At a recent Georgia Birth Network event, I met many moms who were eager to learn about doulas. Often, after chatting over delicious desserts, the topic of how to hire a doula would come up. The moms knew they wanted a doula. They knew how to find doulas. But then what do you do?
If you are a Mom or Dad who is expecting to welcome a baby into your home and hearts, here is your guide to finding, and hiring, a doula!
Ask around. Seriously. Talk to your friends, your midwife or OB, parenting groups, or anyone who know who had a doula. Get names, phone numbers, websites, email addresses. Gather as much information as you can.
Google them. Most doulas have Facebook profiles and websites. Check out DoulaMatch. It’s a free service that has doulas listed. You can search by your due date, zip code, state, or the doula’s name. Fees are listed as well as certifications, previous experience, where they attend births, etc. It’s a great way to get information that you may not have other wise thought of.Come up with a list of questions you want to ask. I will post sample questions below.Contact the doulas you find interesting. Ask them to either chat with you on the phone or to meet you in a public place for coffee/ice cream/whatever you want.Trust your gut. Was there a doula you felt an instant connection with? Or did the doula put you on edge and make you feel uncomfortable? You want to feel a connection. Your doula is going to support you during one of your most amazing life experiences. She should make you feel comfortable and safe.Once you’ve narrowed it down, call her. Try not to wait too long; the doula isn’t going to keep her calendar open for weeks. Remember, you aren’t the only Mom calling her. Many doulas have a set number of moms they will commit to in a month.Sign the contract and pay the retainer fee. Each doula handles this differently. Some have you sign and mail the forms + check. Others may meet you in person, while others accept PayPal and electronic forms.You did it! You’ve hired a doula. You now have someone who can help you navigate pregnancy, labor, delivery. You also have a great resource for things in your community. Need help finding a childbirth class? Thinking about switching your care providers? Looking for breastfeeding support? Your doula will likely be able to point you in the right direction.
Stumped with what questions to ask when doing a consultation with a doula? Are you debating on whether you should ask about her favorite color or what kind of car she drives? Here’s some to start you off. PS: These are not in any particular order and feel free to expand them or add your own!
1) What’s your fee?
2) What is your retainer?
3) When is the remainder due?
4) Will you accept payments?
5) Do you barter for your services?
1) What made you become a doula?
2) What organization did you train with?
3) Have you completed your training? If no, are you still accepting certifying/reduced fee births?
4) Do you have kids?
5) How were your birth experiences?
1) How many prenatal meetings do you typically schedule?
2) How many postpartum meetings do you typically schedule?
3) Who’s your backup?
4) What happens if I change my mind before giving birth and no longer want a doula? Do I get a refund?
5) How often can I call you, text you, or email you?
That is the most important thing to take away from this blog entry. You are inviting a person into one of the most sacred moments of your life: the birth of your child. You need to feel comfortable with your doula. Being able to relax with them, trust them, and feel safe and secure in their presence is more important than whether or not they answered your questions perfectly. Talk to several doulas. Meet them face to face. If you keep coming back to one doula in particular, then go with it.
I wish you the best of luck on your doula search! Feel free to leave questions in the comments or share your own doula search stories! Or, come to the next Desserts & Doulas meeting and test out the questions in person! 😉