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Homebirth doula

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

I'm just starting out my career as a labor doula, but after experiencing a few hospital birth, my desire to really specialize in working with homebirth and stand alone Birth Center couples has really intensified. I know that, at least in Colorado, it is really difficult to break into the homebirth community as a doula because many CPM's around here have had negative experiences with doulas at their birth. Most who have mostly hospital experience and do not understand the differences in a homebirth. There are some opportunities for me to connect with the only SABC in town, but am looking for advice on how to connect with more midwives. 

 

A few notes - 1) I'm planning a homebirth myself in March with a great CPM. I know that she can help me, but also already has a doula that she works extensively with.  2) I've been tossing around completing a Monitrice/Midwife Asst program. I already have a medical background and am competent in basic vital skills, but obviously need trying in specific obstetric concerns.

 

Thank you for whatever advice or resources that you can offer. I really appreciate it.

post #2 of 9

I am wondering if you have looked inward at what bothers you so much about hospital births. I know that for my second birth I would love to be at home and that I will have a doula. I also know that I would not hire a doula that "specializes" in home births because I know there is always a risk of transfer (just like in my first birth) and would want someone that can transition smoothly w/o personal bias. I would also suggest working with mothers b/c it isn't the mw that hires and pays you.Reach put to a childbirth educator or moms group and offer your services to their clients.

post #3 of 9

I'm sorry to hear the relationships between midwives and doulas are strained.  Being a midwife's assistant could be helpful for you.  I think it would be difficult to build a practice around only attending homebirths unless you were working directly with a midwife.  So few births happen at home, it is truly a niche market.  Most birth occur in hospitals and that is where women need the most help.  I think many women hire doulas because they want a more natural experience in the hospital.  Most doulas would love to attend homebirths, but there is tough competition, and I think fewer families hire doulas when they deliver at home because they don't think they will need one as much.  I am a new doula myself, and I came close to working a homebirth, but the mom changed midwives close to the end of her pregnancy and the midwife must have said she would spend lots of time with her in labor because she decided she did not need a doula anymore. Working in homebirths would be pretty awesome, but you always have to know how to deal with the hospitals and staff due to transfers like eabbmom said.    Good luck to you!

post #4 of 9

Have you considered bypassing doula work and going into midwifery?

post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by phathui5 View Post

Have you considered bypassing doula work and going into midwifery?

I have, but unfortunately it's not the right time to go that route. I recently left a teaching career to stay home with my son and my husband consented to the doula work for now. We are expecting #2 in March, so he just doesn't want to see me jump into another area that is so time consuming (or can be during the births) when we're trying to make more time for our kids right now. And I totally get and support that. This is why I was looking into possible a midwife asst/monitrice program that would allow me a little more flexibility, but still give me some stepping stones. Also, I've enrolled in Gloria Lemay's Midwifery 101 class for now, which I can do at home and will just build up my base knowledge for when the time is right for me to pursue midwifery seriously.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by eabbmom View Post

I am wondering if you have looked inward at what bothers you so much about hospital births. I know that for my second birth I would love to be at home and that I will have a doula. I also know that I would not hire a doula that "specializes" in home births because I know there is always a risk of transfer (just like in my first birth) and would want someone that can transition smoothly w/o personal bias. I would also suggest working with mothers b/c it isn't the mw that hires and pays you.Reach put to a childbirth educator or moms group and offer your services to their clients.

You raise a very good point. I don't know that anything really bothers me about it, other than my general discomfort with medical environments. My personal experience with birth is more of a home setting -- my experiences with hospital births continue to shock me with the procedures offered and general chaotic feeling. I know that as a doula I am there to help counter this an bring a sense of calm for the family. I've just had so much experience working with medical professionals, and I really respect them. It's just my preference to work in an alternative setting given the choice. That being said, of course I would still work wit hospital clients and go with any homebirth clients to the hospital if they were transferred, but I would just like to be "known" as someone who works more in that homebirth setting simply because of my personal values and interest. I hope that makes sense.

 

Thanks to everyone for the input. I am trying to get out and make some more connections with local midwives, so hopefully I can get my foot in the door to attend a homebirth in the near future.

post #6 of 9

I like the clarification here in your thoughts. I would continue to seek how you as a doula can help parents that have to be in a hospital have their "homebirth at the hospital". My team in the hospital was so supportive, I stood up to push, my husband caught, baby never went away and the staff really created my "homebirth" feeling.

post #7 of 9

I can completely relate to your desire in wanting to be a homebirth doula. I would say I am somewhat successfully achieving that. I say somewhat because I am not as busy as I would like to be and I still take on a few hospital clients. In fact because I love being a doula and believe all women deserve a doula I am happily accepting hospital births but I don't advertise for them in the same way because they are more wearing on me emotionally. Sometimes I am the only one at a homebirth and  the midwives generally prefer to come later so homebirths are often more physically demanding but very beautiful and satisfying. I love when women have full permission to birth as they want. I love homebirths, and I got lucky that my first two births I ever did were friends and friends of friends homebirths, so that was the experience I had to offer. Where I am there has been a strange relationship with the CPM's as well. They are telling clients that the midwives themselves perform the same roles as a doula so it is unnecessary to have them. In my experience this is not true. Our role is very different, as I'm sure you know. So what I am finding helpful:

I starting a birth organization connecting all the birth workers in the area and we have been having bi-monthly movie nights. I started out doing this only for doulas and it eventually gained more popularity and we joined with the california association of midwives, so we are handling the advertising and the work of hosting the event together which is very helpful, plus it gets us all togther and familiar with eachothers names. People always ask the difference between the midwives and doulas and that is our time to chime in and say how well we work together.

 

Eabbmom, was right on it to say that you should work with the moms, I advertised and had cards everywhere and went to all the birth events I could find. Mostly word of mouth and friends and friends of friends. That's how I got my first few clients, but then I was able to convince the midwives I worked with that doulas are wonderful and really help them and the moms a lot. Unfortunately I haven't had the chance to work with all the midwives, some won't come to the events and others tell there clients they can't have additional people at there births. But I have successfully turned two of the 5 midwives onto doulas and finally have clients with some of the others coming up. Now one of the midwives openly promotes doulas, asks all of her clients if they've hired one and has allowed me to put a list of doulas and cards in a binder that they show their clients. We get good business from her.

It definitely takes some time but I believe there is a need for homebirth doulas. I've spoken with many moms who didn't feel adequately supported at their homebirths. Midwives take on a lot and can't do it all.If you are willing to put in some time educating people on the benefits of doulas at home you will find clients. And it makes the hospital births easier to do.

Sorry for the long post, thanks for letting me add my input.

post #8 of 9

I agree wholeheartedly with everything you just posted to a tee!!! I could have written it myself. I do home births and hospital births. My preference would be home births over hospital births any day, however, we are so needed in both spaces. As your name gets out there and your reputation as a birth worker starts to form, word of mouth will be your best friend. Just keep educating those around you, that midwives and doulas are very different, but a huge help and blessing to any and all births.

post #9 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Laurie Flower View Post

I agree wholeheartedly with everything you just posted to a tee!!! I could have written it myself. I do home births and hospital births. My preference would be home births over hospital births any day, however, we are so needed in both spaces. As your name gets out there and your reputation as a birth worker starts to form, word of mouth will be your best friend. Just keep educating those around you, that midwives and doulas are very different, but a huge help and blessing to any and all births.

I agree also. I am just starting out and prefer HB over hospital but will take either since I know the women going into the hospital probably need me more. 

 

I also plan on eventually going into midwifery however its not the right time since we are expecting our 3rd in Nov 2013.  Maybe after this bambino gets a little older I can go take a MW assistant course with Ina May at the Farm.

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