There are a few things that it seems nearly everyone needs to know and I want you to get the information that you need as quickly as possible.
What made you become a doula?
As a mother of five, I've experienced an array of birth environments, options, and treatment modalities. These things can have an immense impact on the way we feel empowered as mothers, the way we bond with our children, our birth outcomes, and our recovery time. I've also experienced miscarriages and trauma, both of which can inhibit our ability to be completely emotionally and physically present, as is so vitally necessary to the birth experience. I don't want anyone to have to work through any of this alone.
Whether it's your first pregnancy or your last, whether you've had "easy" births or traumatic ones, whether you're feeling naive or terrified or hopeful or elated, I want you to feel like you have someone who's in your corner, someone who gets it, and someone who can help. As a new empty-nester, I can dedicate more time and energy to my doula clients than ever before and it's such a blessing to be able to build a connection with you. Learn more about me here.
What is unique about your approach as a doula?
Empathy is a powerful asset so I certainly draw upon my personal experience with my own diverse births in addition to my professional experience of many years. However, what I find distinguishes me the most is the way in which I connect with my clients. While clearly this is a business for me, my relationship with my clients is something I treasure above all else. Birth is a uniquely intimate experience and I count it a privilege to be invited to such a sacred event. My goal is to make a connection with you throughout our time together so that you can trust me during your birth because you feel safe, heard, and supported.
What do your packages include? What are your fees?
This varies depending on how far along you are in your pregnancy as well as which package you choose. Feel free to take a look at the package and pricing details here. We can always talk about which package may be best for you at your complimentary consultation.
What happens if you can't make the birth for some reason?
I manage my client load and calendar carefully in order to prevent my missing a birth; it's an extremely rare occurence. Should it become necessary, I have a carefully vetted back-up team that I can call upon. My choice of a back-up doula is based on compatability and availability.
How do I know if I even need a doula?
While this is a personal decision, if you are asking the question, my guess is that a doula would be a great idea. Doulas offer an incredible emotional support and can be wells of information, even for the most experienced mothers. Finding someone who can provide the kind of support you need can seem daunting; how do you know what you'll need in that exact moment, especially if this is your first time? Look for a doula who makes you feel heard and with whom you have a connection; that bond is essential during labor and birth. Want to know more about what a doula does? Click here.
When should I hire a doula?
There's no wrong time! As soon as you decide you want a doula, pick up the phone or shoot me a message so that we can get together. A lot of questions can come up early in your pregnancy and a doula is great to get on your team ASAP to help support you. You can start talking to doulas when you find out you're pregnant or if you decide last minute that you need a doula, you can also do a late-term hire. Most commonly, my clients call me late in their first trimester and early in their second trimester.
Can't my nurse or partner be my birth coach?
Nurses are absolutely invaluable and I am always so grateful for those who provide emotional support on top of the rest of their job. But that's the thing -- their responsibilities are incredibly diverse so it's unlikely that they will be able to be the kind of emotional support that you need while also handling paperwork and other patients. Additionally, a nurse won't provide the ongoing support throughout your pregnancy. Even your care provider has a great many responsibilities to attend to and is typically most focused on your physical well-being. The most wonderful feature of a doula is that our sole responsibility is to be there for you. With me, you also get easy access to my support via phone and email so that you have someone to call for immediate questions. Even if (God forbid) your child must be attended to separately, your partner can go with your child and I can stay with you. And yes, absolutely your partner can be your birth coach! But take a look at the next question for why working together is usually ideal.
How can you and my partner work together?
My role is to support the laboring mother in whatever way is best for her. Some partners like to be more or less involved in the birthing process. I've known some to be enthusiastic, ready to jump in and do whatever they can. Some are so uncomfortable even seeing the mother of their child in pain that they have a hard time knowing what to do, even with how much they care. Every mother, every partner, every couple, and every birth are different. No matter the situation, I am here to provide relief, education, and support to both of you. I can show your partner what to do to help ease pain and to help you focus. We can support you simultaneously and take shifts. An enthusiastic and participating partner is an incredible asset to the doula but they certainly aren't mutually exclusive. I find that I'm often able to bring my knowledge and experience to support both you and your loving partner. We are all a team in support of your birth experience.
Where do we meet for the interview? How does this process work?
My office is my car as I'm always on the move for clients; I like to meet somewhere quiet between my place and yours where your questions can get answered and we can get to know one another. In a perfect world, it would be you, your partner, and I getting together to chat so that you two feel like you're on the same page. If you have other kids and can make arrangements for sitting, I find that fewer distractions makes it easier for my clients to feel comfortable asking questions, reviewing the contract, and generally getting to know one another. However, as a mom I also know how busy life can be so if we need to make something else work, let's do it! I have a page called The Doula Process to give you an overview of how the doula-mama relationship typically looks.