1. Decide what kind of birth you’d like, then find a doula with the skill set to meet your needs
Most doulas are going to say that they can support you in any kind of birth you want, and this is true. However, different doulas have different specialities and interests. There are doulas who are trained childbirth educators. There are doulas who are trained to administer natural remedies. There are doulas who specialise in dance for birth methods. Musical doulas, Hypnobirth doulas, Counselling doulas, VBAC doulas, Photographer doulas and the list goes on. There are also ‘eclectic’ doulas who don’t specialise in any particular area but train in many methods and use different tools for different situations depending on what is needed at the time. What is important to your experience will lead you to choose a doula who has the skills, experience and training to match your desired experience.
2. Choose a doula with values that are aligned with yours
Now this may not seem important. After all, it’s a professional relationship your entering, isn’t it? We won’t be talking about our personal lives besides birth, will we? Chances are you will. The relationship you have with your doula is a professional one, but you could be surprised just how well you get to know one another. If you are an enthusiastic environmentalist, you may feel uncomfortable if your doula drives a gas guzzler up your driveway and brings drinks and food in plastic containers into your home. Your doula being a whole-foods, yoga passionista might tell you that they care about health as much as you do, or might make you feel guilty about your lack of health habits. It’s not a lifelong relationship your committing to, but sometimes these things can be a deal breaker.
3. It’s all about the connection!
And finally, THE most important factor in choosing your doula – the connection! This can be harder to understand or explain, but it’s the chemistry of being in someone’s company and just feeling one hundred percent comfortable, knowing you are fully understood and accepted. It’s that “YES!” moment in conversations when the sentence hasn’t even been finished. Knowing that you could tell them anything or be outrageous and they wouldn’t flinch. It’s that feeling of ultimate safety – physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. Because with birth it is all about safety. Safety is where the magic happens.
There is no one perfect doula. The doula that is right for your best friend may not be the one that you need, and your doula that you rave about might not be the best fit for your sister. Call a few doulas. Chat to them. Ask them questions. Your investigations and intuition will lead you to the right doula for you.