Building community – and rebuilding it when trucks drive through your walls: an interview with the doula behind The Mother Well

In which I mostly interview Victoria – about her work as a doula, the resources for parents she’s created at Mother Well Doula, her secret life as a young adult fiction writer, and her advice for being a mom and a small business owner –, and then, for a few minutes at the end, we have a back-and-forth conversation about doulas and privacy. 

Victoria Wilson

Abby Jorgensen (AJ): So I’m going to ask you to introduce yourself. But first, I want to say, Happy Babypalooza!! To start us off, do you want to share with our readers a little bit about what your past week has been like?

Victoria Wilson (VW): Hi, readers! It has been what I’m calling Babypalooza for my doula practice. I had five clients birth within five days. Yeah, five clients in five days, Thursday to Monday, two were on the same day. I had to send a backup to one of those births. Which actually, I know Abby knows, it’s always hard for doulas because we can get kind of invested in our clients. 

Photo courtesy of Victoria Wilson

Everyone asks that question, ”What if babies come at the same time?” The reality is, as a doula, you’ve got to trust the work you’ve done before with people and the work you’re going to do after, that they’re going to be really prepared for their birth. And, of course, being open and clear about if you have backups or not, which I do. And so a backup attended that birth and it was totally fine. You know, babies can certainly come close, but five in five days was very close and not something I’ve experienced before! So yeah, I’m tired from Babypalooza.

And the birth I was at yesterday was very physically intense. It was a home birth, it was a beautiful, beautiful, beautiful, powerful birth. It was very intense for all involved – the mama and everyone supporting her. She wanted a lot of hands on her and support, which is great. It’s what we do, you know, but it’s funny because I feel more achy and tired than I had been. And I’m sure it’s just a combination of the five days and also that very intense birth yesterday, but it was fabulous. It was so good. I love, I love providing hands-on support. There’s nothing like it. You can kind of feel the power coursing through someone’s body when they give birth, so it’s pretty cool. But yes, I’m tired. Very happy. Got a lot of postpartum visits to do. We’ll go from there. 

AJ: So the fact that you’ve been to over 50 births and that you’ve never had this many this quick – that’s really saying something!

VW: Yes. Yeah, I was talking to my backup doula and she was telling me, “You know, I think I know of a lot of full time doulas, and it’s never happened quite like that.” And I’ve certainly had my share of back-to-back births. I’ve had it happen once before where two people literally had the same labor timeline and had a backup then. I feel like in the real world, people kind of tell you, “Have a backup ready, you may not ever need them but just in case,” and so far, for me and my experiences, YES. DEFINITELY. You will need a backup, and you need to tell your clients that’s always an option, and you need to be ready to use that option. Yeah, this weekend was some oxytocin! I felt like my uterus was contracting at one point this weekend with all the hormones flying around! but it was…yeah, it’s just birth. You know, it’s just birth. And the Friday the 13th weekend, I’m sure that had something to do with it. 

AJ: So now, our viewers have a vague sense of how impressive you are, that you can handle this – 

VW: But I will say, I am sore. I am very sore. 

AJ: That does not take away from the impressiveness of it. 

VW: But I am human. 

AJ: That’s fair.

So now that we’ve gotten through the craziness that’s been the past week for you in doula life, tell me a little bit about yourself. 

VW: Yeah, thank you! I am Victoria. I’ve been a doula since 2015. And like you just said, I just this month, August 1, had my 50th birth and now I’m at 55. Just, you know, what is it, 17 days later, I’m at 55! 

Photo courtesy of Victoria Wilson

I’m a DONA-certified doula. I’ve been doing this for six years. I practice in Berea, Kentucky. I also teach – I’m not a certified childbirth educator, but I do teach my own childbirth class curriculum. And I’m in the process of opening a physical space, which actually, hopefully (they say) will be done this week. We had some exciting drama when I was moving into my physical space, so it’s taken a lot longer to get it up and running. So hopefully, as of this week, I’ll have an office location where I can do classes and meet clients. And obviously, during COVID, it was especially attractive because it’s just a nice big retail style space, with lots of room to keep people safe, but also hopefully we can try to bring some community together in this really important time. And that’s me. Mother Well Doula Service is my practice. And we just believe that you got to fill up your cup before you can pour out to others. And that’s what we’re here to do. So it’s been fun. I’ve been very grateful for my family supporting me, and my clients who trusted me, and being able to tell you all this in answer to your questions, but I never thought I’d be able to do that.

AJ: It’s amazing that you are actually opening a physical space for people to come as they’re forming their families. Do you want to tell the story of the exciting drama at the physical space? 

VW: Yeah, I can. Well, it’s really funny because the pandemic kind of pushed us over the edge, my husband and I both. I mean, the pandemic pushed us over the edge period. All of us collectively. And we had already been working from home the last several years, and we just kind of realized we need a space outside of our house. Originally, it just started by me looking at my small town for a little office I could just rent, literally just a room for me to do some work away from my house. And as small towns go, you know, sometimes you can get a lot more space for about the same price, depending.

I’m so thankful, I just had this great small town downtown storefront option that presented itself. My practice isn’t necessarily a faith-driven practice, but I am open about the fact that I’m of the Christian faith. And I definitely would say it was something that the Lord put together for us and planned out for us. We were able to move into this physical space, which is just amazing to me – the fact that that was the best option for a little work-outside-the-home office. And so my husband and I, who runs my practice with me, we just started dreaming, “We could just get this space, it’s a little bit of a stretch, more than what we’re expecting, but we could really put a lot more in there and really go up in what we’re able to do for the community.” So we did that. We moved in in February. 

I had one childbirth education class there. And then I forget the day, it was some early some like the first week of March, a truck went through the front of the building.

Photo of truck damage to The Mother Well courtesy of Victoria Wilson

It sounds so dramatic. But a truck literally drove through the front of the building. Thankfully, it was facade damage; it wasn’t all structural work. But still, it was totally demolished. The whole front had to be rebuilt. Just working with contractors and labor shortage supplies and material shortage supplies during the pandemic, it’s taken six months to kind of fix it. A job that technically should have only taken a month to put all together has taken six months, just with all of that together. So yeah, we’re kind of hobbling along. But hopefully this week, it’s going to all be put together. I’m thankful that some of the space has been functional for some of that time. I had an intern this summer; she was able to get in there and help me see how we’re going to make it work. Her internship was focused on merchandising and setting up a physical location. So thankfully, we were kind of able to see what it’s gonna look like. That gave me some hope that this actually will happen. Even though everything’s out of it again, right now the new carpet is being laid, which I’m very grateful for. So we’re so close. 

And that’s our dramatic story. It’s the literal actual truck through a wall story. I say that to people and they’re like, “Wait, what?” Like, yeah, no, that’s exactly what I said too when I got the call at 11 o’clock one night. “There’s a truck in the building,” – like, what are you talking about? 

Photo of truck damage to The Mother Well courtesy of Victoria Wilson

AJ: Oh my heart.

I know that it’s going to be amazing. The amount of work that you’ve put in is very admirable.

And in the meantime, you also have virtual spaces. So I’m gonna throw in some information here for our readers. Victoria, not only are you someone that I really look up to in the doula world, and someone that I am honored to call my friend; you are also my boss, and I get to be a part of the virtual Mother Well spaces, which involve our community support groups and a Facebook group that you run where people come together to share the joys and challenges of pregnancy and early parenthood.

So the idea that you “giving birth” to this new Mother Well physical location has gone not the way that you planned, and that you’ve handled it so well, shows your skill as a doula.

To switch topics, you have several places online where people can learn about your main story of how you became a doula. So I tried to come up with some interview questions that that doesn’t cover. So, you ready for these? 

VW: Oh, okay. Yeah, yeah, let’s do it. 

AJ: When was the first time you heard the word doula and what was your reaction at the time? 

VW: Oh, I like your question. Actually, I did hear about it when I was pregnant with my first and probably from her birth I was obsessed. I just, I just got the bug. I don’t know if there was anything in my background that made me want to do it. Looking back, I can see threads, but when I was pregnant, I searched and instantly had this sense of like, “I need to learn everything there is to know.” And so, I’m really thankful I kind of fell into the birth world. 

Photo of Victoria and her kids courtesy of Victoria Wilson

I forget what book I read that mentioned doulas. I know I read a lot of Ina May Gaskin when I was pregnant with my first, so it could have been her, but in other places too. I think that probably was the first time, and actually when we looked – this is so funny– my husband was the guy who was like, “I don’t want to pay for a doula” at our first! But we had a friend of ours who was from church. She was in nursing school, and her family had a great birth culture, seeing lots of home births and that sort of thing. So we invited her to come as a friend. And I think – I really hope we did end up giving her a gift or something! But anyway, she was my first doula, who just came as a friend. And she’s still a great, a great friend. Very helpful. 

So the birth of my first. That probably is the first time, but it was really when Carson – my first – had her newborn days. That first year – it’s so funny to me because it was both really challenging, and I suffered from postpartum depression and anxiety; it was a very difficult time. But also, I was just like, obsessed, like, “This birth world is so interesting! And I really want to keep learning more.” And when we kind of realized, “Oh, this can be a job, you could be a doula!” – it wasn’t until maybe 10 months or so after she was born. I started thinking, “I could be a doula!” So it was during then, I guess I really started. We had a great birth; we fell in love with our midwives who cared for us; I just knew, “I need to be in this world, however it looks;” and then it ended up that being a doula was a really good fit for me. And now it’s five years later. 

AJ: With that five years of experience, I’m really looking forward to your next answer. I’m gonna ask a question I feel like most people, or at least me prior to taking my doula training, wanted to ask every doula: what is the craziest thing you’ve ever done at a birth? 

VW: Oh, there are so many different ways I could take this. 

AJ: That was intentional. Take it how you want to take it. 

VW: Yeah. This birth yesterday was pretty wild. I just think crazy stuff like squatting! This mom was in the tub. And she was really wanting to be supported. So, she was locked under my arms for hours, and she really wanted constant, hands-on support. I’m pretty sure we had an OP baby and she was just working this kiddo around. [Abby’s editor note: a baby being OP basically means the baby isn’t in an ideal position for birth.] So, she just wanted hands on all the time. So just literally holding someone’s hand and supporting their body for like five hours: that was crazy. Just strong. She’s so strong, but you kind of are absorbing all that energy, too. Crazy.

Photo courtesy of Victoria Wilson

I’m trying to think of the funniest thing I’ve done. I usually will ask people, “ Hey, okay, I’m on my way, do you want me to pick up anything for you on the way?” A client once asked me to bring them good toilet paper, because the hospital toilet paper was so bad. She was like, “This is like sandpaper and it’s hard on my hemorrhoids. Will you bring me some nice, good quality toilet paper?” So that’s great. 

My 50th birth as a doula, I almost caught the baby. It’s so funny. I think maybe after you cross 50, crazy things happen. I almost caught a baby on the way up to labor and delivery on number 50. That was crazy. But it was kind of like…crazy. Yeah. Yeah, I almost caught a baby. But there was a cervical lip in the way or else I think I would have just caught a baby on the on over the pedway walking into the hospital. That was pretty fun. 

I’m sure there are others that will come to mind later. But those are three that are fresh in my mind.

AJ: That’s awesome. 

VW: Yes. You’re, like, literally holding up someone’s body for five hours. Like, that was crazy. Yeah, crazy. And then funny. Again, the toilet paper is kind of funny.

AJ: Yeah. But that’s very practical. So, dear reader, if you have a friend giving birth in the hospital and you want to drop off a care package, include high-quality toilet paper. That’s a good protip. 

VW: There we go. It’s true. 

AJ: One thing that I’ve noticed about you, that we’ve never talked about, is that you seem to like music. You post a lot of playlists, and you refer to songs a lot. So I get this sense that you love music. Is that right?

VW: I thought, I think I like listening to music. I like the place that it brings you. I have very little musical ability. My husband is a musician, and maybe that’s part of it, that it makes me think of him but yes, I do. I do love music, actually. I don’t know if I’ve ever identified that about myself. I just like how it…  I like how different songs can kind of just take you to different places. I’m big on, “I’m feeling x way. So I’m going to tend to this music.” But it’s funny because I would not say I have any musical ability whatsoever. I don’t think I can carry a tune in a bucket. I just find music really comforting.

AJ: Has it always been like that for you? 

VW: Maybe, now I think about it. Maybe? Yeah, I think it probably has been for me. A lot of what I like about music are words – obviously, the music but I’m really big into lyrics. I have a degree in English. So I think I usually look to music for the lyrics of it.

AJ: Yeah, that makes sense. That segues really well into my next question. So you’re a doula and a small business owner. You’re a new dog owner. You’re a mom to three kids. I was doing some research, and I learned something fascinating: you are also a writer.

So you wrote your first book at six years old, which is when I also wrote my first book, but then, unlike me, you went on to become a published novelist. And I really want to know more about your book, Re’and

VW: You did heavy stalking. I feel like I’ve tried to, I think… I don’t quite know how I feel about that book. I’ve tried to, like, maybe it’ll just disappear into pixels. 

Photo of book signing event for Victoria’s novel courtesy of Victoria Wilson

AJ: I think it’s amazing that you’ve written a novel. 

VW: It’s more like, “Oh, gosh, I did do that. I did. I self-published a novel.” And I’ve actually enjoyed it. I had a lot of fun. It’s a young adult fantasy fiction novel, which is just basically what I read through my young life. And so it was just kind of fun. Like, it’s so funny. I really hope I get back to more writing one day. I thought about writing… you’re the first person I’ve ever told this – and you can publish this exclusive – I thought about writing like a doula memoir. A book of stories, you know, and I really want to get better at birth logging. I’m really terrible at birth logging. So I need to write it all down. But I really thought about doing something like Baby Catcher by Peggy Vincent. She’s a midwife who wrote – have you read this yet? You would love it.

AJ: No, I haven’t.  

VW: Okay, look it up, Peggy Vincent. Baby Catcher. She has two memoirs about her life as a homebirth midwife in California. They’re phenomenal. They’re so fabulous. So I thought about doing that. But yeah, I just… I really, I thought I was gonna be a writer forever. And I’ve kind of left it, but I really need to… I would like one day to try to get back to it again. And I’ve thought about bringing back my young adult fiction novel, because I have a short story idea that involves birth. I want to make the main characters (who end up together)…  I want to write a young-adult-appropriate birth short story sequel to them, to normalize birth for people. But I never, I don’t ever picture myself heavily publishing again. It might just live out there on the internet. I might republish it and just make it available. Does that make sense? I see this book now as a way to normalize birth ultimately, like you fall in love these characters and then here’s what birth is going to be like. But anyway, you did some heavy stalking. You did your research for sure.

AJ: It was like the second page of Google results. That’s not very heavy. 

VW: That’s funny. I wonder if you can still buy this anyway.

AJ: Yeah, on Amazon!

VW: It’s self-published, print-on-demand. You can still get copies.

AJ: I think it’s really cool. So, I will buy –

VW: Don’t buy it. I will send you a copy.

AJ: Will you send me a signed copy? 

VW: Yes! 

AJ: Okay, that is awesome!! 

VW: Yeah, I really have thought about how I should really write that; that could be a fun outlet. And then I would like put the story at the end just like republish it, you know, or just,

AJ: I mean, if you’re bored after Babypalooza is over, I feel like this is a great way to spend your time!

VW: Yes, obviously. But it’s not a high priority. But if I just need some fun time, working on my short story, I definitely have some words down on this idea. 

AJ: Let’s go. NaNoWriMo [Abby’s note: National Novel Writing Month, a writing challenge for novelists] is coming up. You should totally do it.

VW: That is actually funny. When I finished this book was NaNo. I started it in high school. I wrote most of it in high school. And then in early college I had finished it, but I used NaNo to rewrite the manuscript. I cheated. 

AJ: That’s not cheating. 

VW: Well, because you don’t already have a draft. For NaNoWriMo, you’re supposed to have nothing. I had basically a whole book. But I use NaNoWriMo to refine it. And then I was pushing myself to get it out there.

AJ: I still don’t think that’s cheating. 

VW: Well, I think you’re supposed to start with like nothing, you know what I mean? 

AJ: I use it to write papers every year. So if that’s cheating, I’m definitely cheating. But it isn’t. Because, well, there’s something sweet about knowing that so many people are writing. 

VW: Yeah. 

AJ: Just doing it in community. I feel like that’s a big part of so many of the things that I do and that I admire about what you do, too, is that it’s truly building community. And whether that’s sharing songs so that you share that feeling like the way that you are, or creating a Facebook group and community groups where people can come and talk about pregnancy and postpartum… this seems like a throughline to me for what we’ve talked about already today, and writing is definitely something I think is better in community. 

VW: Agreed. 

AJ: So you do have a lot of roles to handle. You’ve got the writer and the doula and a small business owner and the repairer-of-the-front-of-your-store-where-a-truck-drove-through-it. And the dog owner and the mom, all of it. Do you have any advice for other people who want to be a small business owner and a mom? I know you and Ben do some consulting on this. And so, if you have free advice to give, what would your advice be?

VW: Yeah, man. I don’t know how but you’re hitting me at – please publish that – you’re hitting me at a very vulnerable time with it all. I have major generalized anxiety disorder, and I suffer from imposter syndrome. I’m in the process of seeing if I get a diagnosis for adult onset ADHD as well. So I’m feeling very vulnerable in all of my roles right now. And I actually don’t think I do any of those as well. Like, I know, that’s not true. I know that’s not true, but I’m feeling it. So I think my biggest advice would just be, it’s okay to pace yourself. You can only do a few things really well. And so, right now, I’m constantly looking at, what might I need to trim back? Even if it’s just interests, right? Like writing. I love writing. I’ve not written really in years, you know. Sometimes you have to pick and choose and do other things for creative outlets. But yeah, even if it’s just your hobbies or what you enjoy, you can only do a few things really well. 

Now I do definitely see the power of outsourcing as part of that. That’s maybe my cheat code for community sometimes. As you can get more people coming along and working with you on a goal, on a shared vision, not only is it not lonely, but it’s also really helpful and manages everyone’s energy. You can only do a few things well; pace yourself; it’s okay to say no, and it’s okay to say not now. That’s one thing you may have seen in your good research you did for this. I’ve taken breaks from doula work. Sometimes they weren’t really true breaks because I already had people booked before I chose to take breaks. I did those births. But I kind of shut down my whole practice for 18 months. I had a few people and repeats and that sort of thing during that time, but sometimes you just have to really evaluate, “I can only do a few things well, so what am I going to do? What am I going to do well?” And it’s never a bad idea to protect your rest, protect your time. 

You know, it’s been killing me tonight. Like in Babypalooza, there were definitely pockets of time when I could have jumped on emails or thought, “Let me respond to this person” or “Let me just get that out there,” and it’s like no, you know only have a short time right now. So you’ve got to conserve your energy. So making those decisions, I think, would be the best advice. That and getting help and mentorship as much as you can. I do the same thing. I look to people that I really admire, try to follow them, see what they’re doing and think about how I can apply it to myself. Or I think, “How can I get help with what I’m doing, whether it’s in a business or at home, or just in learning?” I want to be a good member of the community because we all need to lean into each other, definitely. 

Photo of Victoria and her family courtesy of Victoria Wilson

AJ: I really appreciate your vulnerability about the different struggles that you faced from being a business owner to being a mom. And that leads to the last sort-of-big question I wanted to ask. You’ve shared very openly about how motherhood has not been easy for you at different times. As someone who has experienced struggling with parenthood and who supports other people constantly who are struggling with parenthood, what is your advice for supporting a friend or loved one who is struggling with parenthood while juggling a bunch of other roles? 

VW: Yeah, I think maybe part of my last answer also answered that one. “How can I be a community member?” One of my sweetest motherhood memories was during when Harper was a newborn, even though Harper was a very difficult newborn, she was very dysregulated, she had a lot of just sensory issues going on. And she was just an unhappy kid for like, nine months. But there were times I just really cherished her being in those newborn stages, because we had a lot of people helping us. So in particular, there were three people from our church at different times – you know, this answer is gonna be different during COVID. But in the “before” times, we had three people from our church who just came, and they were like, “Can I just come hang out with you? Help with your kids, take them to the park, do some laundry?” and I literally just laid in bed and nursed my baby. I may have gotten up at different points, if they were here for an hour to three hours or something, a good chunk of time. We sat and asked, “Hey, how are you here? Hold my baby.” Although Harper, if anyone else touched her, she would just start screaming. So she wasn’t really a good baby to share with people, but you do as much as you can.

So, to share that moment was just wonderful, with people I know, loved, and trusted, who were like, “Can we just come hang out in your house and take care of things, and you can just sleep with your baby?” Like, “Yeah, that sounds great!” I would say that it’s huge. 

And then also, sometimes people want to talk about their kids, but sometimes not. Sometimes, if you have a friend who’s a mom, maybe they have other things they want to talk about too; it doesn’t just have to be about the kids. It usually will involve kids, or they circle back around to it, but just providing those openings of taking about writing, or whatever it is – , what they are doing for fun, or just getting out of the house, going for a walk, stuff like that. Just being an available community member who’s not afraid to kind of sit awkwardly maybe sometimes or figure out what needs to be done, who just helps, just shows up and helps. And there’s a lot of ways that can look. In covid times, maybe that’s preparing five freezer meals and dropping them off or just sitting social distanced on someone’s porch and talking for a second – that would be so valuable. Or come clean, you can come wear a mask and wash your hands and clean for somebody who has a new baby. That would be great.

AJ: Even reading to older kids over Zoom if you’re not in the same city, or having food delivered, those things are beautiful ways to live out that community membership when you aren’t physically near someone. 

VW: You’re exactly right. Exactly. 

AJ: Thank you. That’s really helpful advice. So, was there anything else that you wanted to share? Or that you were hoping I’d ask you?

VW: No, this was great. You … you didn’t ask me anything that I thought you would ask. 

AJ: I’ll consider that an achievement. 

VW: This was really wonderful. I’m just, I’m honored. I’m humbled. 

AJ:  I am grateful you took the time to chat with me. Thank you so, so much. Where can people find out more about you and your services?

VW: You can go to motherwell doula.com; you can go to @motherwelldoula on Instagram and Facebook to find and like our social media there. And if you go to motherwelldoula.com/shop, that will take you to The Mother Well; it’s a physical space and it’s an online space too, if you want something to send – maybe you want a box to send to a friend, or a care item, or something like that to send people you know who just had a baby. 

And if you’re a birth worker, I’ve got some resources for birth workers, including a client workbook, which Abby – yeah, you’re so kind, Abby – Abby is a workbook customer. I made the workbook over years of doing it. I kind of found that I wanted all my clients to know certain information. So I put together a doula client workbook that’s available for purchase digitally.  

So yeah, that’s just kind of where to find motherwelldoula.com or motherwelldoula.com/shop for the business stuff, and then just come have fun with us on Instagram and Facebook. Honestly, we just have a lot of fun there. 

And I share my updates as I’m able, depending on what’s going on – Babypalooza and more. If I ever share a birth picture, I share it after I know the family has made their public announcement. And, I’m rarely doing that unless I know it would be okay. I’m rarely doing that even if it’s generic. I’m rarely doing at the hospital in the moment. It’s funny, I’ll share those photos and people are like, “Oh my gosh, have a great birth today.” And I’m like, “Thanks, so it was like last week!” But baby Palooza was an exception. And again, the photos were generic.  Once, a grandma told me that she was stalking my Facebook page to see when my clients went into labor. And I’m like, oohhh, okay, if you know I’m someone’s doula, and they’re at a certain hospital, I’m not going to be like, “Hey, we’re at the hospital!” So I try to keep it general. Or I just make it known that I don’t share in real time. So even if it is in real time, people might think it’s not real time. Sneaky pro tip for protecting people’s privacy!

AJ: This is actually something that I have been thinking about a lot, especially in the last few weeks: privacy as doulas. I have very strong feelings about this personally, which I think ties into my other job as a researcher where I have to protect people’s confidentiality or my job is that risk, let alone the ethical implications of not protecting their identity when I’m using their stories as data. And the thing with birth, is, if you’ve got a grandma who’s doing that internet stalking, there’s a really big potential for invading a client’s privacy, whether you intend it or not. That’s a conversation I want to have in a whole other blog post, about privacy in the doula world and what our different expectations are. And, if you have one client and post about them in live time, that’s different than  if you live post about five births in one weekend, where it’d be tough to narrow down who you’re talking about when.

VW: Yeah, and it probably doesn’t tell you anything about whether or not that was you posting in real time, you know what I mean? Like, I might lie, right? 

AJ: Right. Exactly. 

VW: Yeah. Like, I have to tell you this now, but I might do this. I’m thinking about maybe even just always putting like a little disclaimer, just copy-paste some language on each post about birth, like, “Posts are not in real time” or something like that? So even if it happens ot be in real time because of something extraordinary, I’m protecting privacy. Or, I find it…yeah, I don’t know. You know what I mean? It’s hard. It is hard. And we’re not like HIPAA bound. So I feel like doulas don’t have all this insight, we don’t have a direct guide to pull on. What does that look like? You have to figure it out for yourself. So it’s kind of hard. 

AJ: Yeah, but also it factors into everything. If your car has a doula bumper sticker, and you pull up at someone’s house, are you risking any semblance of their privacy? 

VW: Oh, that’s a good point. Yeah. 

AJ: It’s fascinating to me that as doulas we don’t talk a ton about privacy in public forums, but we definitely make decisions about it. 

VW: That’s such a good point. Yeah. 

AJ: Anyway, anyway, okay. Sorry, that was a tangent. And thank you for indulging me in it. 

VW: No, I’m just thinking through it. You’re right. It’s a good point. Like, it’s hard, especially when you don’t necessarily have a guide. Seriously, there’s no strict rule to go off of; it’s just your best judgment.

AJ: And I don’t think that’s even necessarily informed judgment. I don’t see that conversation happening often among doulas, trading ideas or perspectives on Facebook groups or things like that. 

VW: I would agree,other than like, really basic, obvious, very obvious, examples, like, “Susie Lou, who is my client, at 36 weeks…” – obviously, no one’s doing that, you know? 

AJ: Yeah. I hope not. 

VW: But, yeah, it’s a small world. So you got to think be thoughtful,

AJ: Right? Especially if you have grandmas stalking you on social! 

VW: Yeah! Well, Grandma, that’s funny because I’m definitely not going to be sharing about your kid’s birth. 

AJ: There you go! Okay, so that’s all the places people can find you plus a few minutes of our thoughts on doulas and privacy. Thank you so much, Victoria, I’m really grateful for your time and for sharing your insight. 

VW: Thank you, Abby. Thank you for this.

Photo of the new front of The Mother Well courtesy of Victoria Wilson

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