So you think you're ready to add a doula to your birth team.
I'm sure you've read a million articles about what we do and how we can support your birth. But when it comes to choosing YOUR doula, it's important to make sure you vibe with that person. After all, the doula you choose will be a part of your birth story forever! You want to make sure that including your doula in the story is something you're excited about and comfortable doing.
So here are some questions you should ask all your possible doulas!
What types of births do you attend? There are so many different styles of birth so it's a good idea to make sure the doula you hire is comfortable with and supports the type of birth you're planning on. There's a big difference between being tolerant of a birth style and being supportive. Be up front about the style you're hoping for and make sure your doula will support you in that choice.
Why did you become a doula? The answer to this question will tell you a lot about the person you're interviewing. We all have deeply personal reasons for doing this work and, generally speaking, are very open books about it. This conversation is a really good way to get a feeling about your doula's vibe and if it works for you.
How will you work with and support my partner? A lot of partners have a (reasonable) fear of being pushed aside by the doula. Honestly, it's probably happened a LOT. And that's not okay. You've chosen your partner (in birth, in life, in crime...j/k. Not the crime part) because you have a bond with them that cannot be replaced or replicated. A doula's job is to support both of you during labor, not kick your partner aside because, "we know what we're doing." Your partner and doula should work together to help you through the labor process.
How will you work with the nursing staff and/or my provider? Specifically in hospital settings, your doula needs to have a respectful working relationship with the L&D staff. When we - the doulas - walk into a labor & delivery unit of a hospital, we're walking into the nursing staff's turf. They're allowing us doulas to work with them; they have worked and studied long and hard to get to where they are and they deserve all the respect in the world. When it comes to your provider - whether an OB or a midwife - your doula should always defer to them when it comes to anything medical. We're not trained medical professionals; they are. Doulas also can't (and shouldn't) make medical recommendations to you. We're there to help talk you through your options and ask the right questions of your providers to get the answers you need. Respect just really goes a long way in the birth space.
So there you have it. As a doula, those are the questions I'd ask a doula.
Micah is a birth doula.& photographer and a prenatal yoga instructor based in Fort Worth, TX.