doula interview

The Ideal Doula Client

As more doulas start practicing in the Lexington, KY, area, it makes my doula heart warm to know that there are going to be more ideal doula + client pairings. In a previous blog post, I talked about finding the right doula, so in this post I want to share what my ideal client looks like. First, here are some of the things that I do not take into consideration when deciding if I want to work with someone. It is incredibly important to me to serve all people, regardless of their race, color, national or ethnic origin, age, religion, disability, sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity and expression. You’re a pregnant human being who wants to explore birth doula services? Let’s talk.

Some people assume that I prefer to work with home birth clients using a midwife. Not true. As long as you’re comfortable in the environment, I am equally content to work at a home or hospital birth, with a midwife, OB, or family practice doctor. Another common misconception is that I’m only helpful as a birth doula if someone wants a “natural” or unmedicated birth. If your preference is to get an epidural (stat!) or you know that you’re going to have a Cesarean birth, I’m as helpful and supportive as I would be to someone wanting to labor and birth without pain medication.

I have had successful doula + client relationships with such a variety of people that I’ve learned to be really open to the type of person or couple that I will work with. One factor that does seem to help my relationship with a client is their relationship with the care provider. A client having trust in their provider typically results in a better birth experience for everyone involved. And as in most relationships, personality compatibility is important, too. I want to know that we’re going to feel comfortable sharing your intimate space and time together.

Are you my ideal client? Am I the right Lexington, KY, doula for you? Read my client testimonials and contact me to set up an in-person conversation so we can find out!

Why wouldn't you hire a doula?

What is holding you back from hiring a doula? I’d claim bias in saying that everyone in Central Kentucky should hire a birth doula, but given the improved outcomes for mom and baby from having continuous labor support, I feel confident in saying that choosing to hire a doula is an evidence based way to better your chances for a positive birth experience. So in all seriousness, I’m asking, why wouldn’t you hire a doula?

One reason I sometimes hear is that a doula is not in the budget. I’d like to tackle that in a few ways. The first would be to suggest that you make changes to your new baby budget to allow it. Is there something on your registry that you might be able to find used from an online mom’s group? I see popular, pricey baby gadgets like DockATots and mamaRoos posted in the Lexington, KY, Buy, Sell, Trade groups pretty often. Sometimes they’re barely used or brand new because not all newborns are hip to the fact that these sleep aids work for other babies. Or perhaps you can add birth doula services to your registry, or ask a few close friends to gift you a birth doula as their shower gift. I know that a lot of wedding registries now include money for experiences/honeymoons instead of the traditional kitchenware, so it’d be a concept familiar to a lot of people.

A second idea would be to contact me to see if we could come up with a payment plan or some other arrangement that would allow a birth doula to work for your family’s budget. There are also circumstances in which I am willing to work at a lower rate for families that cannot afford my services. And if I’m not able to meet your needs, I will gladly refer you to new or training doulas who may be able to offer lower rates than mine.

The third angle I’d like to tackle the money concern from is one of explaining the value of a doula. I think that some people don’t want to pay $300-1000 for a doula because they don’t know the value of birth doula services. If you haven’t already, you should check out the Evidence Based Birth article on doula support. Here’s part of their summary: “Evidence shows that continuous support can significantly decrease the risk of Cesareans, NICU admissions, Pitocin, and medications for pain relief. Labor support also increases satisfaction and the chance of a spontaneous vaginal birth. Although continuous support can also be offered by birth partners, midwives, nurses, or even some physicians, research has shown that with some outcomes, doulas have a stronger effect than other types of support persons. As such, doulas should be viewed by both parents and providers as a valuable, evidence-based member of the birth care team.”

What else might be holding you back from hiring a doula? I offer free in-person consultations if you’re interested in learning more about my services. During this time, I’d be eager to hear what other questions or concerns you (and/or your partner) have about hiring a birth doula. I want families in Lexington, KY, and the surrounding Central Kentucky region to hire doulas! Come at me with your “if, ands, and buts” and let me show you why you should choose About Birth for your Kentucky hospital or home birth.

Not everyone's doula

On my website, I state that everyone who wants a doula should have one. As much as I’d love to be that doula for everyone, the truth is, I’m not everyone’s doula. In an earlier blog post, I talked about the importance of making a personal connection with the doula you hire. You are inviting this person to support and be present with you through one of life’s most intimate and sometimes vulnerable events. It is so important that you feel comfortable with the doula’s personality and manner.  

One of the best ways to make sure your doula is a good fit is to meet in person. At About Birth, the in-person consultations are free. My goal in these meetings is to get a feel for how we’d interact and work together. They are brief, typically 30 minutes, and casual. At my last two “interviews”, I was hired on the spot, so sometimes we’ll just know if it’s right. And if I’m not the right person for you, or you want to check out other doulas before making a decision, I understand and encourage it! There are several other doulas in the Lexington, KY, area who practice similarly to me, but have very different personalities that might be more in line with yours.

So, while it’s great to get hired, it’s way more important to me that you’re finding the right person to support you during pregnancy and birth. Who you choose to be on your birth team is crucial to having a positive birth experience. And everyone, I mean EVERYONE, deserves a positive birth experience. 

Choosing the right doula

Inviting someone into your birth experience is not to be taken lightly. It's one of the most intimate life events. So how do you go about choosing the right doula? It may sound strange for me to recommend other doulas, but I suggest that you hold in-person interviews with at least two, preferably three, doulas. The purpose of an interview is more about feeling out the connection between you and the doula than it is about discussing details of their services. For example, I lean towards being introverted and quiet in new relationships. I believe that this helps me be an excellent listener and a good birth partner. I'm by no means uptight and I love to laugh, but I can't recall being described as the life of the party (maybe because I'm too busy with the chips and dip, or wine and cheese).

The price of doula services are another factor to consider. Some doulas in and around Lexington, KY, will post their fees on their website. You can also check DoulaMatch.net. Depending on your circumstances, About Birth and other doulas in the Central Kentucky region may work with you on setting their fees. Personally, I believe that having a doula is not a luxury. The services that I provide hold great value and I didn't set my price without consideration of the market value of birth doula services in our area. However, I will do my best to come up with alternative arrangements to be your doula if we're the right fit.

If you're in the middle of your search, I wish you the best of luck in the finding the right birth doula. Please contact me to schedule a free consultation if you'd like to learn more about working with me.