So often on social media I see the question “I’m interviewing birth doulas right away - what should I ask them?”.
And then I see a list of responses...
How many births have they attended?
How much do they charge?
When did they train/where did they train/who did they train with?
Are they certified?
What do they bring in their bag?
Will they meet you at home or not until you move to the hospital?
Will they support home births?
These are great questions - it is an absolute necessity to make sure of the logistical pieces: does the doula you are interviewing have space to take you on at the time of your estimated due date? Are their fees within your budget? Does their training/experience align with your preferences? (not all doulas have taken training!) But it is so incredibly important to also really feel out your fit and connection...
Do you feel a spark with them? Do you have a sense of safety, security and trust with them? Does their personality and communication style match yours? These softer points can’t necessarily be answered with a response to a single question, but are felt more as an overall impression of a person. Take time to just chat - try asking them more open-ended questions that let their personality come through. Some great options are:
What drew you towards birth work?
Do you have your own children, and if so, how do your own birth experiences impact your support style or philosophies?
How many clients do you take on in a month and how do you ensure that they all receive your best self?
What has been the most impactful experience to date in your birthwork career?
Engage in discussion around questions like this and see how you feel as they respond. Does it feel rehearsed and pitch-y or does it feel authentic? Do you connect with the vulnerability or emotion in their answers? Do their answers themselves align with your overall needs, wants or values? Can you see yourself spending more time with them as your pregnancy progresses? If you feel that spark, then connect with it. If they have all the “right” answers to your questions but something feels off or you don’t see yourself wanting to spend more time with them despite having those “right” answers, then trust that too. All those “right” answers won’t necessarily serve you while you’re in the midst of bringing your baby earthside, but wholehearted connection and trust in your birth doula will.
There are entire sections of Pinterest dedicated solely to various interview templates that you can use while you interview a birth doula - I really love this one from Baby Chick.
It’s a great mix of those direct questions you need to ask, and those softer, connection-gauging questions you should ask.
Happy interviewing and if you’ve hired a doula let me know in the comments what the deciding factor was for you!
Lindsey is a DONA certified birth doula and certified prenatal yoga instructor in Calgary, Alberta, CANADA
Lindsey van der Lee
Birth Doula and Prenatal Yoga Instructor
CD(DONA) || CYT250+