Most doulas work in a solo practice for their clients. All interviews, prenatal visits, on-call time, labour and birth support, and postpartum visits are done by the single doula. Many doulas will work with a select back-up doula (or two) to ensure her clients are covered, if she is called to another birth or is unable to make it. Both Rachel and I began our doula practice this way, and found experience and success.
In the fall of 2013, Rachel and I met at a monthly meeting hosted by our local Calgary Doula Association. Rachel asked our membership at large if anyone was interested in working in partnership, and having never considered this I put up my hand and wanted to learn more. I believe we knew we were on a good track when we decided to meet after our meeting, and one of us suggested coffee and we scoffed and went for a beer instead :D
We immediately knew this partnership idea, model and arrangement would be suitable for both of us, and we saw the potential in what it could mean in our own personal lives and for our clients. Rachel and I do all of our birth doula work with our clients together:
- We meet our potential clients for interviews together
- We do all our prenatal visits together
- We share on call time. At 38 weeks we go on call for our clients, and remain on call until baby is born. We give our clients one number to call, and forward that line to our respective cell phones - so our clients do not need to manage our on-call schedule
- Only one of us attends the birth. If the birth is long, and we are started to tire as a support for our clients, we may switch out at an appropriate time
- We remain on call for our clients for two weeks after baby is born to answer any questions about newborn care, breastfeeding support, and postpartum recovery
- We attend a final postpartum visit together
What this means for our clients is they are offered our combined experience, knowledge, and support. What this means for us as doulas is we can balance our doula work and family life and other commitments, knowing our clients are well covered while we manage multiple priorities. Personally, having this partnership model and having worked in this way for more than a year and half, I can never imagine working in solo practice again. Doulas support - it's what we do. To me, we have the bases covered and can fully commit to this work we love to do. It also helps that we have come to build as much of a loving friendship as we have a doula partnership - love ya Rach!