My husband and I just finished up a 12 week parenting class at church. One of the things we discussed was personality types, and the importance of knowing not only you’re personality type, but also the personalities of your children. Being both a mom and doula, I started thinking about what the different personalities might look like in labor.
(You can take the personality quiz here!)
These people are driven, goal-oriented, and nothing is going to get in their way. They can be assertive and enjoy challenges. I see the laboring woman with a Lion personality as being very driven towards having the birth she wants. While the majority of women have an idea of how they want birth to go, Lions will do whatever they need to do to make sure the goal is reached. Because they enjoy a challenge I could see the Lion setting high goals even during birth, simply to prove that they can do it. The Lion likes to be in charge and can have trouble thinking of other people. A doula is beneficial for the Lion personality in two ways: A doula can run interference between the laboring woman and the family/nursing staff, and can help them re-focus and plan new goals if/when something unexpected happens in labor. Pre-eclampsia, malpositioned baby, etc are all things out of your control that can change a birth plan real fast.
The Otter personality is the life of the party. They love to have fun, don’t know a stranger, and love to talk. They are very social creatures. You can bet that a laboring woman with an Otter personality is going to know the name of every nurse and technician she meets, and will invite family and friends to her birth. They crave social interaction and would probably prefer the midwifery model of care, simply for the extra time and interaction midwives provide. A doula can help the Otter by simply being there. Nurses and doctors have other patients to check on, the partner may need to rest or eat, but the doula is there for the sole purpose of helping the laboring woman. Whether it’s talking and laughing in early labor, or providing counter-pressure and massage during transition, a doula will be a constant social support for the Otter. A doula can also help an Otter to focus and come up with a birth preference.
The Retriever personality is loyal and sensitive. They prefer to have deep, meaningful relationships with a few people over having lots of friends. They want to please everyone and desire to be loved by everyone. They do not like change, and need to feel secure. They can be very calm and affirming, but can also be indecisive and have trouble expressing their emotions. A laboring woman with a Retriever personality needs to feel safe, loved, and affirmed during labor. They may have a birth plan in place but might yield quickly if someone tells them that their goal isn’t attainable. They don’t want to cause any conflict and may put their own wants and needs aside to keep the peace. A doula is beneficial for the Retriever because she can provide a secure,constant relationship during a very unpredictable time. Retrievers do not like change, and they can rest assured knowing that the doula will be there for them throughout the entire process. A doula can also help the Retriever to focus on her own needs, rather than trying to please others.
This personality is detail-oriented, perfectionist, and organized. They want to solve problems and believe that their way is the right way. They have high standards, but can also have unrealistic expectations of themselves or others. They desire to take their time on projects and don’t like change. A laboring woman with this personality will have done extensive research about pregnancy, labor, and childbirth and have very strong feelings on these topics. They will have everything prepared well in advance for the birth. A doula can help the Beaver by offering steady support and encouragement. A Beaver may prefer to labor at home as long as possible, simply so they can labor in positions they prefer and away from the clock. A doula can encourage her both at home and at the hospital to focus inward and affirm her if labor doesn’t go as planned.
So what personality are you? Do you think personality shapes the way you give birth or view the birth experience?