I know a lot about a lot of things, but mountain climbing is not one of them. So when a client and her husband revealed to me that they were secretly refering to me as "the sherpa," I had no idea that it was a really great compliment! Of course, he was not saying it to be nice, he just couldn't remember the word doula:)
I can only assume (read:hope) I am not the only one who thought a sherpa was a fleece-lined coat or blanket. Then I realize it's a mountain guide, and I think, how freaking perfect! I always compare labor to running the marathon, because I have done that so I understand the challenge, both physical and mental. But I have never climbed the Himalayas, thank God, so I really didn't make the immediate connection. If you have never climbed a mountain, it'd be a great idea to have a guide to lead you through the process. Heck, it'd probably be a necessity. The sherpas help you pace yourself, drink enough water, keep you focused, remind you to keep your body in the right positions and keep your mind positive.
That is exactly what we as doulas do. We can't do the work of labor for you, but we can help make it easier and more positive. Doulas guide women (and their partners) through a challenging yet ultimately rewarding time. The best compliment I can get is not that someone feels they couldn't have done it without me, but that they wouldn't have wanted to.