Hopefully if you've ended up here, you already have some idea of what a doula does.
If you don't, please check out our post about it!
You know you want a doula, but that's only the tip of the iceberg. How do you choose the right doula for you?! What kind of questions do you ask your doula before you make a decision?
Being that I have been on the interviewed end of many client/doula meetings I can say that most people don't come prepared with questions, and thats TOTALLY ok.
I truly believe the most important thing in your doula is likability and flow of conversation.
You could be spending 24 hours plus with this person, in the MOST intimate moments of your life. You need to genuinely be ok with hanging out with them for hours on end. You need a feeing of trust (of their knowledge, education, and even personality), and your partner should also feel the same way.
I call it 'a good fit'. You either have it, or you don't. If you leave a doula meet and greet with any negative thoughts at all about the person, don't feel any obligation to them! You are trusting this person to guide you, to support you, and to educate you on the birth of your baby. It is so important you leave with a GREAT warm fuzzy feeling when you leave. Like almost an excitement to see them again.
When I leave my meetings feeling this way I am buzzing on life! Feeling that conversation flow, and starting to build that relationship is one of my favourite parts of the job.
Now that the most important thing is out of the way. Here are some other questions you may want the answer to:
1: Where did you do your training? (you decide how important this is to you, trainings can be very different, online, a weekend, over many months... sometimes its just nice to know)
2: How many births have you attended? (again, this number doesn't have to matter to you. Everyone has to do a first, second, third birth... you may choose to give someone who you have a great feeling about the opportunity to be one of their first births. OR you may prefer someone with a little more experience.
3: Why did you become a doula? (This can just be an interesting question to have answered. Though there are some doulas out there that could be using providing birth support as a method of healing their own birth trauma, you shouldn't get that feeling from their description, if so, that may be a red flag)
4: Do you have back up support? How often have you used it? (If someone has used their back up more than a handful of times, that may be a red flag for you if you are very attached to the idea of having that continuous support model in place)
5: Do you have a time cap for long births? (Some doulas have a 12 hour, or 18 hour clause in their contract where you will be required to pay hourly after that time has passed. This is to protect the doulas wellbeing, and provide you with support that isn't tired, with poor energy. Just be aware of the fine print and make sure you feel comfortable with managing early labour on its own, and perhaps having to pay a bit extra if the support is needed longer)
6: What does your pricing include? (How many visits? Certain number of emails? A Prenatal class? The options can vary so much! Do your homework and compare what people in your city are offering)
7: What is the stand out part about YOU as a doula? (Also a great general interest question to get to know your future doula better, make them sell you on them!!)
8: What are your hobbies, what do you do for fun? (More getting to know you fun!)
9: What do you do to stay current in the birth and parenting world? (If they have been a doula for a long time, how do they find continuing education, how often do they refresh and update their knowledge)
10: Do you have children? This may not be important to everyone, but when you are in transition and someone is looking at you, saying 'I hear you, I get it, its SO intense' it may be important to you that they have experienced childbirth. But, maybe not! Just something to consider!
On top of you asking them questions, a good doula is actually interviewing you as well. If they feel you may not be the right couple for them its possible they will refer you to someone else in their practice or that they know will be a better fit.
A doula may ask you questions like:
1: Why do you want to hire a doula?
2: How do you think a doula will be helpful to you and your partner?
3: What are your birth ideals?
4: What are you doing to prepare for your birth?
These meet and greets can be 30 minutes long, but if conversation takes off, i've been with people for 2 hours. Such a great feeling. Hiring a doula is such a priceless investment for your birth. Taking the interview process seriously is integral to the overall experience.