Doulas have a lasting effect on their clients–on the way they remember their births, on how they nurture their babies, how they perceive themselves and their partners, and on how they portray the image of what birth can and should be to to others. As a doula, you can make a difference.
Are You A Doula?
Many women who become doulas have a shared set of characteristics, and if you’ve answered “yes” to a majority of these questions, you are one of us! We are “birth junkies” and we can’t get enough of this wonderful, exciting time of life.
The Life of a Doula
The following questionnaire contains scenarios that a doula must be prepared for, if she is truly committed to providing her clients with continuous, loving care. This is not intended to frighten potential doulas; rather it is one tool for a doula or potential doula to use while setting up her practice. If after consideration of these points, you are feeling overwhelmed, Don’t Panic! Everyone–every new doula and midwife–experiences some misgivings when she realizes just how much commitment comes with supporting birthing women.
There are answers to your concerns, but first we have to identify them….. after that, it’s time to really work through the areas that you feel need improvement. Ideally, your doula trainer would serve as a source of this kind of information. This is why your choice of trainers is so important. At Working Woman we strive to provide you with the most unique, professional and nurturing experience possible. We will provide you with continuing support, mentor and birth networking, and a invitation to an established doula community.
The Doula Survival Worksheet
Making sure that you’re there for your clients — No Matter What
____ 1. I am healthy and able to stay awake for long periods of time, conceivably much more than 24 hours.
____ 2. I am healthy and able to physically support a woman throughout her labor, using massage, and helping to support her physically in a variety of positions.
____ 3. I have support for my own children during my absence.
____ 4. My spouse/partner/family is supportive of my work as a doula.
____ 5. I have support for my children if I am gone overnight.
____ 6. My nursing baby will accept pumped milk from a bottle during my absence, or some other feeding arrangement is worked out.
____ 7. I have support for my children when the working day starts, and throughout the working day.
____ 8. I have support for my children if they are sick while I am working.
____ 9. I have backup for my work as a doula.
____ 10. I have back-up for my childcare/support if needed.
____ 11. I have backup for my back-up for my childcare/support if needed (I’m not joking here).
____ 12. I have reliable transportation.
____ 13. I am comfortable being alone at night, walking into and out of hospitals, birth centers, or people’s homes.
____ 14. I have identified areas (locations) which I am comfortable traveling to.
____ 15. I recognize that every pregnant woman has a “due month”, expecting her baby on average two weeks on either side of her “due date”. I realize, then, that I am on call for that entire month.
____ 16. I have identified how life “on call” will impact family birthdays, holidays, and events.
Copyright 2000, 2001 by 2rl Corp. All rights reserved
Thank you to the very talented Jackie Kelleher for allowing us to use her wonderfully designed questionnaire. Please check out www.idoula.com to find out about what doulas in the PA and MA areas are up too.