When you get down to it, a doula is just someone who helps you get through something difficult, usually a child through a vagina. In recent years, entrepreneurial self-starters have expanded the definition of what a doula can be. Now, there are all kinds of doulas out there ready and willing to help you through a variety of life’s toughest moments. It’s like paying exorbitant sums for the ultimate (albeit highly situational) B.F.F.
Did you know there are doulas who specialize in making sure you remain emotionally and psychologically stable as you wait over three hours for your car’s oil change while shitty daytime T.V. plays in the background? They’re called dealership doulas. They can be hired through specialized apps or phone numbers found in the back pages of local alternative weeklies. They’re so beneficial that some Kia dealerships will soon begin testing an onsite dealership doula program, mostly to cut down on the number of windowpanes they have to replace thanks to infuriated customers fueled by terrible free coffee.
As you teeter on the edge of fury, your dealership doula will guide you through deep breathing exercises and lead you in chants to reduce to prevent you from going to prison for setting the entire goddamn place on fire.
If you’re struggling on the toilet, a poop doula can stand by your side to deliver the words of encouragement you need to help you pass your most vexing bowel movements. A certified poop doula will hang handmade signs with fun motivational slogans like “Push it real good!” and pictures of inspirational figures like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Sally Ride on the wall in front of your toilet as a constant reminder that anything is possible, including passing a stubborn stool. Some provide air freshener services and even wiping assistance. A poop midwife can administer an epidural if you need it, but they tend to be more pricey.
With the news being an endless source of stress these days, you need a news doula to remind you that the world will return to its senses soon enough, even though it probably won’t. A news doula will massage your temples and tickle your forearms as you scroll through your Twitter feed becoming increasingly enraged with each flick of the thumb. High-end news doulas will even trick you into following news accounts they’ve set up themselves that pump out nothing but feel-good fake news stories you’ll occasionally come across in your treacherous news travels. Just be careful not to repeat them to people, or you’ll sound like an idiot.
Even if you’re convinced we’re all actually very fucked despite the news doula’s reassurances, it’s still nice to know that someone out there can convincingly lie about something good for a change.
Traffic doulas can squeeze comfortably into the backseat of any car for easy access to your shoulders should you need a soothing massage before you drive your Civic over the median and directly into oncoming traffic just to feel alive again. A certified traffic doula can create original mixes that seamlessly weave the soothing new age sounds of Enya with snippets of Tony Robbin’s most motivating lectures to keep your spirits up as the collective will of your entire city holds you back from gunning the gas and leaving those fools in the dust in your eternal race toward freedom.
Just don’t leave your traffic doula unattended in a hot car for too long.
What separates an exercise doula from a personal trainer is that they will likely be in worse shape than you, won’t work out alongside you, and will be wearing Crocs and Dungarees. But you’re not hiring them to be a living vision board for what you want to look like. You want them to tell you they can already see your six-pack after you struggle through your first five sit-ups in over a decade. You want them to tell you you’re beautiful even though you can’t hear them over the screams that accompany leg-pressing three times your own weight. Be careful, though: Due to their years of avoiding manual labor, they won’t be able to spot you when you’re trapped beneath the weight of a bench press.
As you explore this brave new world of doulas, just remember it’s never their job to tell you how to consume news, take a poop, or navigate traffic. A good doula is duty-bound to help you do things your way, no matter how illegal or ethically dubious.