"Were we suppose to have questions?"
"I don't even know what to ask!"
We're at consults all the time for our birth doula services, where people just look at us
and say things like this.
It can be pretty weird and intimidating to have random new people in your house,
even if they are doulas who are pretty darn comfortable with just about every situation.
So, we wanted to put together this handy, dandy list of 8 things to ask us
or any potential doulas you may be consulting and interviewing with.
Why did you become a doula?
This one can be a bit tricky because everyone gets into doula work for a different reason. We can tell you that anyone telling you they got into this profession to "save people from what they experienced" is a big red flag because when things get rough you don't want someone there who's going to judge you for changing your mind. A doulas job isn't to save you, but to help you feel supported and heard in whatever situations that arise.
What does your price include?
While most professional doulas will have their package details on their website or send you some package info and pricing prior to meeting, it is always a good idea to cover that again. You want to make sure that what is on paper is also being presented in contract and words.
When do you go on-call?
This one is super important! In the past many doulas have only a 4 week window around your estimated due date blocked out, but obviously babies come when they want to come and sometimes that means very early. You want to check to be sure your doula can ensure their presence whenever you have your baby because hiring someone for your birth and having a stranger show up or no one, isn't very fun.
Do you have a backup that we can meet with? And how did you pick them?
We here at Doulas of Greater Lafayette work in pairs and as a team, so you already know who will be at your birth even if an illness or emergency arises. But many doulas work independently, so ensuring they have a back up for you and ensuring you know who this person is and can get to know them as well is really important to be sure you don't get a stranger walking in on your big day.
What training and certifications do you have?
Every doula should have gone through a doula training for birth and/or postpartum (whichever you may be talking about). We always recommend and all our doulas have hands on, in person training which makes a world of difference, this is an in person job. Also see what other trainings and certifications they have, continuing education shows a longer term commitment and can mean they may have other skills and tools to help you during your birth or postpartum.
What other services do you offer?
Some doulas are just birth doulas. Some doulas are just postpartum doulas. And that's totally cool. We love it when people expand their horizons though! Maybe they offer both birth and postpartum services, Childbirth Education , Placenta Encapsulation, or Belly Binding which means you can get everything from the same company and not go through a search and interview process again.
What is your "style"?
And is there anything you are passionate about?
This is another one that can be kind of tricky. Good doulas become what you need them to be in the moment, a chameleon of sorts; But every doula doulas a bit different. Red flags for this would be someone who is an advocate for a certain type of birth or a certain way of doing things. As parents we all go in thinking we want one thing, but lots of times reality can make changing our mind feel good, you want to know your doula is someone who will back you without bias and judgement and someone you can count on to talk to.
How do you work with care providers and nurses?
Have you worked with our doctor/midwife before?
Some doulas honestly believe that many doctors and hospitals have a specific agenda for everyone. We aren't those doulas and most doulas we know are not either, but they are out there and that is a for sure red flag. During your birth having a doula who can work with you and your medical team to help you have the best birth possible can be the greatest gift imaginable; not questioning their every move, but supporting you in asking questions and open dialog.
What would your ideal birth look like?
The key here is, once again, making sure their ideal birth isn't one specific type of birth. A great answer is something like "where my clients feel supported and heard and even if things go completely different than they planned they come out the other side with a sense of confidence and peace." And then hopefully they will turn the question around on you because it really is all about you!
Whether you're in the Lafayette or West Lafayette, Indiana area and chatting with us about our services or anywhere in the world, these are all really basic and good questions to ask your potential doula/s.
Being unbiased, professional, and confident are all things that make really great doulas
and we strive to be just that for every client!
Jessica Anne Dill
Mom of 5, Wife, Doula trainer, Professional Birth and Postpartum Doula, Placenta Specialist, and best friend of coffee and long naps!