The decision to hire a doula does not come lightly. After all, I'll more than likely be seeing parts of you normally only reserved for your partner! In all seriousness, the birth of your baby is a monumental, life-changing moment. The doula you choose should support and encourage you during this amazing journey. I wanted to write about some common questions I encounter during interviews, and give some alternatives to them. Happy doula hunting! (Hint: Contact Me for a complimentary consultation and search no more!)
1. How many births have you attended?
So, here's the thing on that. I rocked the first birth I ever attended as a doula. It was an unmedicated VBAC in Richardson, Texas, and the client got the birth she desired. It was amazing, I supported the client and her husband for eight hours of grueling back labor, and they welcomed their (surprise!) baby boy. During our postpartum visit in her home, she asked me, "how many births have you attended before mine?". She and her husband nearly fell over with shock when I said "none". Her husband truly didn't believe me! Even though she was my very first client, I had the knowledge, training and heart to serve her with confidence and compassion, and to this day, that client is my biggest cheerleader and referral source (thank you!). There are some doulas who are still unsure of themselves at their 50th birth. There are some doulas who haven't seen the wide variety of birth experiences that garner them the knowledge to support a myriad of situations during pregnancy, labor and birth.
Instead, ask: How has your training prepared you to support my unique birth experience?
2. How many children do you have?
First of all, that is a deeply personal question that is just a bit odd to ask a stranger. Perhaps she's currently pregnant and not ready to announce it yet. Maybe she has experienced a loss, or has placed a child with an adoptive family and is unsure how to answer that question. Moreover, the number of children your doula has borne should have no bearing on the level of support she can offer you. I happen to know a few top-notch doulas in the Dallas - Fort Worth area who have ZERO children and can doula the socks off you!
Instead, ask: Do you have spur-of-the-moment childcare in place, if necessary?
3. What is your birth philosophy?
Ok, so maybe this isn't a terrible one to ask during an interview. A doula shouldn't have a philosophy on birth. Her philosophy should be your philosophy. A doula's job is to support the client. Period.
Instead, ask: Are you comfortable supporting my (insert desired birth experience here; water birth, hospital, epidural, home birth, birthing center, c section, vbac, etc) birth?
4. Have you worked with my OB/midwife before?
A professional doula will be trained to support families choosing any type of birth with a care provider (OB or midwife) present. I do not know of any professional doulas who attend unassisted births (births without a medical care provider in attendance). Here in Lewisville alone, we have over a dozen obstetricians practicing in this area. I would have to attend a LOT of births in order to work with all of them at least once. It seems that most of my clients choose the same few providers, and I am willing and excited to work with any of them. Whether or not a doula has worked alongside your particular care provider before, has no effect on her support of you and your partner. The doula's focus and primary concern is for you and your partner's comfort, regardless of whom your doctor may be!
Instead, ask: I want xyz type of birth. What questions should I ask my care provider to ensure that we are on the same page about that?
5. My husband/boyfriend/fiance/baby daddy doesn't want a doula. Will you try to convince him for me?
In a word, no. Interfering with the (sometimes complicated) relationships between pregnant person and their partner is not my line of work. While I can talk for days with my friends and family about how doulas are for dads too, and how doulas plus dad plus mom make a winning team, and how a doula is like a tour guide for birth, and on and on, I will not be the one to knowingly cause friction between a couple. Can you imagine, if during labor, I'm supporting a family, where half of them doesn't even want me there? Yikes.
Instead, ask: Can you provide me some feedback from previous clients' partners on their experiences? And: My husband wants to come to the interview, too, is that ok? (YES!)
Birth With Bethany provides Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes, doula support, certified car seat checks and placenta encapsulation to families in the Flower Mound, Lewisville, Denton, Argyle, Plano, Dallas, McKinney, Frisco, Southlake, Trophy Club, Colleyville, Coppell, Carrollton and Grapevine areas.
I'm Bethany. Wife. Boy Mom. Bradley Method® teacher. Child passenger safety technician. Placenta encapsulator. I like little dogs, big hair and sweet tea.