Before my son was born two years ago, I was a very busy Postpartum Doula. I really loved it most of the time and can hardly wait to work again...someday!
My experiences varied greatly with each family. Some moms need some companionship, reassurance and guidance. Some families need an extra hand with siblings, pets, household duties. Some need it ALL, and some end up needing very little. Sometimes I just felt like "hired help" and sometimes I felt really needed. I can tell you that I formed a truly special bond with some of these families. It is so wonderful to be a part of that very special time in a new families life!
You can set your own guidlines as to what type of work you're willing to do. I've heard of some crazy requests, like organizing closets, cleaning out the garage, etc...Most doulas set limits at "light" household duties and make this very clear during the initial interview. Some moms have very special emotional needs, breastfeeding issues, partner realtionship coflicts, etc...It can be very challenging and difficult at times. It's a neccesity to have a connection with other doulas for your own support and advice, and have a resource of health proffesionals to offer referrals for the families when something goes beyond your "scope of practice".
When I was last working, the going rate in the Seattle area was $20-30 an hour. The rates vary greatly, depending on when and where you work. I live up north near Everett, and I 've had a few clients up this way, but I traveled to Seattle and the Eastside for most of my work. It's nice to be able to set your own limits to where and when you want to work.
I also took my training from SMS, but I've heard good things about the course through Bates Technical College in Tacoma. I would also suggest contacting NW Assoc. for Postpartum Support (NAPS) in Seattle if you haven't already. There # is 206-955-6155. They offer a referral service, monthly meetings and networking support.
What else can I tell you? I can give you more detailed information if you need it. Please feel free to contact me if you'd like to talk some more. [email protected]