You’re pregnant; congratulations!! Whether planned or not, pregnancy can be an extremely overwhelming time. Below are some questions to ask a potential doula to take the stress out of the planning process. Less stress makes this journey so much more enjoyable!
*With what agency did you receive your training to become a doula?*
-There are many acceptable answers for this question: ProDoula, DONA International, CAPPA, Childbirth International, and the list goes on. The only thing I would want to know when selecting a doula, is that she (or he! There are man doulas on the rise!) is trained through a professional doula organization. I am sure that there are many wonderful doulas who are not professionally trained, but I would want to know that mine was.
*Do you only help women who want an unmedicated birth?*
-The answer here should most certainly be NO! (Even if you want an unmedicated delivery!) A doula’s role is to support the client with her birthing decisions. Doulas are trained in all types of birthing scenarios to be able to provide an individualized support to each family she assists. If a doula answers YES to this question, she is pushing her own birthing agenda, rather than listening to and understanding her clients’ wishes.
*Why did you become a doula?*
-I suggest this questions because you are not just looking for a support person, you are looking for YOUR support person. This answer is very telling of the doula, and can say a lot about her personality. Your doula is going to be with you through a very personal, intimate life experience; you want a personality match.
*What happens if you can’t make it to my birth?*
-Answers here differ, as there are a lot of variables. The key is that your potential doula thinks about different scenarios, and has a plan. Maybe she works in an agency. Maybe she works closely with a back-up doula. Maybe she offers some sort of refund if you progress too quickly and there just isn’t enough time to make it. Whatever her answer may be, it should leave you feeling comfortable.
*Do you offer any other services?*
-If you are looking for a postpartum doula, placenta encapsulator, lactation counselor, photographer, or any other type of professional service, it may be more convenient for you to hire one person. The doula may even offer packages or discounts on multiple services.
*What tools do you find most effective during labor and delivery?*
-Again, answers to this question may vary, but should leave you feeling confident in your support. The tools I myself find most effective are: my hands, my heart, my ears, my compassion, my knowledge, and getting to know the needs of the mother before we hit the delivery room. I have a “bag full of tricks” but for some births it doesn’t need to be opened, and for others, every object is tested.
The key to interviewing your potential doula is to learn about her experience, and see if her personality is a fit for you. The interview should feel more like a friendly conversation than a sterile interview.
There are also a few questions that many potential clients ask…that the doula may not have an answer to:
-How many births have you attended?
I could answer this question…if I looked back in my files and counted, but off the top of my head, I have no idea. I stopped tallying after around 10 or 15 births when I became busier and had more clients at one time.
-What was your favorite birth?
I have many favorites, for many different reasons, but I could not answer this question. There are so many memorable birth moments, and I could pick out those moments from each birth I have attended.
-What was the scariest thing you’ve seen in labor and delivery?
This one I just plain don’t want to answer. The last thing a pregnant woman needs to hear are horror stories. When this question comes up I usually answer with something like: “I have been through many different birthing scenarios, but I like to focus on the positives of birth”. When scary things happen in the delivery room, it effects me deeply, and hurts to think about.
What other questions were you happy you asked your doula during your initial interview?