If you are considering hiring a birth or postpartum doula, we are glad you are thinking ahead-your future self will thank you for it.
Regardless of whether you know for sure you want to hire a doula or you are just wanting to get more information, the first step is to set up an interview.
The interview is a chance to have a conversation, get to know them, find connections and see if they would be a good fit for you and your family.
Think of the interview as a conversation as less of an interview-ask conversation starter questions.
Some of the most common questions people ask are things you can find on their website like where did you get certified?, how long have you been a doula?, how much do your services cost?
Instead use your time wisely and find a lot of those answers ahead of time. Also ask your care providers and friends if they have heard of the doula and if they recommend them. Do your homework.
In the interview, ask conversation starting questions like these:
Ask open ended questions about why they became a doula and their journey. This is where their passion and excitement can come through and can give you a glimpse of their personality and demeanor.
Ask about their philosophy around working with clients, including how they support partners if you have one.
What are their back up arrangements if they are sick or unavailable? Have they used a backup often, under what circumstances has this happened?
Ask about their own birth and postpartum experience or their philosophy about birth and postpartum. Some doulas might have biases from their own experiences and lean towards supporting families with specific agendas such as only birthing in hospitals, or only unmedicated home births or birth centers and they might not be open or experienced in supporting families with unexpected outcomes or supporting your wishes that might be different from their own experiences. A doula should be able to meet you where you are and support you in however your story unfolds without judgement or opinions.
Ask a question about what they wish families knew before birth and postpartum. This question can help you find out more about biases and their philosophies as well as potentially learning something!
Find out if they have worked with your provider and pediatrician before, do they like working with them? Do they have any concerns or past history you should know about? Its important to know what type of relationships your doula has with the birthing and parenting community. This can tell you a lot about their philosophies and connections within the community.
Ask if they offer any other services or have specialties? Many doulas offer other services such as massage, photography, acupuncture, placenta encapsulation, educational classes, and lactation support. It can be nice to find those services with someone you will get to know and trust.
You can ask personal questions too-what are their hobbies, do they have kids, how long have they lived in your town?
Be willing to share about yourself too, it can be helpful to find out if you feel comfortable sharing your emotions and feelings, and if you don't feel comfortable, this might be telling about how you would feel having this doula support you.
Listen to your intuition. Do you feel comfortable with this person? Do you feel like they are listening and hearing you? Check in with your partner too, what is their intuition telling them?