8 Questions to Ask During a Doula Interview
8 Questions to Ask During a Doula Interview
Ever see something on the internet that makes you cringe...
Do you ever see anything on the internet that makes you cringe so hard that you want to scream? I can name a couple: the incessant bickering on FB, the mom's groups that everyone thinks they are a medical doctor or a licensed psychologist, and don't forget about the person who post what they are doing when they are doing it every single day (I also worry about their safety!). Whew, it's exhausting.
Over my time as a doula, there is one thing that still makes me cringe just as hard now as it did the very first time I experienced it. There is nothing worse than an expectant parent who shows up to an interview with printed questions from the internet. The worst questions are the ones that highlight the fact that this person truly has no idea what a doula can truly do to transform their birth experience. The questions of "How long have you been a doula?" or "How many births have you attended?" As if the number of births or the number of days you've been a doula has a profound impact on the care you can give to them. Instead they should be concerned with how much knowledge you have, how much support you can provide, the experience you've had with birth, and how well trained are you.
When you think about your perfect birth team, who do you think of? If you know you want a supported birth with people who encourage you and believe in your body and you haven’t considered hiring a doula, maybe you should. If you have already decided you want a doula, but don’t know what to ask in the interview process, I’m here to help! When you think about support do you probably think of someone you can trust, someone who is honest, someone who is knowledgeable and able to help you advocate for what you believe in. These questions can help you learn these things about your doula.
8 no-non-sense questions
Here's what to ask when you are interviewing doulas to find the best support for you. Welcoming a child into this world is a magnificent feat. It will be a life changing experience. Make sure you do your due diligence when looking into who you want included on your birth team.
- Are you registered as a business? In order to increase your chances of being reimbursed by your insurance for your doula costs, you can make sure you hire a professional doula who is running a business rather than attending births as a hobby. If your doula is accepting money to attend births, they should be honest about it. If your doula has not registered their business, you could be getting into a sticky situation.
- Do you carry insurance? Would you receive care from an OBGYN, midwife, acupuncturist, or massage therapist who didn't carry professional insurance? Let's hope not. Your doula is no different. Anyone who serves the public and cares for people in intimate settings should always carry insurance.
- Do you have a contract? To keep yourself safe, don't even go here. Contract or no deal.
- What would you do if [insert a scenario you'd like to know what she'd do]? This is a great way to judge how that doula will speak to you during your relationship. If they begin to discredit your feelings during your interview with them, imagine how they might react in a situation of intense emotions like birth. However, if you see a logical and sensitive response, this gives you a good sense of their compassion for working with people and having your best interest at heart.
- If you had to choose three words to describe your practice what would they be? You are going to hear a lot of information and these three words will help you understand what is important to each doula when they are forced to identify with only three adjectives.
- What organization are you trained through? Do your own research on the organizations that train doulas. Some organizations are better than others. "Certification" is a buzz word surrounding doulas. Certification is managed by each organization so there is no standard. Some certifications are easily attained after training and some require intense qualifications. Rather than asking if your doula is certified, ask who she was trained by and what her experience has been. A "certified doula" doesn't certify her to be a good, or even knowledgeable, doula.
- What is your philosophy of birth? Knowing how your doula views birth will tell you a lot of how compatible you two are going to be. If you're interviewing a doula who is off to one side of the spectrum, it may be best to continue to interview other doulas and try to find someone who is more in alignment with what you envisioned for your birth or what you had expected.
- What do the services/packages include? You will want to know things like when your doula will start to support you, when your doula will stop supporting you, What kind of support do they provide, what if your doula is unable to attend your birth, and what is included for the price you are paying. Make sure you ask specific questions about or mention things that are important to you.
When picking a doula, make sure you think about having this person in one of the most intimate moments of your life. I am always careful to be intentional with the conversation that we have during prenatals so I can help encourage you to advocate for yourself. My goal is to support you regardless of what or how I feel. If feels great to know that when I asked past clients to describe me they said words like compassionate, gentle, kind, unbiased, non-judgmental, light-hearted, warm, and educated.
Personality + Price
After you narrow down your list to personalities that are compatible with yours, begin to look at their prices and what you get for that price. Do you get multiple doulas? Do you get exclusive deals with partners of your doula? Check out our partnerships here. Do you get “extras” included in that price? Does that support extend beyond one-on-one and give you a community to connect with? For example, all TBHbirthing client gains exclusive access to a private Facebook group that is filled with all of our clients gathered in a single safe space to support one another.
If you find that you have narrowed it down to two choices and you are having a really hard time deciding between the two, take a minute. Take a minute to step away from this decision (and by minute I mean a day or so). When you're ready, close your eyes and imagine your ideal birth. When you envision what that looks like, who, out of the two final doulas, do you see supporting you in your ideal birth?
Whoever that is, you should snag them up before their calendar fills up!
Tranquility by HeHe, A Concierge Birthing and Doula Service in Boston, Massachusetts