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If you had a doula for your birth, chances are you are considering a postpartum doula to come alongside you in your first few weeks as a mama. And if so, you are likely already familiar with what doulas do. But if not…
Remember the definition of a doula,
Doula is a Greek word whose definition has come to mean a woman who helps other women. The word has further evolved to mean a woman experienced in childbirth who provides continuous physical, emotional, and informational support to the mother before, during, and after childbirth. (The modern Greek word doula translates literally as “servant-woman“)
The Doula Book, by Klaus, M.H. et. al (2002)
Yet you may not have had a doula for your birth, and that’s ok. But you may be wondering, what does it look like to have a doula in the postpartum period? And, what exactly does a postpartum doula do? How do you know if she’s the right fit for you?
If you are curious of the kinds of things you may need postpartum, take a look at this list of questions pertaining to the postpartum period and doula care. Life with a newborn and a body fresh from the rigorous marathon of childbirth (no matter the type of birth you had!) is a precious and personal time.
Think about it, how much time did you spend preparing for your new baby during your pregnancy? How much time did you spend preparing for your transformation into a mother, or a mother of multiples?
It’s time to arm yourself with resources on what to expect and what you may be looking for.
By asking these questions and interviewing a few postpartum doulas, you will soon learn more of what you like, what you don’t like, what types of personalities and approaches you will get along with during such a special time, and if a postpartum doula is the type of care you are looking for.
For more on what a postpartum doula does, past these questions, keep an eye out for an article to come on postpartum… and sign up for the mailing list here to be the first to know!
Questions To Ask Your Postpartum Doula
What part of being a doula do you enjoy most?
What personal skills and abilities do you bring to your role as a doula?
What is your philosophy of childbirth, postpartum, and your work as a doula?
What books do you recommend to new parents and why?
How do you handle conflicts with family members or medical professionals?
How would you address ___ issue I or the baby have? Whether it be physical, emotional, psychological.
Can you provide references or testimonials?
How long have you been a doula and for how many families? What courses/training did you take?
Can we contact you before the birth with any questions/concerns we have?
Do you have children and what is your childcare setup?
What would happen if your child is sick when you plan to work with me?
What is your availability? What other doula jobs do you have booked around the dates I need you? Do you have a backup doula?
Are you insured? Background check? Valid driver’s license? First Aid/CPR?
How do you feel about breastfeeding/bottle feeding and what is your experience?
What if I have a breastfeeding/bottle feeding problem? How would you help me?
How do you view housework? What are you prepared to do? How many hours a day, and what is your rate?
Take Inventory After The Interview
Does her philosophy of postpartum care agree with mine? Is it evidence based?
Do our personalities agree? Do we get along?
Does she listen well to me?
Will she respect my wishes? Will my partner/children like her?
Do I want to spend day after day with this postpartum doula?
What is the breakdown of her charges? (hourly, mileage, nights, etc)
Will she help with siblings or prepare meals or housework if I ask?
Keep in mind that this is just a starting point, and as you talk with your potential postpartum doulas where you live, more topics are sure to come up. By writing down what you talked about and how you feel afterward, it will help you decide if she is the right fit for the kind of care you are looking for. I always find that learning what I don’t like or need is helpful to know what I do like and need, and that’s what these initial interviews and surveys are about.
Ultimately, you, the new mama and potential client, are the one hiring the doula, and you should be comfortable and secure in who you choose and the kind of care and aide she will give you.
Does this list help you? Would you consider a postpartum doula in the first weeks as a mother to a newborn? Let us know in the comments!
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P.S. For free printable worksheets of these questions that you can take when you interview your potential postpartum doula, sign up for the mailing list here to receive it!
Below is a preview of those printables!
~Katherine Newsom writes at Simple Natural Mama