I took the boys to the playground today (before a tried and failed attempt at a swim lesson; long story). Another woman sat down next to me after a bit, clearly by choice and asked me what I do for a living, if I'm a stay-at home mom, what. I told her my current job and then brought up that I am a doula (in training).
Her first response was, "oh, like for single moms? That's great!" and then told me her story. 10 years ago her water broke and, having no idea what was going on, she went in to the doctor who told her she was (much to her surprise and dismay) having a baby. She cried and panicked and told him no, she didn't want a baby, she didn't want to be a single mom, etc. She wound up getting support from her sister, who reassured her that she would help her with the baby and then stayed with her while she gave birth and supported her afterward. If not for her sister, she is still convinced she would not have been able to give birth and definitely not keep her son.
I was so surprised by this; here was someone reinforcing my decision to offer my services free or very low cost to single moms, women who have no one and, I feel, are most in need of support as they face a future which is statistically going to be all their own. To be told by a complete stranger that YES, this is needed, it is valued, and it is important. So very, very important. She had her sister to be her doula, others have no one. I'm going to try to be that someone for at least a few of them.