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Be Prepared: Questions for the Doula Interview

by Sarah Juliusson on September 24, 2014

doulainterviewGiven that the average doula interview lasts roughly an hour, it is pretty amazing how much ground we can cover in that time.  While some clients do sit down with a list of “questions for your doula interview” they have printed from a pregnancy blog, most interviews end up including your answers to the bulk of these questions simply through the natural flow of a good conversation.

One of the best things you can do when preparing for an interview is to quickly look through these questions and reflect on your answers.  Most of us have one or two questions that we routinely struggle to answer in a clear or concise way.  If you find yourself ending up with more of a babble than a response, take this opportunity to journal your response to a tricky question and then identify your core 3 points that you want to be sure to share in response.

  • What made you choose to become a doula?
  • How did you do your training?  Are you certified?
  • What is your birth philosophy?  (may include questions about your beliefs about birth choices)
  • How many births have you attended? (home, hospital, birth center, VBAC, cesarean birth)
  • Have you ever worked with my doctor or midwife?  How do you work together with care providers?
  • How many clients do you work with each month?  How many do you have booked near my due date?
  • Do you have any other scheduling conflicts around my due date?
  • What happens if you are unavailable?  Do you have a backup doula?  Is there a way for me to meet her?
  • When do you tend to arrive at a birth, and how long do you stay afterwards?  Are you available for support in early labor? What happens if I have a really long labor?
  • How do you see your role as a doula?
  • What does your care include?  What is your scope of practice?
  • How do you see the role of husbands or partners in the birth when you are there as a doula?
  • What happens if I need to have a c-section?
  • Do you offer breastfeeding support?
  • Do you have any references?
  • How much do you charge?  When is a deposit or payment due?  Do you offer a payment plan?  What is your refund policy?

And then there are the personal questions…

Some clients feel it is important to ask questions such as:

  • How old are you?
  • Do you have children?
  • Did you have a vaginal birth / use pain medications / home birth / etc…?

Your responses to these, and other personal questions need to be considered carefully.  What information is relevant?  How does your birth experience impact your doula care?  Does your identity as a mother, or as a woman who has not had children, shape your doula care in some way?   How much of your own personal life do you want to share?  Within any given group of doulas you will find vastly different opinions on how (and if) these questions should be answered.  Regardless, you do need to put some thought into them before being put on the spot!

And finally, the question you really never hope to hear…

  • Didn’t we go on a date once back in the late 90s?

Yep, it has really happened.  Not to me, thankfully, but can you imagine having to navigate that one…?!

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Walking into the Unknown: The Doula Interview…

by Sarah Juliusson on September 23, 2014

I’m getting ready for another free conference call tomorrow with y’all! This time we’re exploring the DOULA INTERVIEW, sharing tips on how to walk into an interview feeling prepared and confident, and leave knowing that you have done your very best.  I’ve got lots of great ideas to share with you tomorrow, but wanted to start  the conversation with some thoughts about the nature of the doula interview.

Join me on Wednesday, September 24th, 10am PST

Click here to register for call details


doulainterviewI’m not sure there are any jobs in the world that require quite this much interviewing to make a living…  Remember back when you had a “normal” job?  Once you nailed the hiring interview, that was it… you had a job.  Now you get to go through the interview & hiring process several times each month, knowing that each client will only last you a few months until they too have had their baby & your care has ended.  Plus, in many cases we know that families are interviewing several other doulas before making the decision, and at least some of these may even be dear friends.

The doula interview is a key aspect of a successful practice that doesn’t perhaps get the attention it deserves in our training.  From the moment we walk in that door we are stepping into an unknown terrain of expectations, assumptions, hopes, worries…  We can certainly be prepared with the ideas that we want to be sure to get across about the value of our care, but each interview inevitably includes a few surprises.

While the core intention may be to share information about your services to help a family make a informed decision in hiring you, there is often far more that takes place in any given doula interview.  Every doula has a story or three about a doula interview that went astray…  Perhaps you ended up feeling like you almost taught a full prenatal class in your one hour together, put more time into processing her first birth than discussing the upcoming birth, or the 45 minute interview turned into 2 and a half hours.  While some interviews are an absolute joy, there are other times that we leave feeling unsure, self-judgmental, or confused.

I’m looking forward to sharing key ideas tomorrow with y’all to help you navigate the unknown terrain of each doula interview, walking in that door feeling prepared, clear & confident, and leaving feeling the same way!

Click here to register for call details


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Working Together: Meet the Women of Psalm 139 Birth Services

September 20, 2014

I’m pleased to introduce to you all Christine Santos & the team at Psalm 139 Birth Services in Lakeland, Florida. Originally a solo birth photography practice, Psalm 139 is now a cooperative of 14 women providing photography, doula services, placenta encapsulation, breastfeeding support, and childbirth education. It is always exciting to me to see a […]

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I’m No Good At… (How to Build Your Business Skills)

June 24, 2014

Ever notice yourself saying “I’m not good at… (fill-in-the-blank here, Marketing, Websites, Social Media, Networking Events)? I hear it all the time from birth business coaching clients, and part of my job is to help each of you find the sweet spot where you can thrive in these essential elements of self-employment. My dear friend […]

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Why I am Not a Midwife

May 5, 2014

Happy International Day of the Midwife everyone! These 23 years of birth work have been quite a journey, and the incredible work of midwifery is a core part of who I am today. Given how many doulas and childbirth educators I meet who dream of “one day” becoming a midwife, I thought I’d take a […]

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Featured Birth Practice: The Fourth Trimester Lactation Support

March 31, 2014

I’m happy to introduce all of you to Gladis & Emily of The Fourth Trimester, providing home-centered lactation support in Tampa Bay, Florida.  I was drawn to their vision for bringing a new approach to lactation support in their community, and their creativity with partnerships & marketing. You work as a team – I’d love […]

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Pinterest 101 for Birth Professionals, or.. How to Have Fun Marketing your Birth Practice

March 28, 2014

I enjoyed a great call with many of you this morning exploring tips & tricks on building your business presence on Pinterest.  The call recording is being released on Monday – if you haven’t signed up yet, be sure to do so and you will receive a link to the recording via email.  REGISTER HERE. […]

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Love Birth – Love Pinterest

March 24, 2014

Do you love Pinterest?  So do I.  I have gathered on my Pinterest boards a lovely collection of craft projects, recipes to try, gift ideas, homeschooling projects, and inspirations for my one-day, long-awaited, much-dreamed-of kitchen reno.  This is of course, my personal Pinterest page. Thankfully, Pinterest allows you to have both a personal page and […]

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The Long Labor of Birthing your Business

March 18, 2014

Yesterday I shared a website page created by one of my clients with another coaching client.  I thought she might be inspired by her unique approach to speaking to the topic of anxiety in pregnancy.  She was of course, wowed by what she saw, but the real magic happened when I sent her praise back […]

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Birth Work not Facebook: Six Tips to Simplify your Time Online

November 13, 2013

Ah… facebook.   I often hear comments of frustration and overwhelm from coaching clients trying to get a handle on how to use facebook effectively for their birth practice.  While finding creative ways to share and engage on facebook is a priority, learning a few of the tips and tricks to help make it easier […]

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