What does non-judgmental support really look like?

When I became pregnant and entered the world of motherhood, I had lots of ideas about how I wanted my birth to go and how I wanted to parent my child. My husband and I spent lots of time thinking and talking about those details.

Little did I know that others were also thinking about those details – for me.

I had no shortage of advice about what interventions I should have during labor, how I should feed my child, dress him, bathe him, when to leave him with a sitter for the first time, what toys he should have, what toys he should not have, and on and on.

Some of the comments came at me pretty benignly; “I loved dressing my child in just onsies.” And others came with a bit more harshness; “If you don’t do X, you’re robbing your son of a key part of childhood.”

The reality is that we all have opinions about what we would do in any given situation. Learning to interact with others without sharing those opinions takes time, humility, grace and understanding.

When I became a doula I had to really examine what non-judgmental meant.

I had to learn that my choices were not right for everyone.

Stop and think about that for a second, because if we’re honest, we all think that what we have chosen is the best. We just have to remember to add those couple extra words of “for me.” Every time. By focusing totally on my client, I can simply support them as they make their own decisions. My “you can do this” attitude will instill strength and confidence in them.

If I am a good doula, you won’t actually know what I would do in a particular situation. Instead you will feel totally empowered in your decisions, knowing that they are right for you because you made them for yourself.

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