Just before we left for San Diego, I got a new license plate. A random number-letter combo. I turned in my old license plate, which I’d had since I first registered my car in North Carolina, which said Doula Charlotte. (Not in so many letters — that wouldn’t fit on a license plate.)
I haven’t had a doula client in two years. At this point, I don’t plan to take any birth clients. I would/will be there for any of my friends or family, but I am not interested in continuing birth work.
First of all, I have five kids of my own. And I know I’ve been saying this for a while, but five has pushed me over the edge. Four was so much more manageable! Then there’s the availability/cost of childcare for five kids. Availability = anytime, day or night; therefore cost = a lot. It takes a lot to entice someone to answer the phone at 6:00AM and care for five children.
I’m new to this area, and I don’t know the hospitals or care providers. I know there’s a freestanding birth center, and I’ve met a few of the local CNMs. I know one doula/childbirth educator here, and she’s lovely, and I’m sure I could refer people to her and she could find good doulas for them.
That’s another thing: there are a lot of doulas here. There were — are — a lot of doulas in Charlotte. Probably more doulas than women who were interested in having a doula. Honestly, I don’t think I bring anything to the table that a woman couldn’t find with another doula. Which is not to say I’m not awesome. I am still awesome! But there are awesome doulas everywhere.
You may, however, have to look for them.
Try to avoid the doula who is a midwife wannabe. Doulas are not junior midwives, nor are they apprentices or midwives-in-training. Try to avoid the doula who demonizes doctors and hospitals. They’re not all evil. They are often necessary — and even if they’re not necessary necessary, if the client feels comfortable with a doctor and having a baby in a hospital, then they’re necessary necessary necessary. Avoid the doula who has an agenda or pushes ideas on you. Also, try to avoid the doula who doesn’t have any suggestions. Although you’re the one who actually has to labor and birth, she is there to help you. (As a doula, it’s a fine balance between offering helpful advice and stepping back when the client has no intention of taking the advice. For example, I had a client who wanted an unmedicated birth and yet chose a practice that had a very high c-s rate. I suggested several times that she switch practices but she was not interested. She did have a medication-free birth, but she also ended up with a lot of interventions, including an episiotomy.)
In my former life — this is actually a Juglet baby!