PART TWO: Finding your doula
In pregnancy and postpartum, women are most receptive to non-verbal information. This primes a mother’s brain for connection. Feeling comfortable with your doula is the most important qualification. She may see you crying, assist with breastfeeding, take out your trash, rub your feet, etc. This transitional time is a rollercoaster of emotions and identity while also a time of healing, learning and care-taking. Additional discomfort and anxiety inhibit the feel-good hormones that promote milk production, bonding and settling into a slower pace. Another qualification is your partner's comfort with this person. They will be working as a team to care for you. Extra certifications and skills are icing on the cake. If there is a top priority (newborn photography, transition back to work, etc.), mention that in your interview. She will have a network of complementary providers if she cannot offer that service.
Ask your community. Gather stories from your network. Seek out doula recommendations from friends, neighbors, your provider and practitioners like yoga instructors, birth doulas, massage therapists, etc.
Some interview tips:
Meet the doula in person with your partner.
Try to set up your interviews around week 30. This allows for a prenatal visit and figuring out scheduling before the baby is born. Also, many doulas tend to fill up a few months in advance.
Share your vision and fears. Does she really listen to you? How does she make you feel? Confident? Relaxed? Happy? Anxious? What kind of energy would she bring into your home? Even if you can’t name it, trust it. Reflect on this with your partner and take the time to discuss your postpartum vision.
Logistics to discuss:
How her time works - what is her visit schedule? Does she offer packages with a set number of hours or include other services?
Her resource list - does she have the names of good lactation and mental health professionals?
Her availability for texting and phone calls while you work together.
Pricing. Your postpartum wellness is a worthwhile investment. If it is a financial stretch for you, is she flexible with her pricing or can she offer a payment plan?