If you've recently found out you're expecting, congratulations! As you enter this new and exciting experience, you're most likely beginning to delve into all things pregnancy. Who will you hire as your caregiver? Do you want to give birth at home or in the hospital? What kind of support will you need after baby arrives?Okay, I know this type of question usually doesn't pop into your head until late pregnancy, or maybe until after baby arrives and you realize you're in a bit of a pinch. But really. You should start thinking about all things postpartum, too! If you are expecting, I highly recommend hiring a doula. I guarantee you will not regret hiring her. It is her job to support you, to inform you of all options available, and to help you have a safe and satisfying birth and/or postpartum experience. I know, right? It sounds amazing. But how do you go about hiring a doula? It's very possible that you might not even know where to look first, and that's okay. I don't believe that there are doulas listed in the Yellow Pages (at least not in Bloomington anyways), and we definitely don't all work in one big office building. But, personally, I think that's one of the best parts about doula work-- doulas come from all different backgrounds, bringing personality, compassion, and a diverse set of skills to the birth world.
There are a few different ways you can find a doula in your area. DONA International is the oldest, most widely known doula-certifying organization in the world. You can use DONA's doula locator to find certified DONA doulas near you. Bloomington Area Birth Services' (BABS) website has a special page dedicated to doulas who are currently taking clients in the Bloomington community. It is important to note that these doulas are not necessarily affiliated with BABS, although some may volunteer with BABS workshops and classes. You can also check in with the Birth Doulas of South Central Indiana as well as the Bloomington Postpartum Doula Collective, two groups of professionals that work with new and growing families in Monroe County and surrounding areas. Lastly, I believe that one of the best ways to find the right doula for you is word of mouth. Talk to your girlfriends, coworkers, and family members. Ask if they've had a doula's assistance for their birth(s), and if so, who did they work with? Why did they choose her? Keep in mind that the doula who was suggested may have been a good fit for that particular family, but she may not be the right labor/postpartum support for you.
Below is a list of questions you may want to address as you interview doulas. Like I said before, finding the doula who is right for you takes time and patience, but it is worth all of the hard work you put forth in your search. I encourage expectant parents to interview lots of doulas in their community before choosing the one that they mesh with the best. Remember that this person will be with you during most of your labor and the birth of your baby, or she may be in your home helping out 3-4 days a week for 2 months. Make sure you feel at ease in her presence; if not, keep searching! If possible, start looking for a doula, whether it be for birth, postpartum, or both, by your sixth or seventh month of pregnancy. This will allow you plenty of time to consider your options and find the best fit!
When you feel like you've found the doula that's right for you, your last question will be something along the lines of,
"Will you be my doula?"
Congratulations once again and good luck on your birthing journey!!