Now that you have asked around and done your internet sleuthing to find a postpartum doula near you, its time to narrow down your search. Depending on where you live there might be 15 potential postpartum doulas or their could be just 1. Either way, its important to make sure that you and the doula are a good match and that you feel a connection with her.
Though this person will be acting in a professional role for your family, her duties and objectives will require a deep level of trust and understanding.
She will see you and support you during one of the most vulnerable times. She will see you go through struggles and triumphs.
She will listen to your fears and worries and hear your birth story many, many times.
She will help smooth the rough spots and deepen your connect you to your village.
Because of this it is crucial that you find a postpartum doula that you feel supports you in the ways that are most important to you.
Your first opportunity to get a feel for your prospective postpartum doula comes when you initially contact them. How attentive are they to your request for more information? Does their style of communication work for you?
The second major opportunity comes at your consultation when you get to meet the postpartum doula face to face. This meeting will have a large effect on how you choose to move forward. Make the most of your no obligation consultation by asking any and all of your pertinent questions.
A great question to start out with is:
1. WHAT LEAD YOU TO THIS WORK?
Get a feel for why and how she came to this work. Her motivating forces should resonate with you.
Next, you can ask about her professional experience as a postpartum doula:
2. WHAT TYPE OF TRAINING DO YOU HAVE?
3. WHAT KIND OF EXPERIENCE DO YOU HAVE?
In the United States, doula work does not require any sort of training or certification. Nor is there a national certifying body for all doulas. Private companies provide training and certifications, but they are not required for one to work as a postpartum doula. One can simply decide to be a postpartum doula.
Because of this it is up to you, the consumer, to decide if a prospective doulas education and/or experience are satisfactory for your needs. It may important to you that your postpartum doula be a mother herself or that she have some formal training even though she is not certified. It might be important for you to have a postpartum doula that has trained and become certified through a specific organization. Or perhaps you would like to hire a doula that also provides certain services like placenta encapsulation.
Its ok to ask the postpartum doula if she has experience with a particular situation, condition or service.
After learning about the postpartum doulas experience and educations, you can now learn more about her schedule and how your care will be provided by asking:
4. HOW MANY FAMILIES DO YOU WORK WITH AT ONE TIME?
5. IS YOUR SCHEDULE FLEXIBLE? DO YOU HAVE A BACK-UP, AND IF NOT, CAN YOU REFER ME TO ANOTHER DOULA, IF NEEDED?
6. WHAT HAPPENS IF THE MOTHER GIVES BIRTH EARLIER (OR LATER) THAN EXPECTED?
Each doula has her own way of scheduling clients. Some doulas schedule multiple families at one and work with a back up doula to ensure. Others may work with only on to two families at a time. Most doulas schedule family strategically based on the baby’s due date, so its important to know when you care will start if your baby comes earlier or later than anticipated. This is the time to learn about how your prospective doula does things.
Get a feel for the types of resources the prospective doula can connect you to by asking:
7. HOW DO YOU SUPPORT A PARENT AT RISK FOR A POSTPARTUM MOOD DISORDER?
Your prospective postpartum doula should have a list of a variety of community resources to connect you will after giving birth. One of the main goals of a postpartum doula is to help a new parent find and build their village. This network of support can include family, friends and professionals, like a postpartum doula.
This one is self-explanatory. You need to know if you can afford to hire this prospective doula:
8. WHAT IS THE FEE FOR YOUR SERVICES?
9. DO YOU OFFER A PAYMENT PLAN, SLIDING SCALE OR BARTER FOR SERVICES?
If your prospective postpartum doula’s fee is more than you anticipated or can afford, its worthwhile to ask about a payment plan, sliding scare or bartering. Many postpartum doulas are willing to work with you.
Lastly, see what other moms like you are saying about your prospective postpartum doula:
10. CAN YOU PROVIDE REFERENCES FROM OTHER FAMILIES YOU’VE WORKED FOR?
Ask for references, client reviews and/or testimonials so that you can read/ hear the real experiences of families who have worked with this postpartum doula. If you like the postpartum doula but find that a reference or review raises more questions or concerns, do not hesitated to reach out to the postpartum doula to address them.
The postpartum doula interview is a chance for you to get to know the postpartum doula before you invite her into your family’s home. Write down your questions in advance, to ensure that you get the best idea of how the postpartum doula will fit into your life.
What other questions should new moms asks a prospective postpartum doula?