Ah yes, the million dollar question. The simple answer is its rare and if it does happen, I will send amazing backup. It's really not something to worry about. There are so many unknowns in birth, this is one of the few you can actually depend on going as planned and chances are you will get your chosen doula. Life is always unpredictable, so granted we never know. My intention is be at all of my births and I do my best to schedule accordingly. I rarely see my client's doctors at their birth, but I'm there. And chances are, if backup is needed, it happens more often for other conflicts, like hurricanes, terrible illnesses, and the like. I rarely even miss everyday events for births. They're only a few per month so the odds are in our favor.
That said, what if it does happen? Well, if it does happen, you will get to peak into the secret life of doulas. We doulas network together not only for backup. We, or at least in my experience as a doula, lean on each other for emotional support, mentoring, childcare, hot meals, back rubs, friendship, birth support at our own births, an understanding ear, and yes, backup support. Most of my best friends are doulas and if needed I would choose one of them. I would choose one the women who I love dearly and hold close to my heart in my daily life that I trust enough to send to my client. It's pretty amazing to have the kind of friendships with other women who would get out of their bed in the middle of the night and leave their families to go serve a woman they have never met in her labor. These are my people. And I do the same for them. When I get called for backup, I kind of love it. I know the other doula is concerned about her client, I know the client is probably apprehensive, so I better be even better than great and put everyone at ease immediately. It feels so very special and communal to be in such an amazing circle of women doing such important and timeless work.
So if you do get backup, know that you will get a peak into the secret life of doulas, into the amazing, loving network of women with which I work, learn, grow, and laugh with, and support so many amazing women during this so very amazing time with.
Good to know. And it probably won't happen anyway, because I am planning on being at your birth!