Choosing who to have with you during your labour and birth is a big and sometimes stressful decision to make, and even more so finding the best birth doula for your specific self. This may be even more crucial when there are family or friends who want to be there who you may feel are not the most supportive in potentially stressful or tense scenarios (or who you feel you have to “watch” yourself around).
The market in some places is saturated with really amazing birth workers (perhaps not so much in other areas, but then that’s why we have options for travelling doulas and virtual doulas, yay!)
Options are such a good thing because it means that there is a doula that is perfectly matched to you, and I am a firm believer that your doula should be matched to YOU.
Your doula would ideally work with you throughout pregnancy to discuss your fears, belief systems, postpartum plans, give you information or direct you to information regarding all your questions and perhaps help you find more support online, or in the community to be part of your village – i’m talking chiropractors, counsellors, massage therapists, paediatricians and anything else you may need. Of course, your doula would be with you during your birth and in early postpartum as well (unless you have a virtual doula who may not be- but we will cover that in another post!).
Okay, so all sounds nice. But what do I mean when I say that your doula needs to be well matched to you? And where do you even start in terms of picking a doula to be a part of your birth team? Below are some steps I would take and considerations that I think are important to make to help you find the doula for you.
Ask your friends if they worked with a doula and who they worked with, have any of their friends worked with doulas? Post in local facebook groups asking people for recommendations. Collect names any way you can because that is your starting point. From there I would say to look up their websites and social media pages. To me this is so so so important because I believe social media, when used beneficially, is really an extension of who we are as people. When I look to someone’s social media pages I am looking to hear their voice, see their gestures, pick up on their vibe, listen to what topics they are writing about or talking about. Through this I can pick up as to whether this person seems to be someone I may work with, or not.
Your online research may also take you to pages of other doulas that weren’t recommended, but whose pages still speak to you, go with it!
How to use the information you see on pages to help you pick your doula? Well, if I am looking someone up online and they are talking all over their pages about natural birth, birthing in water, and so on, and I am hoping to have a hospital birth with an epidural- perhaps they are not the doula for me. And that is okay. So do your research, take the chance to go through people’s online platforms, and then take the next step to getting to know them.
I am not saying to judge a book by its cover completely, because some people don’t have a good online presence but are doing badass work in real life, and others just have not found a way to show up authentically online so their message is lost.
Take the recommendations you received, the names you found yourself, and the social media research you did – and now start contacting people! Hearing someone’s voice live for a phone call, video chat or in person meeting can tell you a LOT about whether you click with a person or not. It also gives you a chance to tell them about yourself, your pregnancy and your birth hopes, as well as ask them questions about them and their work.
During this step may be when you get your “AHA” this is my doula moment, or it may take more thought and discussion, or back to the drawing board!
Listen, this is a really important person you are picking to have at your birth, and you should take the time you need to make the best decision for you. As doulas we provide (almost always) free consultations, no pressure, time to talk and see whether this is the right fit. So there is no reason to feel pressured or obligated to give an answer immediately.
I know i’m a little woo in a way that perhaps other people are not, but I truly believe that picking a doula is a heart decision more than it is a mind decision.
Yes, check for qualifications (and that can mean different things), yes ask your questions about experience, yes to all of that, but a doula you feel comfortable with, who you feel gets you and can hold space in the way you need who ALSO has the proper knowledge and information to give you, is really your JACKPOT.
Have more questions about how to pick your doula, or whether you even need a birth doula? Let’s chat one-to-one and discuss your specific questions and concerns! Meet me at my contact page here.
Happy researching, I hope you find the person you seek!
Till next time,
(from sunny Ojochal, Costa Rica!)