Doula Business Tip - Invest in Professional Headshot 1
There are so many expenses when it comes to starting your doula business. You usually shell out a few hundred for training. The required reading list is another hundred or so. Let's face it, the last thing that you probably think about spending money on is a bright and shiny photo of yourself. Why should doulas invest in one?
1) Look professional, Be professional
As much as we don't want it to be true, people judge us on appearance. Professional photographers can make anyone look great. They have the right equipment, lighting and experience to make us look our best. When a client is checking out your doula website they will likely want to see what you look like. I have had several clients mention that they choose to interview me because I looked "normal". I'm not sure what that means to them, but I assume that I look like someone who they would feel comfortable meeting.
2) You are the product, Sell yourself
Our doula websites are setup to sell our services which really means sell ourselves. If you were selling bagels would you take a photo of a half eaten one on a dirty plate? Of course not! You would choose the best looking one taken in the right light. We want our clients to see our photo and have a good feeling about the image that we are portraying. The professional headshot will help you sell yourself.
Have you had one taken? Share your experience in our comments section!
"Don't PUSH!" 1
Ten years ago I took my first real step into the world of birth. I gave birth naturally to my second daughter. My water broke at the start of labor around 5am and she was born at 7:30am. The first 2 hours of the labor were smooth and easy. I was in the zone listening to my Hypnobirthing CD with my headphones. My mom had to force me to head to the hospital because she was sure that the baby was coming quickly. I was in no hurry at all. Once checked in my dilation was found to be 5cm which I was glad about. About 2 contractions later I started to feel the urge to bear down. I ignored it at first and then told my nurse and my husband that I feel like I have to push. My nurse asked if I went natural with my first baby. I said "no".
She said that "its going to feel like that the whole time when you go natural".
That is when I started to really doubt myself. Was it really going to feel like I have to push the WHOLE LABOR? I didn't have long to worry about this because another contraction came and I was pushing. My body was trying to expel my baby. The nurse heard me and said that she would have to check my cervix. She did and yelled to my husband "press the call light!".
Then she told me to do something that should never be told to anyone "Don't push!"
Anyone who has experienced a baby coming out of their body and being told not to push knows how absolutely impossible and cruel this is! After "breathing through" a contraction I looked right into my husband's eyes and said "get someone in here who can deliver this baby NOW". He told the nurse in a VERY strong tone to find someone immediately. She wasn't happy, but went out into the hall and returned with a midwife named Nancy.
Nancy calmly came over to the foot of the bed, looked and me and said "honey, you don't have to stop pushing anymore".
My husband loves to describe what happened next as "Out came the baby like a bar of wet soap". It really did happen that way. She shot out so fast that I actually said "Was that the baby?". Seconds later the baby was in my arms and we realized that we had another daughter. I was overjoyed and completely shocked. Was it over already? I just gave birth naturally!
It was a wonderful birth, but definitely could have been better with a doula! A doula could have told me to trust the urge to bear down and to follow my body's lead. She could have whispered in my ear that I don't have to stop pushing, that the nurse could actually catch the baby. If I had a doula I might not even be birthing with that OB practice or that hospital (my next 2 were homebirths).
If only I had known about doulas.
At that time in my life I didn't even know what a doula was. I could never have predicted that 10 years later I would have been in my 9th year of doula-ing and running a business for doulas. I have a client experiencing prodromal labor as I write this post and might even be helping out another mom on the day that I celebrate this birthing day...we will see!
My last birth - items used from my Doula Bag 6
"What should I pack for birth?" is often a question that I am asked when I teach childbirth class. After each birth I like to reorganize my bag and make a list of items used. At my birth last Saturday I used the following: Battery Operated Candles, Peppermint Oil, Happy Mama Spray and the Labor Progress Handbook.
My favorite item was the Happy Mama Spray. This spray has the most wonderful smell. It is a mix of Grapefruit and Ginger. Spray around the room and everyone will have a positive spirit, especially the laboring mama.
What items did you use at your last birth?
Meet my doula... 0
Last night I was at a fundraiser with my husband and a few friends when a women came up to me and tapped me on the shoulder. She said "Excuse me, but is your name Alice?". I said "Yes" to which she immediately replied "You were my doula!" She introduced herself and said that her son was now 5 years old. She said that she knows that I work with many couples and that I probably don't remember her. The good news was that in fact I did remember her. I remembered her birth fairly well! I recounted some of the details and she was so excited that I remembered. I was excited too. The best part of our meeting came when she introduced me to her friend. She said "This is my doula, Alice, she helped me have the birth experience I wanted. It was wonderful". This absolutely made my day! As doulas, this is our goal. We want to help clients have the birth experiences they want. It is such a wonderful feeling when we can achieve this goal.
I love this job!
Why I Need Doula Friends... 3
Let's face it, no one really understands what it is like to be a doula unless you are a doula. Right? If you haven't lived through a marathon birth existing on caffeine, protein bars and a banana then you just don't really get it. If you couldn't imagine why someone would choose to sleep in a hospital bathtub, then you just don't get it. When you try to explain to other friends why you were up with a client for 36 hours straight without more than 5 minutes of sleep they just don't get it.
A doula gets it.
I need doula friends. I need to have someone to talk to that has been there. I need someone who knows what a birth hangover feels like. I need someone who understands how you can feel a whole range of emotions after a birth. Having a doula to help process a birth is an incredible blessing. Having a doula to call on the ride home after a birth so that they can help 'keep you awake' is crucial. Cynthya Dzialo (The Happiest Doula) is one of those friends for me. We should get together more often because there is always too much to discuss!
I hope you have a doula friend or many that really 'gets' you.
I'm a professional doula 0