings on the subject, we are going to share them here.)
When you hear the word advocate, what comes to mind?
Many of the most popular synonyms include champion, promoter, spokesperson, crusader or white-knight. These all sound like positive things right? They can be, but you know what they all have in common? These people are in the limelight fighting for their cause, making a fuss, and striving to be heard. They are out to fix, correct, or change. Their purpose is to save their cause from the rest of the world. They are attention hogs.
Is this what is needed in a doula? No. It isn’t. We will not take the limelight from you, we will not make a fuss, we will not fix, correct or change your birth. That isn’t our place and that isn’t our job. The job of a doula is to provide non-medical, unbiased and non-judgmental physical, emotional and informational support. How do we do that?
We empower you.
Others have asked, but isn’t empowering and advocating the same thing? In our opinion, no. One is assertive and the other is passive. When you are advocating you are actively pushing, even when you are advocating for someone else. But when we empower you, we are allowing you to draw the encouragement, information, and support that you need from us only when and how you need it. When you are empowered, you don’t need an advocate. You become your own advocate. You have the strength, you have the voice, and you make the decisions.
You rock your birth because it is yours.