When you’re expecting your baby, you’ll probably notice that you start hearing this word more and more- either passively on a forum or in a book, or as a title used to refer directly to you. Calling a pregnant “mama” (or mom, or mommy, or some other title referencing motherhood) has become the norm. You may hear it in the grocery store (“How much longer do you have left in your pregnancy, mama?”), you may hear it when you’re out for dinner (“You look great, mama!”), or you may hear it when out walking the dog (“Hang in there, mama!”).

The sentiment is great! More often than not, these comments are made lovingly. They show support and understanding, and there’s no better time for that than when you’re pregnant.

But you won’t hear it from us.

Why? Well, I’m so glad you asked! Why do we- and so many other professional doulas- have an aversion to referring to our clients as “mama”? It boils down to a few solid reasons:

  1. Maybe you don’t identify as a mama. In our practice, we take inclusiveness REALLY seriously. What does this mean? This means we don’t make any assumptions about the families that we work with. Just because you are pregnant, does not mean you identify as a woman. Just because you identify as a woman, does not mean that you are- or want to be- a mama. We will always use gender neutral pronouns, titles, and language until we are told otherwise. You know yourself better than we do- and it’s our job to support you!


2. You’re not my mama! You are our clients, and maybe even our friends. We prefer to call you by your name! Our clients are usually already parents, or are about to become one. You will hear “mama” (or your chosen parental name) over. and over. and OVER again for years to come. Let’s leave that name for the little ones- it’s cuter when they say it, anyway.


3. You are so much more than mama. Parenthood is amazing, transformative, challenging, and requires a ton of self-sacrifice (something you keep learning throughout your years as a parent). You gladly give everything to your children. It can be so easy to lose your identity to parenthood, to forget who you are outside of parenting, and to lose sight of your interests, goals, and hobbies. It is common to struggle with depression after having a baby, and it’s common to hear reports of, “I don’t know who I am anymore”, or “By the time the baby is finally asleep, I have no energy left to do anything I like doing anymore.”

Parenthood is consuming! But you aren’t just a parent- you are still the person you were before having a baby. It’s okay- and necessary- to mentally separate yourself from the titles of “parent”, “partner”, or similar.

It’s not our job to decide who you are- we know you’ve got that covered. Among everything else that’s changing right now, know that we see YOU- a person becoming a parent, not a person transforming into a new identity. You are still you, outside of everything that happens in the delivery room!