It’s World World Doula Week! And now that you know why you might want a doula, you have to find the right one. So you’ll probably go to google, ask friends, or get a recommendation from your provider, to find out your options. And then, you’ll likely spend some time interviewing your doula.
Clients usually aren’t completely sure how this conversation should go. Since I’ve participated in more of these interviews than I imagine you ever will, here are some questions that I think are important:
No matter how lovely someone is, if they’re spread too thin- it makes it difficult to show up for you. This is part of why I became a full-time, professional doula. I can give my clients true on call availability.
This question can tell you a few things. It gives you some background and it may allow you to connect if something in the story strikes a chord with you. The question also lets you learn about their motivations. I do doula work to support families, and I want my clients to know that my work is all about them.
While most doulas were natural doulas before we ever set foot in a birth room, in order to be a professional, training is important. It makes us more well-rounded, and gives us important information and perspective. Completing up to date, thorough training and working towards certification is one way to show commitment to giving our clients the best possible service.
Make sure that your doula prioritizes making partner, family and providers comfortable. I think my job is to put partners at ease and keep them as involved in the process as they and my client want them to be. And to it’s important to me to build bridges with providers.
Your experience is best protected when everyone is working together, and you should be able to depend on your doula to make it happen.
Every birth and family is different, so I don’t think that numbers give clients an accurate picture of a doula’s skills. But doulas should have experience in support to pull from, and confidence in their ability to help you.
The doula’s opinions don’t matter when it comes to getting what you hope for, so watch for anything that indicates bias. Even if you agree with the opinions that a doula expresses, it’s important to know that things come up, and you should be free to change your mind.
No matter what service you are planning to use (labor, postpartum or both), your doula should be able to describe to you what the support will look like. Get an idea of if you will get what you need, and if they’ll be able to adapt in a professional manner to anything that comes up.
None of us wants to miss a client in labor. But we have to have a plan. Your doula should be able to tell you who will attend your birth, if something unforeseen happens to them, whether it’s a partner, backup, or someone from a group of doulas.
Professional doulas have standard agreements with their clients. This makes sure that everyone has the same expectations, and provides reassurance for both of you. Make sure that you feel comfortable with everything that you’re signing, and ask any questions you need to.
And the final thing to notice, isn’t so much a question for the doula, as for you.
Interviewing your doula is an opportunity to trust your instincts. You’ll know if it’s a good fit. I hope this guide helped, and I’ll see you soon, for more on doulas, during World Doula Week.