Being a doula is hard work. The hours are also unpredictable and often long and grueling. Depending on how busy you are, the hours are also rarely steady. This leads some doulas to seek out a side hustle. While there are many side hustles that doulas can do and choose to do, we’re going to focus on the childbirth educator here.
A childbirth educator is someone with specialized knowledge not only about childbirth but about the principals of education. Here are five reasons why this is a great side gig for a doula:
1. It’s a similar field.
Surprise! (Not really.) Childbirth education covers similar content to things you’d learn in doula training. Though childbirth education goes much further and deeper into conception, pregnancy, prenatal health, fetal development, postpartum, newborns, and more. There is also the educational component such as thinking about how adults learn best and curriculum development. The love of your work as a doula will help you stay focused and will enhance your work as a doula as you dig deeper into the field and learn even more than you did as a doula. This can also inform your work as a doula as you better understand the how and why behind some of the things you do.
2. The hours are flexible.
Being a childbirth educator means that you will typically set your own hours, particularly if you are an independent childbirth educator. This means that it can be easy to do this workaround for your doula clients. Your clients are also pretty understanding about rescheduling. You can also choose to do private classes for individuals, or smaller groups, or even weekend classes that are done in a day or two. This makes it much easier to plan your call schedule around. It may also be easier to stay connected in your field during periods of being off call. Perhaps you are taking a break for familial or health reasons, this allows you to continue to work in the field and maintain your business connections without the call schedule. This can be great if you want to have a baby and take some time off, but not completely away.
3. The clients potentially overlap.
Being a childbirth educator is a natural extension of your work as a doula, mainly because it allows you to provide additional services to your clients. This means that you can further the bond that you have with them and helps them in more areas. Many clients enjoy that they can have this additional time with you.
4. The prenatal meeting is not for childbirth education.
It is so tempting to go further into talking about childbirth education types of topics in your prenatal meetings. You might do this because you love the topics and they might do this because they have the ear of someone who knows what they are talking about when it comes to birth. This allows you to legitimately separate the two. Without doing this, you run the risk of taking valuable time for doula topics and spending it educating about things that should be covered in childbirth class. When you’re missing that training, it may also be harder to do that effectively.
5. Childbirth education is recognized.
The truth is that doula is not yet a household name. You probably still find yourself explaining what a doula does to people all of the time. We are certainly getting more and more name recognition, but until then, childbirth educator will be the more recognized job title. It’s not that one is better than the other, they are simply different jobs. That said, there is a better recognition of what a childbirth educator is and does and that may help you get your foot in the door in some places, whereas doula would not.
Don’t forget to check out International Childbirth Education Week!