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So – when you become a doula you start joining all these online communities where people ask questions and you maybe answer them or just read the answers other people post. Over the years I have quit answering so much and I have spent more time listening. Recently, on my original certifying agency board a woman asked a question about back up for labor doula services. I have seen this question before and never spoke up…. but this time it was different. I knew I had something to share. My response is relatively concise, but it is important to me… This was my response: “After flying solo for six years… I couldn’t take it anymore. I had a couple of back-ups and they were nice ladies, but I was always asking myself how I could make it work better. I never knew when they were going to be out of town. Plus, even though I knew them and we had a shared philosophy – I had never SEEN them be a doula. Two years ago I started a group practice. I LOVE it! It has been the most successful thing I have ever done. We all maintain our own businesses, but we work together to provide better care for our clients. We do births together so we can say – I have seen Amanda at work and she is amazing!. We don’t have a set fee division for sharing births or laborsitting or full coverage. Each birth is unique and we decided it must be treated that way financially as well as emotionally. All of our doulas offer different things: labor doula, postpartum, childbirth education, massage for pregnancy and postpartum, placenta services, etc. There is some overlap and frequently our clients will take childbirth education with one doula, have one labor doula, a different postpartum doula, her massage therapist. That way she gets to know several of the doulas in the group should we need to use a backup for any reason. We do not share call – so the doula you hire is almost always the doula who attends. We now have 5 doulas in our practice, plus we have seen a huge increase in business with this model. We all work full time now and turn away business every month. I can’t encourage you enough to find good back -up. Women with a shared sense of purpose. But, I also encourage you to build your own skills by attending births with your back-up. Working together to provide rounder, better care for your clients and their families. I have always loved my job, but I love it even more now that I have this beautiful group of doula sisters to share it with every day!” My sister doulas saved me. They lift me up when I am struggling. They are there when I cannot be there. I lean on them. I listen to them. They are my community within my community. My safest place as a doula is their arms. When I see doulas struggling to make their births and find back up, I want to help them. This is the only way I know how. So I shout now – “Find YOUR sisters! WORK with them! Learn from them! Build your own community within a community!” You can find out more about our doula practice by asking us! Any of us! ANYTHING! We love what we have created and want to share it with other women – pregnant women, doulas, midwives, IBCLC – we don’t care. We just want everyone to feel the love and comfort that we feel. Kathleen Wilson, Birth and Labor Doula, Placenta Specialist, Childbirth Educator and Lover of all things Birthy! www.laborenabler.com kathleen@laborenabler.com
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