I do this funny thing when I go to doula workshops or trainings. As I meet other birth workers, and we're talking, doing exersizes together, in teams, or just conversing in the class, I think to myself, "If I were pregnant... Who here would I want to be my doula?"
I know that's a little odd, but hear me out. Finding a doula who's right for you is a personal experience. I'm highly aware of the fact that when I'm on a consultation with an expectant mom, she's looking to see if she can trust me. Can she trust me to have her back, can she trust me to have the answer, can she trust me to stand witness to her in the most vulnerable part of her life? So I wonder, what is it that makes people say "YES" to their doula and how can you be sure you're choosing the right doula for YOU?
To figure this out I play that little game with myself with other birth workers I meet. And please hear me out, it's not me being judgmental or critical of their work. I can confidently say that every birth worker I know is amazing. They're all totally capable and competent. But it's more than that when making this decision. I think these things are important when choosing a doula:
- Is her personality a good fit for you and your partner? Don't forget partners here! It's likely your doula will be communicating a lot with your partner when you're in labor. She'll be directing them and supporting them too. Do you prefer someone easy-going or upbeat?
- Do you want a calming presence or a motivating force? I do notice a contrast between me and other doulas. Some doulas are like me, they're quiet, they're calm, soft spoken, very gentle. This is how I've been my entire life and I love using it in doula work. However, some birth workers are super energetic, upbeat, peppy, and outwardly encouraging-- and that could be exactly what certain moms need! What do you need?
- What else other than birth services does she offer? Many doulas do a variety of things other than labor support. I myself also incorporate being a Reiki Practitioner, an herbalist, and aromatherapist into my work. These things really come in handy for moms who want extra support. What extras would you like? Herbs? Photography?
- Does she voice her opinions about your birth choices? When you lay out your birthing plan or preferences to her-- hospital, unmedicated, planned cesarean etc-- does she give her opinions or does she accept, provide unbiased support, and provide resources when you ask? It's so important to hire a doula who is totally accepting and respectful of whatever you choose.
- What are her pain relief methods and are you ok with them? Some doulas will use a rebozo, some will only do labor massage. Some doulas, like myself, do a combination of those and add in hydrotherapy and aromatherapy. How do you want to be supported as you labor and who is a good fit for you there?
- Are you comfortable with her? This woman is going to see you in pain, laboring, and shuffling in a bath robe. Does she make you feel supported and confident?
So personally, for me, if I were to get pregnant again, I would want a doula with a strong, but understated personality. I'm an empath, and a highly sensitive person. I am constantly absorbing the energies around me. I do not want to be doing emotional checking in with my birth support team. I wanna know they got it. So for me, that wouldn't be a super peppy, upbeat, doula who commands a lot of attention. For me personally, I'd need someone with a little more subtle support style. I'd also love someone who does photography to capture some moments for us... I'd also love some postpartum support! So that's what I personally would be looking for. And that will look different for you, and that's ok!
These are all important things to consider when you're choosing a doula. Think of yourself in labor, not just right now, comfortable and fine. Imagine what you need when you are working through contractions and who will best support you in that place.
Happy doula interviewing! And if you're looking for an Asheville Doula and you'd like to set up a free consultation with me-- feel free to call or text 828.778.1889 or email firstname.lastname@example.org <3