I Don’t Need You
By Corey Strouse, PA Doula and Wellness LLC
Every trade has its tools. A plumber needs his wrench, and electrician needs his needs his wire strippers, a doctor needs his stethoscope. But what about a doula and wellness practitioner? What tools are necessary to do what I do?
My doula bag is filled with a hundred different things. Hair bands, candy, massage tools, pens, paper, chapstick, lotion, music, rebozo, bendy straws, deodorant, snacks, a change of clothes… All things that I may or may not want to use during a birth, but I’ve attended many a birth with never opening my bag, never using a single thing in it. I can look at my doula bag and think – I don’t need you.
I love my office. I keep childbirth education supplies there. I have birth balls and nursing pillows and infant dolls and a replica pelvis, a knitted uterus, cloth placenta and cord, among many other things. These items make teaching childbirth education easier, but I can teach without them. I don’t need you.
I have a massage/reiki table with pillows and sheets and fluffy blankets, a foam wedge and bolster. I want my Reflexology and Reiki clients to be as comfortable as possible. I play soothing music and provide a lavender eye pillows to help clients to relax and so they can best enjoy their session with me. I have soft lighting and himalayan salt lamps and pictures on the wall. I want my office to be a calm, safe place where every client feels welcome. But any space could be that. I can do Reiki or Reflexology with my client sitting on the floor, or laying on a grassy lawn. I love having all of these things available to me, but I can look at it all and think – I don’t need you.
I have a hundred different essential oils and have spent hundreds of hours training in their use. I love discussing essential oils with my aromatherapy clients and helping them to discover the oils that work best for them. But the vast majority of my essential oil knowledge is in my head. My clients don’t need to use my essential oils. Oils are available everywhere. I love personally using my oils, but I lived a good life before I started using them and I would live a good life if I never used them again. They improve my life, but once again – I don’t need you.
So have you guessed what tools do I need to do this amazing work that I feel called and honored to do? What does a Doula/Wellness Practitioner never want to leave home without? The tools that I always carry with me, that are the soul of my business and have never failed me no matter what the circumstances or final outcome. The tools that have served me so faithfully for the past 17 years?
My heart and hands. The tools that I cannot do my work without. If I have those two things I can be the very best doula and wellness practitioner possible. Hands provide comfort, counter pressure, and relaxation. The gentle touch of my hands let a laboring mother know that I am there to support her, they find the Reflexology points for my wellness clients and flow with Reiki. My heart controls my voice and actions, reminding me that my client is my only focus. What do they need? What will make their experience better? Have I put aside my ego so I can best serve my client and their needs? My heart reminds my hands that every touch I give is reciprocal. If I am touching my client than they are touching me. Am I being mindful of being in their sacred personal space? Are my thoughts, words, attitude and bearing having a positive effect?
If you strip everything away, the essence of what a doula and wellness practitioner does is the person themselves. I am my business and my business is me. Not in a self-centered “it’s all about me” way, it’s the exact opposite of that. I give myself 100% to my clients. As a doula, my job is to support, as a wellness practitioner my job is also to support. It is to look at the situation and provide what my client needs. I don’t need tricks or a hundred different things to accomplish that. I need to be present, I need to be focused, and I need my heart and my hands.