Do I Need to Find a New Doula? - Mothering Forums

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Old 03-04-2012, 05:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm due in June. I'm planning to give birth at a hospital with a doula (hopefully all-natural, but we'll see what happens). The doula I've chosen is extremely knowledgeable. She owns a doula company that other doulas work through, and she is also a lactation consultant. She is QUITE expensive ($1800), but I know that when I go into labor with her at my home, then eventually go to the hospital to give birth with her, I will feel completely confident and like I am in great hands, and that is worth a lot to me.

 

However, I'm getting a little frustrated with her, and perhaps wrongly so. So far, I've met with her once (to meet and decide if we wanted to work together). At that time she offered to get together to go on walks with me. I told her at that time that I really had my own workout schedule and my life is completely over-booked. I'm not interested in a personal trainer, and the thought of having to schedule something like that into my already frantic life really stressed me out. That is not what I want her for! She seemed to understand.

 

Now, it's weeks later, and I haven't met with her. I've never had a doula before, so I'm not sure how it all works, but I have a lot of stuff I really want to ask her/go over with her. She sends me an email saying she wants to get together this weekend to go walking with me. WTF? I told her I'm really booked up this weekend and need to keep with my workout and recovery days so walking was not an option (Saturday is a rest day for me. Sunday I have a long yoga class. She wants to make sure I go on "long walks"). I haven't heard back from her.  But I'm a little stressed that this is the only communication she's making with me, and seems to forget what we've discussed before.

 

I'm starting to worry that all she seems to be offering me for that huge sum of money is stuff I'm not interested in. I don't want a personal trainer. I want a doula! Should I stick with this lady because I am confident in her knowledge and that she will be a huge asset during my delivery (no small thing)? Or should I continue to look for someone else who isn't having me pay for services I don't want (i.e., I don't want a personal babysitter or friend to walk with me or a personal trainer)?  I guess I'm just not clear on how this all is supposed to work.

 

Any input greatly appreciated!

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Old 03-04-2012, 05:37 PM
 
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Your contract should state how she typically deals with question and such. For example, my contract states that I will meet with a mother 1-2 times before birth to discuss things in person and I'm avalible by email or text at any time for questions. Phone calls are more limited unless it is urgent or toward the end of the pregnancy. During an interview or after recieving a signed contract I would encourage a mom to contact me. If I haven't heard much from her after awhile I would probably send a check in email asking how she is feeling, how appts with her hcp are going, etc.

 

The 'walks' thing is a little odd. My main concern is that it sounds like you feel you are communicating really clearly with her and she is not getting your message clearly. As a doula one of my main goals is to listen to my client. Perhaps you can suggest a time to meet to discuss your birth and see if you are still on the same page?

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Old 03-04-2012, 05:40 PM
 
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I am a doula and I definitely think I'd be looking for a new one. First of all, a doula's job is to be there for what YOU need, not what she THINKS you need. Walking is nice, but that shouldn't be the stipulation of your meetings. You've made it clear that does not work for you. It sounds to me like she wants a walking buddy more than a client. She's acting unprofessionally in my opinion. Also, it doesn't matter how much knowledge she has.  If she's charging you $1,800 (which is more than I've EVER heard of), she should be doing things to accomodate you.  She should be having meetings with you - several meetings!  She should be calling and/or emailing you.  She should be answering all of your questions.  What is she going to do when you're in labor (if she's even there).... make you walk a marathon?  There's more to a healthy pregnancy than walking, especially when you have a stringent workout program already.  Nothing she's doing makes any sense at all.  I see red flags all over the place.  I'm not trying to be so negative about a fellow doula because I know nothing about her.  I'm sure she's great at what she does normally.  But this makes no sense and she's over-charging you and under-producing!!  To have a happy and successful birth with a doula, you have to trust your doula and feel comfortable with her.  It doesn't sound like this is the case, or like it will go there any time soon.  What area do you live in?  I'm sure there are plenty of great doulas in your area.  I'd suggest finding a student doula who is working toward her certification.  They have knowledge, some experience (not a lot, but some), are much less expensive, and have a ton of passion.  They usually do the best job at nurturing the mom because they "want to do everything right" and they want to make you happy.  That's just my humble opinion. If you'd like to find a new one and don't know where to look, email me at  [email protected] and I can help you find one in your area. Good luck with whatever you decide!!

 

Lynette Kendall - Doula,

Perinatal Support Specialist,

Midwifery Student

 

callmydoula.blogspot.com

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Old 03-04-2012, 08:52 PM
 
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I am a doula and I definitely think I'd be looking for a new one. First of all, a doula's job is to be there for what YOU need, not what she THINKS you need. Walking is nice, but that shouldn't be the stipulation of your meetings. You've made it clear that does not work for you. It sounds to me like she wants a walking buddy more than a client. She's acting unprofessionally in my opinion. Also, it doesn't matter how much knowledge she has.  If she's charging you $1,800 (which is more than I've EVER heard of), she should be doing things to accomodate you.  She should be having meetings with you - several meetings!  She should be calling and/or emailing you.  She should be answering all of your questions.  What is she going to do when you're in labor (if she's even there).... make you walk a marathon?  There's more to a healthy pregnancy than walking, especially when you have a stringent workout program already.  Nothing she's doing makes any sense at all.  I see red flags all over the place.  I'm not trying to be so negative about a fellow doula because I know nothing about her.  I'm sure she's great at what she does normally.  But this makes no sense and she's over-charging you and under-producing!!  To have a happy and successful birth with a doula, you have to trust your doula and feel comfortable with her.  It doesn't sound like this is the case, or like it will go there any time soon.  What area do you live in?  I'm sure there are plenty of great doulas in your area.  I'd suggest finding a student doula who is working toward her certification.  They have knowledge, some experience (not a lot, but some), are much less expensive, and have a ton of passion.  They usually do the best job at nurturing the mom because they "want to do everything right" and they want to make you happy.  That's just my humble opinion. If you'd like to find a new one and don't know where to look, email me at  [email protected] and I can help you find one in your area. Good luck with whatever you decide!!

 

Lynette Kendall - Doula,

Perinatal Support Specialist,

Midwifery Student

 

callmydoula.blogspot.com

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Old 03-06-2012, 11:03 AM
 
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Every doula has a different style. It could be that she takes walks during her meetings with clients in order to create a relationship and good rapport. If you're not comfortable with her communication, maybe you should tell her. Ultimately, it comes down to comfort. Personally, I'd pick an inexperienced doula any day if I felt comfortable with her. You want a knowledgeable doula, of course, but even more than that, you want someone to comfort and provide support. This is just my opinion, of course, but I'm a doula and it's been my experience that not matter how much I know about childbirth, it always boils down to how well I'm able to be 1) calm and confident nurturing support, and 2) a cheerleader. 

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Old 03-08-2012, 07:59 AM
 
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I am a doula. It sounds like she's trying to connect with you, since clearly you're into health and fitness. However, it also appears that you and she are not communicating well together. I would explain to her that you would rather not walk but perhaps get together for a smoothie or coffee or something. 

 

Previous posters have commented on the fee,  but fees differ dramatically across the country so don't get too worried. :)

 

I have a client due around the same time as you and we've gotten together for coffee once so far. As you get farther along, I would expect more contact, but again, this doesn't sound completely off the wall to me. 

 

The thing you want to consider is how comfortable you feel with your doula. The fact that you're wondering if you made the right choice concerns me, whether she's perfectly professional or not at all. Seriously consider if you're tense around her, if she annoys you at all, if you feel she will completely support you and your decisions during your birthing time. Consider interviewing some other doulas in the area to see if you might work better with someone else. Good luck! :)

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Old 03-12-2012, 01:32 PM
 
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I'm curious, if it is already to the point that she is contacting you, do you have a contract with her? You might want to consider this before looking in to another doula. I do think that you would do better with another match, but contracts might get in the way of that. I know I have a contract with all of my clients that they sign at the beginning of my services. I just don't want you stuck paying for two doulas....


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Old 03-12-2012, 01:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kristi Doss View Post

I'm curious, if it is already to the point that she is contacting you, do you have a contract with her? You might want to consider this before looking in to another doula. I do think that you would do better with another match, but contracts might get in the way of that. I know I have a contract with all of my clients that they sign at the beginning of my services. I just don't want you stuck paying for two doulas....


No, there was never any contract, and it doesn't seem like it was part of her plan.  I did try to (nicely) get her to pinpoint what exact services were part of our agreement and she was very resistant to give me any real answers.  She sent me a general flyer that defined "What is a Doula?" which I already had, but that didn't really speak specifically to her practice or her charges.  Basically she told me I needed to find someone else and wished me luck.  So I'm looking for a new doula now.  I've called one lady that was referred to me, and am waiting for her to get back to me.  Thanks to you guys, I now know what questions to ask.
 

 

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Old 04-16-2012, 05:40 PM
 
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Every doula is different. Everyone has different approach and different goals for their services. The only way to find out is to ask her or have them clearly written down. That said I wouldn't worry about cost--in some areas nearby me it wouldn't be weird to charge $1500. I have also lived where $300-400 was the norm. Like every other service, it depends on the area and what they offer.

 

However, it sounds like you are she aren't connecting. Doesn't mean it's her fault. Doesn't mean she's a bad doula. It just means you're not connecting. Thinking objectively I would ask for a meeting to go over these things. If she for some reason doesn't comply, I would let her know that you appreciate her, but you've decided to go elsewhere. It happens. Sometimes clients and professionals don't click. There is nothing wrong with that.


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Old 05-04-2012, 04:35 PM
 
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I had the same curiosity as Charley Caudill.  Rather than a coffee shop or your home, perhaps she uses 'a walk' as a way of meeting with you to connect and chat about your feelings about birth.  If you feel confident in her ability at the birth, then that is wonderful.  But you have to think about how you'll feel around her when you are in a more vulnerable state.  How you feel about the people in the room can really encourage (or sometimes hinder) your progress during labor and your doula will be your constant through it all.  Do you feel comfortable meeting with her and sharing your concerns?  You two might just need to have a good heart to heart to make all of those uneasy feelings go away.  If you meet and things still feel off, then trust your instinct about what to do.  

 

Good luck to you!

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Old 05-04-2012, 04:37 PM
 
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Sorry, I just realized that I didn't read the update that you are looking for another doula.  Think you are doing the right thing.  

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Old 07-14-2012, 04:39 PM
 
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I am a birth and PP doula. I have a contract. It states very specifically what I do and do not do and the time-frames within which a client can expect those things to be done. For example, emails and phone calls are responded to within 24 hours, even if it's just to say "hi, I got your email, I'm really busy and will respond in length shortly". This lets the client know I am THERE for her, I am going to respond to her.  I currently only work on a volunteer basis, as I am only able to take a few births a year, but I still love the work and even with my volunteer clients I am very clear on how to contact me, when to contact me, and what things she can count on, as far as availability and services.  If you can't get firm answers in a first meeting about WHAT exactly she'll offer you, I'd look for someone else, as you're doing now. Good luck! Congrats!


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