Part 3 of a 3-part series by Karen Herriot
Everything is exciting when you are a newer doula and want to book your first client and attend your first birth. We see this passion and motivation from our Birth Ways International Doula Training graduates, and it is inspiring to see!
Use this excitement to get clear about feeling ready for clients. Use this passion to do some work and complete the steps that will take you closer to getting doula clients. Here are some ideas for you.
Be the doula who has the:
- Lending library. Start building your library or making a list of great books for clients
- List of great pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding websites to visit, podcasts to listen to, and amazing evidence-based resources to refer to
- Great listening ear to hear women’s stories about their appointments, pregnancy issues, and birth fears
- Non-judgemental ear to listen to birth stories, both good and bad
- Comfort to accompany clients to doctor’s appts, prenatal yoga class, ultrasounds
- Time to go to breastfeeding class with them or attend a La Leche League meeting with them
- Interest to help them draft, edit and complete a birth plan
Know the types of clients you are open to working with and make a list. Some examples include teens, couples, VBAC, new Canadians, single-moms, and same-sex. You may also want to note any other experience working in related areas: offering support at the teen school program, volunteering at the second-stage houses, assisting folks who are learning English, etc.
Become more aware of the birth networks in your community. Meet and get to know birth-related professionals and caregivers (Angie Evans being one of them). These include midwives, pelvic floor physios, chiropractors who are trained to turn breech babies or assist newborns with a crooked neck, and more.
Here are some other ideas:
- If someone expresses her confusion over an issue or topic, you could offer to look up some solid information for her and refer her to that
- Join the doula circle in your area or online
- Get additional doula-related training in setting up birth pools, making birth plans, using a rebozo, breath techniques, belly casts, photography
- Once you get to know other doulas, offer to help them by setting up birth pools, taking photographs, doing childcare, backing them up
- Work on your doula resume and get friends and colleagues to give your testimonials about your trustworthiness, resourcefulness, compassion
- Lots of the requirements of the Birth Ways International certification program are great ways to get to births and prepare yourself for clients!
Finally, practice words and find phrases that describe your work that you are comfortable with:
I am fully trained to support you through your pregnancy and labour.
I am prepared to work in a variety of settings, have toured and am familiar with the facilities in our community.
I have networked with other birth professionals and caregivers, know the childbirth education options in this area and have access to many resources I will share with you.
I have skills to tailor my doula support to meet your individual needs so you can make informed choices during your pregnancy and feel empowered to know your options and be informed through your labour and birth.