When is the best time to book a doula?
For some parents, contacting prospective doulas is at the top of their list of things to do as they start their journey to parenthood. It is a decision which demands careful planning and research. They search the internet for doulas who are local or highly recommended. They check certifications and testimonials. Then come the thorough process of interviewing and finding out if they feel an instinctive connection which tells them that they will be able to trust and invest in their doula. For me, this initial rapport is important and I welcome parents’ questions and interest in my motivations and credentials as a doula. Meetings parents early in pregnancy is useful as it gives me time to know them and establish a relationship which will enable me to support them better in labour. I enjoy seeing parents grow as they get ready to meet their baby. I wait eagerly to get regular updates after appointments with the midwife and I answer questions when the reality of the imminent birth takes place in the mother’s mind. When a doula gets a call in the middle of the night to say that labour has started, it is an exciting culmination of all the meetings and conversations which have taken place in the previous months.
For some parents, however, the thought of hiring a doula does not cross their mind. Sometimes, as the due date approaches, couples will have more and more questions to answers and decisions to make. This can lead to last minute doula enquiries as parents realise that they need some extra support. The prospect of an induction, for example, can trigger an enquiry as parents who were dreaming of an intervention-free active birth are suddenly faced with the reality of a more medicalised labour. These last minute bookings rely on our ability to adapt and form quick bonds with couples. In a short space of time, we have to gain their trust and reassure them that they can still be in control of their birth experience.
So, I would say that it is never too late to book a doula. Although, by leaving things to the last minute, you risk us being already on call for another couple, it is always worth getting in touch. We can arrange meetings at short notice and discuss how we can amend our package (and fees) to suit your individual situation.