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Why Is Having Agency Important On Life's Journey?

Updated: Feb 17

Agency is a sense of being in control of one’s life. It’s the capacity to influence your own thoughts and behavior - having faith that you are able to handle a wide range of circumstances and tasks. This sense of agency is available to everyone though there are times, particularly when faced with intense health challenge that it’s difficult to access. An ally is often invaluable.


It’s the capacity to influence your own thoughts and behavior

Receiving a life limiting diagnosis is overwhelming for anyone at any stage of an illness. How does one process information from their physician and the emotions that arise? It’s a shock to the senses and impacts the body at a cellular, visceral level. That’s the fight or flight response. It’s normal. Within minutes. the course of that individual’s life has been forever altered. Yet decisions about treatment must be made, often quickly. That very act often triggers a sense of “I feel helpless and powerless. That’s why agency is important.

Agency calls forth the ability to access one’s inner strength, courage and wisdom, to become aware of options and give informed consent. regarding the treatment plan. You realize you are capable. You’re in the driver’s seat. It’s your life and you speak up and advocate for yourself and may ask for time to process. Your wishes and desires matter. Your decisions will impact your family and involve having conversations together. You get to communicate what’s most important for you as you move forward.

You realize you are capable.You’re in the driver’s seat. It’s your life.

How does a doula support? We listen deeply, with compassion, without judgment, expectation or need to fix. We ask open-ended questions and notice what’s being said and not said. We listen and notice the language used, how words are expressed as well as non verbal cues. We mirror what we heard and point out times of strength, courage and a sense of “I’ve got this”. We become your ally.


If you only remember this, remember agency is available to everyone.

If you only remember this, remember agency is available to everyone. In time and when a safe space is provided, where you feel listened to and heard, it becomes possible for you to access that inner strength, courage, wisdom and power to control and influence the course before you. My role is to be a safe space, an ally who recognizes that agency within you until you realize you’re capable of access it yourself. That’s an amazing accomplishment!

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