This week is World Doula Week and coincidentally we’ve just hired our doula for Little #2′s birth. I wanted to share a little about the process that can be involved with hiring a doula as well as provide some information about World Doula Week and doula’s in general. Plus I’m feeling really “birthy” so you are along for the ride. World Doula Week takes place annually, March 22nd through the 28th. I first thought that was a mistake because it was a Thursday for me but they chose that start date because of the spring equinox which is also World Doula Day.
We met with our doula on Sunday. She came to the apartment so that we could speak freely about birth and also so she could get a feel for who we were in our environment. I had already pre-apologized over the phone when we set up the meeting for the state of the apartment. Between boxes, toys and toddler eating habits – we are usually less then enthusiastic for people to come into our home. She told me not to worry – she has four of her own kids and understood that I was pregnant (that’s right – that is the reason I have such poor cleaning skills – pregnancy).
When she arrived I had to go downstairs to let her in – as we still have yet to figure out how to use the intercom and buzzer at the apartment. When she called – hubby was out walking the dogs and Little Man had not shoes on so into the ring sling he went and downstairs we travelled. I really must be something to look at carrying a two year old in a ring sling while 8 months pregnant. My neighbors are always casting sideways glances at us and if they say anything it is usually along the lines of “Wow – you really have your hands full!” Typically there are either packages, dogs or something else in my arms while he is enjoying the ride. Our doula did not bat an eye at the sight of me – we rode up the elevator and chatted idly about the buzzer and my lack of understanding of how it works.
As we entered the apartment she was bombarded by our two pugs. They tangled themselves in the ruffles of her broom skirt and gave her a thorough sniff-test. I asked if she would be more comfortable if I put them away (they usually are not out when we have guests either) and she said no they were fine. We sat in the living room surrounded by clutter, dogs, television, toddler and heat. I really was not sure where to begin in interviewing a doula. I had printed two worksheets to try to prepare myself with the “right” questions. One from Baby Center and the other from Planning Family.com but truthfully I felt awkward spitting questions at her so I asked her to just begin talking about herself and if I thought there was anything she missed I would ask it at the end.
She told us about her own birth experiences and why she chose to become a doula. She told us about her certification process and her experience with the women she worked with. She explained her philosophy and role during birth. She asked about our expectations, reasons for wanting a doula and what we thought she could most help us with during the labor. Basically we had an honest conversation in our living room with a woman who was warm, open and honest.
At the end she asked if we had any questions. Then she gave us the materials she had brought with her in a folder. She took them out and briefly explained what they were. The part that stood out in my mind was how she described her “mother questionnaire”. She prefaced her explanation with “I’m not a medical professional – so I don’t like to sit and ask these questions and write down your responses. Feel free to answer it on your own time and fill in only what you think is necessary for me to know.” It was right there that she reminded me hiring a doula isn’t just a business transaction but really it is about creating a friendship and trust circle. The doula you choose will be a part of one of the most intimate times in your life and you should have someone you like and feel comfortable with. In my head – I hired her right there but I waited to discuss it with hubby first. I didn’t want to appear overly eager to begin this new relationship – a little mystery is always nice. So I waited a day and then called her to ask when we could hang out again.
- Peaceful Parenting – “What Doulas Do” Info on what a doula is and most importantly what a doula isn’t. I sent this article to my hubby and it was what helped him decide that we should hire a doula.
- The Mahogany Way Birth Cafe – “doula category” Category link to articles about doulas and World Doula Week. On the side bar there are links to other doula sites.
- Almost All the Truth – “Why Doula?” Guest post from Amy of Anktangle where she gives her take on frequently asked questions about doulas.
- I Thought I Knew Mama – “The Benefit of a Private Natural Childbirth Class” Charise talks about the benefits and individual attention she and her husband received during a private birthing class.