I’ve been asked a few times what should you look for in a doula, what questions should you ask, what are you looking for when you hire a doula?
So here’s what you’re looking for – could you sit in a room with them and chat until 3am non-stop? Do you trust them? Will they look after you?
What you’re looking for in a doula is connection. If that doula is experienced, possibly has other skills etc etc – then that’s a bonus. Don’t go though for experience over connection as it won’t work. And this counts for dad/partner just as much as often it’s them we work closely with in the birth.
What you want is someone who IMMEDIATELY makes you feel calm. Someone who brings good energy with them into the room. Someone who makes you laugh. Someone who doesn’t judge or bring their way of birth with you. Someone you know can diffuse a challenging situation.
As a doula, when I walk into the room, I want mum to immediately relax. I don’t want her to think “yikes, Tricia’s here… what’s she going to think of me”. I want her to think “thank god she’s got here”.
If you’re unsure, then the doula you are speaking to isn’t right for you.
The relationship has to be a relationship built on a two-way connection. Being on call for someone for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week is a huge undertaking. Yes we get paid for that but until you’ve done it and understand how complex it is to keep everything covered, especially when you have children, you have no idea of the huge undertaking it is. I only work with families when I know that it’s going to work.
One of the things that I do with everyone who contacts me is arrange a telephone call before I arrange to meet. I want it to be that we can chat easily on the phone – I want to know we can get on. It’s not worth your time nor my time to arrange to meet if we can’t just had a chat about life on the phone.
We also arrange 3-5 meetings antenatally. As I provide both EFT and Birth Trauma Recovery therapy, then we can use some of these sessions to integrate these if you should need support with any specific anxieties or to move on from any previous birth or other experiences which may impact on this pregnancy and birth. Or I can come with you to any antenatal appointments that you might need support.
So yes you can ask your doula about what experience they have, what qualifications they’ve got, what’s in their birth bag… but go with your gut – can you literally sit and talk for hours together as THAT’S what you’re looking for ABOVE everything else. That’s WHEN the doula-mum relationship works.
If you’d like to know more about doula support – there’s information here.
Much love, Tricia xxx
PS to all my doula mums and dads – you’ll know EXACTLY what I mean