Updated: Apr 2, 2022
Most of our potential clients prepare for interviews by googling a list of questions to ask a doula. These questions don't always get to the root of who we are, and the answers don't give clients much insight into whether or not we're a good fit for each other.
To get a better sense of our work, try these questions:
1. Tell me about your experience in birth work.
Stop asking doulas if they're certified, or how many births they've attended, and start asking what experience they have instead. Doulas don't have to be certified to practice, and it really doesn't mean much if they are. In fact, we have a bit of a bone to pick with the largest certifying org: DONA International (see #3 below).
Life experience counts here too! You might want a doula who's attended hundreds of births, and that's ok. But keep in mind that newer doulas have fewer biases and are more open to trying anything to support you 🙌
2. Who is your back-up doula, and why did you choose them?
Back-up doulas are important! You hired a doula to be your constant companion throughout pregnancy, labor, and birth, but every once in a while we might not be able to make it (example: if we're sick). It can affect the birth process to have a stranger in your space. Find out more about your doula's back-up team, and ask to meet them in advance if it's important to you.
Here at Bright Earth Doulas, Bria and Tabitha have never missed a birth. But if we had to, we'd sub in for each other or call another doula in the community with a similar style (@birth_doula_brittany is always top of our list!).
3. What is your advocacy style, and how will you support my birth plan?
Advocacy. We can't talk about this enough. 100% of our clients expect that we'll advocate for them in labor, but did you know that not all doulas advocate the same way?
DONA International trains their doulas to "encourage her client to ask questions of her care provider" (DONA Code of Ethics). This is a good first step...but if abuse is happening, we believe a doula should say something.
🚩 Doula: "I teach you how to advocate for yourself!" This is great in early labor, but very very difficult when your brain goes into labor land.
🚩 Doula: "I don't speak to your medical team". What??? We're all a team here!
✔️ Doula: "I learn your birth preferences and amplify your voice in labor. If I see something happening that I know you don't want, I'll call it out. It's my goal to work with your medical team (not against them), but ultimately you are my #1 priority"