My sister is 18 months younger than I am and when we were quite little she asked me to deliver a note to mom. I dutifully obliged and I remember my mother's shoulders slumping and her eyes looking worried when she read it. She was exhausted, frazzled and up to her arm pits in chaos. Of course, I had peeked and I knew what the note said. "Dear Mom, I'm running away. P.S. I'll be in the back yard." I made my way out to the back yard and there was my little sis sitting cross legged in the blanket fort she had made out of the clothes line. She had her dolls sitting along side her in a sad vigil. I'd like to think that I said something mature like " I'm sorry you are so sad. Would you like to talk about it?" but it's more likely that I said "Mom is a poo head". I'm sure I didn't get it right as a big sister and I am positive my mom didn't get it right either. It was an impossible situation that we all had to get through as best we could.
When I read things like THIS BLOG by Catie Mehl, I think of that day in the back yard. I hear that Catie didn't have her needs met. I hear that she expected more of DONA and that she has run away. We see where you are Catie and we know why you went. I can't excuse you using my blog out of context but I understand your desperation and that you felt that you were let down.
Here's the thing... if any of you run away to find another "family"(and while I understand you are professing to be "professional" there is liberal use of the term "family" in the pro-doula battle cry) be sure you haven't worsened your position. We don't know what happens when more pressure is placed on the consumer of doula services and caregivers are enticed with bobbles and goodies. It's probable that this will serve as good incentive for insurance companies and health authorities to scoff at doula support as a standard of care. Take great care before you send the message that doula support is a luxury for women that can afford it; it's likely to back fire.
As a DONA trainer, I take leadership very seriously. Hundreds of women have brought their voices to the DONA board table over the years. Some of our ideas and concerns have been rejected and some accepted and it's hard on both sides of the table. It's grueling, hard, sweaty, thankless work and it's necessary. It is imperfect and it has failures and it's important. For those that have hung on I thank you and I see you and I am excited for what is coming. People I love and respect have worked their guts out, sacrificed and pushed forward.
For those that have run away, be careful out there.