Are you thinking of hiring a doula but don’t know how to go about selecting one? Here are some general guidelines to keep in mind so you can find someone who is a great fit for you!
1) Look at all the contents of a doula’s website before inquiring further and requesting a consultation. The doula will hopefully have lots of information on their site about their services, their philosophy, etc., and you can usually get a pretty good feel for whether their services will be a good fit for you simply by looking at their website. This allows you to focus on interviewing a few select doulas that actually have the potential to be what you are looking for.
2) When you request consultations, make sure you share all pertinent information with the potential doulas. When are you due? Is this your first child? Where are you planning to give birth? Are you using a specific program for childbirth education, or do you have any special circumstances? This allows the potential doula to start determining whether you would be a good fit for them. You do not want to waste your time interviewing potential doulas who will not be able to work with you for logistical reasons, so make sure to share a bit of information in your initial inquiry.
3) If you have a partner, schedule consultations for a time when both you and your partner can attend. It is really important for you both to meet potential doulas, since your doula will be working closely with both of you during a very significant time in your lives. You both need to feel comfortable with the person you decide to hire.
4) Meet with potential doulas in person if possible. While you can ask questions and share information over the phone or video chat, there is just something about meeting someone in person that can’t be replicated. Meeting in person will allow you to get a better feel for them, whether they are being genuine with you or not, and whether you can actually see them being a part of your birth experience.
5) Be organized going in to the consultation. Make a list of questions you and your partner have for potential doulas. Write down pertinent information about yourself or your pregnancy/birth situation that a potential doula might need to know about. Is there anything that makes your situation unique? What information do you feel like you need to share or gather in order to be able to make an informed decision on whom to work with?
6) At the consultation, make sure you ask any and all questions you have and share all the information you wanted to share. Gauge the doula’s response. Is she comfortable working with mamas in your particular situation? Is there anything else you or your partner need to know about the doula or her services to be able to make an informed decision?
7) Trust your gut!! Do the doula’s responses seem genuine? Does conversation come easily? Did the potential doula start building a relationship with you and gaining your trust? Do you feel comfortable having this person attend your birth?
8) Interview more than one potential doula. Meet with at least 2 doulas, if not more. Don’t go crazy with this though. The goal is not to meet with as many doulas as you can. The goal is to meet with 2-4 doulas who based on early impressions (from looking at their website and interaction with them from your initial inquiry) seem like they could be a good fit for you.
9) If additional questions or uncertainties come up after you meet with a potential doula, don’t hesitate to send an email or call to address these things before making a final decision on who to hire. You should feel fully informed before making a decision.
10) Take your time making your decision on who to hire. This isn’t a decision that should be rushed. Do be aware though that doulas usually take on a set number of births for a given month. You do not want to wait so long to secure a doula’s services that you lose your spot with your chosen doula. Typically you will have a gut feeling and know pretty quickly who you want to work with. If you do not have this feeling, you may need to find another doula. If you have interviewed a number of doulas who initially seemed like they could be a good fit, and then you didn’t get the feeling that any of them were right, you might need to evaluate your expectations and whether there might be something else going on that could be holding you back from moving forward with this.
I hope you find these tips to be helpful and that you are able to find a doula you are excited to work with!! Click for additional tips on ways to start preparing for your baby. If you are looking for resources for expectant parents, including my Birth Plan Kit, please check out my Etsy shop, MamaEmpoweredBirth.
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