pregnancy, birth & lactation services… at home
So, I’ve had something on my mind lately and I decided I’d share my thought here since it just became a reality in my life. It’s an especially good topic for those interviewing a doula or midwife, too.
As a doula (and future midwife) I have to set boundaries upon the areas I can service. I have boundaries because I know I can travel to a laboring family in a reasonable amount of time within the distance I have created for myself (approximately a 40 mile radius around my home).
When a call comes in, I have to re-check my supplies (be sure everything I need, including food, cash, drinks, phone charger, etc) are all in place. I have to dress/pack up my kiddos to get to my childcare provider (whose schedule I have already confirmed) and I have to shuffle everyone into the van. Then comes the drive to childcare, the goodbyes and then I’m off to the client’s home (or birth center or hospital- wherever we’ve decided to meet). During this drive, I may encounter traffic (in my area, this included buggies and tractors), so I have to factor that into my estimated time of arrival.
In my contract, I specify that it could take up to two hours after I am called to a client for me to actually arrive. It hasn’t ever taken this long (thankfully!), but depending on where the client resides, it could.
I was just invited to interview as a doula for a fellow birth worker. This birth worker lives in a city about 60 miles from my home. On a good day, I can hop on the highway and be there in about an hour. On a day I have to drop off my kids or deal with traffic, we’re talking at least 3 hours (that is, IF the traffic is only due to rush hour and not due to an accident). I had to decline the invite to interview because I realized I can’t reliably make it to this client in a reasonable amount of time.
The other consideration is knowledge of local resources. Since I moved to northern Lancaster County in August of 2013, I’ve been cultivating a network of resources that are available to my clients. Need a pediatrician who won’t give you a hard time about delayed vaccination? I have a name for you. Need to know the local health food store where you can pick up pine tar soap? I can give you the address. Need to know which local OB is actually friendly toward VBAC and isn’t just saying it? Yep- I’ve got you covered. Knowing what’s available for clients in the area where they live is so important- its part of what a doula can offer to clients during their pregnancy and postpartum time. Only a doula familiar with the local area has ready access to this information.
When you are interviewing a doula (or midwife), remember to ask them about their service area. Depending on traffic patterns and flow, location of childcare, and distance of their home from yours, how long might it actually take your doula/midwife to join you for your birth? Are you satisfied with this distance/time consideration? Does the doula know what’s available in your area and know how to hook you up with whatever you’re looking for? Is that important to you?
Some birth workers are happy to offer service in areas they don’t frequent. That may be just fine- or you may be dissatisfied that you didn’t have a doula who was closer or more familiar with your local area.
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