Pregnancy and birth is a very intimate and transformative time, so you don’t want to have just anybody joining you on the journey. You should be (and deserve to be!!) surrounded by the loving support of those who truly care about helping you achieve your goals – and a doula can be one of those people.
There are many well-documented benefits to having a doula – less fear, feeling more supported, shorter labour, less epidural use and less assisted and caesarean births. But doulas come in as many varieties as birthing women do. The best doula for your best friend may not be the best for you. And, referring to the opening paragraph, you don’t want just anybody joining you on your journey.
When women choose to hire me as their doula I don’t want them to say that I was “okay” – I want them to say that they felt connected, supported, loved and that having me share their journey was a beautiful experience.
It’s time to find your doula soulmate!
But where to start? What to ask? How do I know if she is “the one”?
A good place to start is your local pregnancy or mother’s group. Just put up a post asking if anyone has any recommendations for a doula. You will likely end up with a list of almost every doula in your local area. Because they were all “the best” doula for someone!
Next step is to check out their website. This will give you a good idea of who they are, what experience they have, what complimentary services they can offer and also how to contact them. If you are interested in complimentary services such as placenta encapsulation, essential oils, massage, hypnobirthing etc this will let you know where you might be able to get a little more bang for your buck by combining all your birth service needs into one package.
Depending on how much time you have, it can also be useful to stalk them on social media for a little while to get a good feel for them. Generally, what they post will give you a good idea of their philosophies on birth. For example, I post a lot of articles about bodily autonomy and obstetric violence because I am very passionate about these areas of birth politics. This will resonate with some women and not so much with others.
Now you will need to contact them. I recommend contacting them in the way that you most prefer and will most likely use when contacting them during your pregnancy. When I was researching doulas during my second pregnancy a few people told me that “some of the best doulas are no good with email – you have to ring them and follow them up”. With a toddler running around and a household to run I don’t have time for that! I want to be able to email my doula while my toddler is napping and get a reply within a day or two. If you prefer email, then email them. If you prefer telephone conversations then give them a call and check out their telephone manner.
First impressions are very important so go with your instincts!
Now – what on earth do you ask your potential doula? What do you tell her? What does she need to know?
She doesn’t need your entire birthing history in the first contact. Who you are, your estimated due date, where you plan to birth and anything that is important to you. It can be useful to let her know what your birth goal is as well.
Set up a meeting
Once you establish that your potential doula is available around your due date and services your area it’s time to set up an initial meeting. This is where you really get to know each other and work out if you are soul mates. It’s also really important that your birthing partner attends this meeting as well – she’s not just mum’s doula but doula to the couple.
Tell your story
So what happens at this initial meeting? You know, I’ve seen lists of “what to ask your potential doula” but what I find works is this: Tell your story. You don’t have to go into all the details. But, as a doula, I want to know about YOU. Why did you call me? What are your hopes, dreams, fears and anxieties? How do you see me fitting into your birth team?
Another great question to ask is: Why did you become a doula? This will give you a great idea of your potential doula’s philosophy around birth and whether it matches yours.
Sure it can be handy to know how many births your potential doula has attended, what sort of experience she has had at your birth venue or what books she can lend you…but those questions are just the “fill in time” questions while we warm up to the juicy stuff.
While you’re chatting away ask yourself: Do you chat easily together? Do you feel heard? Do you feel comfortable asking questions or questioning her? How do you feel about being vulnerable around her? How does your partner feel?
It seems way oversimplified but in the end it truly comes down to this: It’s the vibe.
Have you used a doula? How did you find the right one for you?
Ph: 0459 543 514
Latest posts by Lizzie Carroll (see all)
- 5 Ways To Be A Kick Ass Birth Partner - September 6, 2016
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