This is one of the most frequent questions we get asked during doula interviews. If you google it you'll find a lot of questions to ask your potential doula - sometimes too many. Getting information is important but we suggest that getting a feel for the person you're interviewing is also important. Someone may look fantastic on paper and be a nice person but it doesn't necessarily mean that they're the best fit for you.
During your perinatal journey you have a limited choice (if any) of health care providers. Maybe you like them, maybe you don't. Maybe you chose them for their particular skill set or location. In choosing a doula you can go with your gut feeling. Here are our tips on what to ask and do during a doula interview:
1) Think about what's important to you before the interview or even before contacting a doula.
A while back we wrote two blog posts about what to consider when thinking about hiring a doula. Do you want a certified doula trained with a specific organisation for insurance purposes? If you answered yes to this question than this is something you can easily find out before meeting the person - saving yourself a whole lot of time and emotional and mental energy.
While we are on the topic of saving time and energy we highly recommend figuring out the doula is available and around for your estimate due date (if you're hiring a birth doula) before meeting them. Why meet with someone who may be unavailable or potentially away?
2) Pick a place where you feel comfortable.
We can't stress this enough - you should feel comfortable chatting about yourself and your perinatal journey. No super public noisy rushed cafes!
3) Ask about relevant experience and perinatal philosophy.
A new doula might be as good as an experienced doula - there is no way to really know unless you hire them. That doesn't mean you can't ask a doula about their experience and take them into consideration. Some great questions are:
- How many births have you attended?
- How long have you been a doula?
- Have you worked at X hospital/birth centre?
- Why and how did you become a doula?
- How do you see your role in this experience? How would you describe your support?
- What is your birth philosophy?
- Do you have additional training?
4) Ask about logistics.
- How would you work with my partner(s)?
- How many births do you take a month?
- Do you work with a back-up? Could I/we meet them?
- What's covered in your pricing? Does your pricing change if you are at my labour for a prolonged period of time?
- When do I call you if I'm in labour? What if I just have a questions?
- When do you join me in labour? How long do you stay postpartum?
5) Get to know the person.
We think finding a doula so much more than asking doula related questions. Make small talk! Get a feel for their personality! Notice if they're receptive to that - mindfully listening and asking engaging questions in return. Have a meaningful conversation - this person may part of an important time in your life.
6) Check in with yourself.
This is the most important piece. Did you feel comfortable with the doula? Did they seem interested in you and what you want beyond answering questions? Does it "feel right"?
We know "feel right" is a hard feeling to quantify, sometimes though some people just click. If it doesn't happen, that's OK. It may build over time.
7) Don't interview too many or too few doulas.
Take it one at a time and sit with it a little while - unless you really clicked or you really didn't. Some people find their doula after the first interview, some find them after 2-3. We wouldn't recommend interviewing more than though as people will blend into each other. We suggest figuring out what's important to you and filtering doulas before contacting them.
These are all our tips! Hope they help!
The Spectrum Team