I thought it would be a great idea if we could have a list of questions and answers for those thinking of becoming a doula, or just starting out.
We could all list our own questions we have for others to answer.
Someone else may have thought of the same question as you.

I would really love to become a doula, but I have some concerns and I have to admit they are selfish.
I guess I wonder about clients who have those 24 hour births and what I would do with my girls.
I don't know if I'm ready to be away from them for that long.
Do some clients let you bring your children for a short amount of time?

How long did it take you to become certified? And through who?

That's all I can think of for now.

Views: 13

Replies to This Discussion

If you work with a partner, you can relieve each other if it goes beyond a certain number of hours. I have not done this, but it sounds like a good idea. I have been at births that have gone 24 hours and I think it would have been great for the client to get a fresh doula who could think more clearly while I got a few hours of sleep. The 24 hour births do happen and you really don't want to leave when a mom is counting on you. You could work with a partner for a few years and then when your girls are little older, you might not mind being away longer. You really bond with the moms in the long births, so that part is nice.

Amy
Mom to 3
www.sofiabean.com
What a great idea!

I personally would never bring my children to a birth - or even suggest it to a client. Labor support is usually a very all-consuming job - no time to talk to kids or even think about what they are doing.

It is very important to have a great childcare support system in place if you want to have an active doula practice. (I'm still working out the kinks in mine!!) :) Those looooong births DO happen.

I have chosen not to become certified - mostly so that I am able to be involved in homeopathy. I am fully trained though - through the Seattle School of Midwifery. (Penny Simkin stomping grounds!)

HTH! :)
Erin, doula mama
Can you balance doula work and a part time job? Is it possible to support yourself financially being a doula?
I have attended those long births and I have found one of the things that works is to really know when the mother is at in her labour. A lot of moms - myself included - get very excited when labour begins and tend to think that they have progressed farther than they have. At my last birth the mother started labouring early in the morning. When she called me, contractions were regular and strong, so I went over for a visit. It turned out that they slowed down so I went home and spent the night with my family. Her contractions continued through the night and I made my way over when she called me the next day. We then went to the hospital and she had the baby early the next morning.
I was lucky because she had other family members there to support her and I did not arrive until she was really in active labour. I found that that extra night's sleep really helped me to help her when the other family members needed to rest. I think it's important for us not to arrive to early and suffer from the burnout and to leave our families for longer than necessary. It's been hard and I have shown up WAY too early at some other births and been there for longer than was needed. By waiting until the woman is in active labour we save our energy and time away from our loved ones.
That said, sometimes we are the only labour support and sometimes women need us before active labour begins. In that case, I think it's okay to meet her before it's really going, and then go home again and come back later. My mom was totally fine with that and it ended up working out well for all involved - she had my reassurance that all was well, and the knowledge that I would be there for her when I was needed, and my family didn't lose me for and extra day and night.

Jamie
I have been to a birth where someone brought a child and it did not work well.

You can certify through DONA, ALACE, and CAPPA there may be others. CAPPA has distance learning options so that may be good if you are busy. I took the DONA course and while I chose not to certify I did enough births to certify in just a few months. I think it depends on being able to find clients and your availability.

And I have been to births longer than 24 hours. =)
I wasn't aware that you had the option to not certify. My doula stayed with me for 4 hours and when my labor slowed she left because she already had prior family plans. They called in the back up doula who was just as awesome and I loved her.
Megan,
There isn't a lot of money in being a doula. Most of us do it because we love it and not because we make money off of it. Being a doula requires a lot of time, I'm on call, 24 hours a day for 1-2 weeks before my clients due date and until they deliver, which can be another 2+ weeks. That only really allows you to be 100% available for 2 clients a month, unless you have backups or work with a group. If you take into consideration that most doulas will only charge between $400-$800, depending on their location, etc..., that's only $800-$1600 a month. Hope this helps!

Mandy in Denver

Megan said:
Can you balance doula work and a part time job? Is it possible to support yourself financially being a doula?
I'm not certified either. I've been a doula for 10 years. I would first encourage anyone that wanted to become a doula to form a birth philosophy. Form your own thoughts about birth and educate yourself in the service of being a doula. Go through questions such as childcare. Are you willing to leave your children for long periods of time? Are you in good health enough for sleep to be disrupted or can you stay up all night? Will you have enough down time when you get home from a birth? What kind of clients will you take? What kind of questions will you ask them? Are they educated? You need a mentor that is willing to show you the ropes and maybe help at a couple of births. I would ask a doula friendly OB and Midwife if you can attend a birth quitely, so you can get the differences of each caregiver. I would suggest not to become a doula for the money. It's a hard job!! But not a money maker unless you have two or three clients a month, which I don't think is a good idea, Especially with a family. I'm sure I have more thoughts on this. I just have to take my oldest daughter to the doc.

Traci
I learned this the hard way when sitting in a mom's house at 2am watching her have contractions on a birth ball while holding the watch she was timing them on. I finally decided that if she could time her own contractions, it was either not the real thing or just way way too early. So, I got her to go to bed and I went home. She had her baby three days later.

Jamie Bond said:
I have attended those long births and I have found one of the things that works is to really know when the mother is at in her labour. A lot of moms - myself included - get very excited when labour begins and tend to think that they have progressed farther than they have. At my last birth the mother started labouring early in the morning. When she called me, contractions were regular and strong, so I went over for a visit. It turned out that they slowed down so I went home and spent the night with my family. Her contractions continued through the night and I made my way over when she called me the next day. We then went to the hospital and she had the baby early the next morning.
I was lucky because she had other family members there to support her and I did not arrive until she was really in active labour. I found that that extra night's sleep really helped me to help her when the other family members needed to rest. I think it's important for us not to arrive to early and suffer from the burnout and to leave our families for longer than necessary. It's been hard and I have shown up WAY too early at some other births and been there for longer than was needed. By waiting until the woman is in active labour we save our energy and time away from our loved ones.
That said, sometimes we are the only labour support and sometimes women need us before active labour begins. In that case, I think it's okay to meet her before it's really going, and then go home again and come back later. My mom was totally fine with that and it ended up working out well for all involved - she had my reassurance that all was well, and the knowledge that I would be there for her when I was needed, and my family didn't lose me for and extra day and night.

Jamie
While certification is encouraged many mom's don't mind having a doula with training and experience even if they aren't currently certified. Also some of us do so few births for money that having to keep up on memberships is too expensive. =)

Darcel said:
I wasn't aware that you had the option to not certify. My doula stayed with me for 4 hours and when my labor slowed she left because she already had prior family plans. They called in the back up doula who was just as awesome and I loved her.
I am not ready to be away from my children for that long. For now I think I'll stick to helping others learn about doulas in anyway that I can.
Well, I honestly think that is a great way to contribute to the "Birth Revolution" as I call it. Moving birth back to it's rightful place in our society as something to be revered and NOT feared! A lot of women, especially women of color have no earthly idea what a doula is or how she might help them during pregnancy, labor, birth and beyond. SO spread the word far and wide! Us doulas will thank you for it, it will make our jobs easier. :)

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