Monday, April 29, 2013

Doula Myths...and the Reality

Oh, those urban doula myths...they just keep circulating...

Myth #1: 
I'm always fully booked. 
The reality: I usually have openings! Many clients call as soon as they're pregnant, but, it's never too early nor too late to call. Sometimes, clients birth early (or move away), making room for a last-minute client. So, please email or phone me and we can have a good chat!

Myth #2:
I work with 7-10 clients per month. 
The reality: Eek! I'm a busy doula, but not because I work with that many clients.  I actually book an average of 4 clients per month (to a maximum 50 births a year). That way, I am able to attend 98% of my client's births each year, and rarely need a back-up doula. (In fact, my last missed birth was in September 2011, when I was in Europe.)

Why the myths might have started:
Myth #1: Yes, I am often fully booked within a month or two of a due date, so please call early.
Myth #2: Yes, there are some rare months when I might attend six births. Earlier this year, one baby was born at 32 weeks, one at 38, one at 40, and another at 42 weeks - all in a 6 day period. Then two more babies came the very next week. Nature has a wry sense of humour. My "4 births a month" can be theoretical at times.

Deeper into the reality:
So, with just four booked clients a month, I often do short "tea visits" before a client books me. Then I make two prenatal visits with each family in their home...and I might squeeze in an extra visit if a client would benefit from the extra care in the final anxious weeks.  I also allow lots of time for postpartum visits, and any extra breastfeeding help that might be needed. Yes, I often have to reschedule some visits so I can attend a birth, but that's the way birth works. It's random. It's unexpected. It's also amazing.

Going slow:
Because I walk, cycle, or car2go to client visits in a small catchment area, there's a natural slow pace to each day. Today, my first prenatal visit was at 9am, but I was able to chat with another postpartum client on the phone as I walked over.  Then I walked to Matchstick to warm up before my second "repeat client" visit, while answering new client emails. Later, I talked with some postpartum clients before popping over to see another family for their first prenatal visit. All told, I had three client visits today, and connected with another 11 clients.

Yours forever:
11 client chats in a day? That's right. I always tell my clients that "I'm yours forever", so I do spend time each day connecting with former clients, answering their questions, brainstorming, and talking about breastfeeding, parenting, sleep!, growth spurts, baby-led weaning, and more sleep! It keeps me current, connected. And I hope each client comes away feeling uplifted, confident that she can trust her instincts and her baby.

Slow and Simple Parenting:
I keep current with "the boys," my twin grandsons. I'm with them on Wednesdays...and as much as I can between client visits.

So, please don't hesitate - give me a call. If I don't pick up right away, I might just be slowly riding my bike to a client visit. Or I might be bike riding to Jericho Beach with the boys. Yes, I'm a busy doula. But be assured, I'll call you as soon as I pull over!

1 comment:

erin said...

oh! i adore that you walk or cycle to your clients. one thing that has been holding me back from beginning my doula work is that i don't have transportation... i'd love to hear more about your travels to births, especially in the middle of the night births