Once you've found a doula whose availability, area, and available information looks like it might fit, Your next step is making contact. What follows are some rough guidelines for how to do that in a way that will help you gauge early on if you’re a good fit for one another.
Most of the time, your initial contact with a doula will be through a contact form, by e-mail or phone. In either case, you want to cover your basics—usually focusing on availability and setting up a consultation. Your first contact isn’t about whether or not you want to hire them. It’s about whether you want to set up an interview to get to know each other further.
E-mail gives you a little bit more room to explain what you’re looking for than a contact form, but your first e-mail should usually still be fairly concise. I personally find it difficult to have in-depth conversations by phone in a world where mobile reception on both ends is often a very real barrier to communication, so I often ask that people who’ve contacted me by phone first follow up with me by e-mail.
Things to Include in Your First Contact by Phone, Contact Form, or E-Mail:
Leave These Topics for Your Consultation
Although most doulas will happily answer the following questions, they’re usually best left for a time when you have an opportunity to discuss them at length, with time for follow-up questions as they arise naturally. They’re important questions you’ll probably want answered before you hire her, but they’re not usually the best for your very first inquiry. You'll also be better able to evaluate what the answers mean to you after you've spent some time together.
As a doula, I have had the privilege of witnessing so many beautiful moments during labor. From loving embraces to funny (but appropriate) jokes to lighten the mood, a woman’s birth partner can most certainly be her rock during labor. But I have also observed those moments where someone says the wrong thing or eats the wrong food that people in the Twitterverse like to call #epicfails.
It really doesn’t take much to anger or upset a laboring mama, so here are some tips to help you stay on her good side:
Above all, women in labor need love and support. When all is said and done, even if you make one thousand “mistakes,” she will remember that you supported her, and that is all that matters.
Birth support? Isn’t that what my care provider is for? Well yes, however in some instances they are there to make sure nothing bad happens and recognize when a labor is not going right. Additional birth support can be helpful; they can remind you of things you wanted and make sure that you understand what is going in. What is the name of this support person? A Doula.
Go ahead to: Step #10: Making Your Birthing Space
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