So maybe you've heard that Richmond Doulas is hosting our quarterly Meet the Doulas on August 31 at Richmond OB/GYN from 6:30-8:00. Maybe you are a curious expectant family, or maybe you are a doula who has never attended one of these events before. Are you wondering what to expect? This blog post will answer questions that both families and doulas may have about this fun event that RD sponsors four times a year! Maybe you'll decide to mark it down on your calendar and come on out to sit with some wonderful, passionate birth and postpartum doulas, and meet other expectant families. Or maybe you'll decide to officially join RD and come to the event to meet with potential clients!
Richmond Doulas has been hosting a Meet the Doulas for many years and it has evolved! We've found that a great way to use our time efficiently is for families to conduct five minute interviews one-on-one with doulas who are available for their due month and postpartum period. Here's how it works:
We start off with introductions and of course, there are snacks. We sometimes have a 5-10 minute presentation on a topic of interest, like car seat safety or breastfeeding. A postpartum doula and a birth doula take five minutes each to explain what they do, and answer any questions families may have.
Then we start the interviews! Each family will sit in a cluster of chairs, so that the doulas can visit them. Older siblings are welcome to attend the event. The estimated due date for the family is written on a balloon or taped to the chair, so that the doulas can visit with families who they know they are available for. This matching takes out so much of the annoying "are you available" legwork that families have to do when contacting doulas.
Although most families come expecting to meet birth doulas, oftentimes they find that they are interested in hiring a postpartum doula who supports the family for the first three months of baby's life, and sometimes beyond. Both birth and postpartum doulas are in attendance--we usually have about 50/50.
We time 5 minutes and then the doulas rotate around for about 8 interviews. (about 40 minutes of rapid interviewing is enough for expectant families and pregnant bladders!) We give families a list of suggested questions to ask and a clipboard to take notes on, but really this is just a quick way to see if there is anybody that you click with.
Usually there are about 10-15 doulas in attendance and 1-10 families, and usually most doulas are able to meet with almost everybody they are available for. (We do some quick math based on the attendance and calculate a number of interviews for the doulas to expect.)
After the interviews are over, we usually have about 20 minutes for families and doulas to mingle.
We collect email addresses from the families and with the family's permission, email them a list of available doulas, including ones who weren't able to attend the event, so they can follow up with anybody they might have clicked with.
Sometimes families do hire a doula based soley on the five minute Meet the Doulas interview, but usually they will want to do a longer interview, either over the phone, after the event is over, or at a longer in-person meeting.
Meet the Doulas is a fun, informal and efficient way to narrow down what could be an intimidating list of doulas from DoulaMatch and meet with a lot of passionate, nurturing and supportive women who are available for your specific due month and postpartum period.
And it's also a great way for newer doulas to get some interview skills under their belt, without all of the time consuming trips to Panera Bread or Starbucks for private interviews.
As a brand new doula, I learned what questions expectant families may ask, what they were interested in, and I learned how to listen more than talk at an interview. I learned how to "doula" a family through the interviewing process if they were unsure. I even learned what clothes I felt comfortable wearing while at a doula interview! MTD helps you figure this out, and other dynamics of doula interviewing, in a low stakes way!
If you've attended MTD in the past, or are planning on coming to one, what worked for you at the event? What made you decide to attend a MTD? What are you hoping to come away with, either as a doula, or as a family?
*Richmond Doulas is not a doula agency but a non-profit collective of doulas serving the Richmond area. Richmond Doulas’ current membership includes 35+ doulas with a combined experience of over 500 families served. We are just as dedicated to supporting each other as we are to the families that we serve. When you decide to work with any one of our doulas you can be confident that your doula has the support of our collective membership behind them.*
*If you are a doula, please feel free to come on out to this event, whether you are a member of RD yet or not. However, if you would like to meet with expectant families, we do require that you have officially joined. You can join at the event. Our membership requirements are that you are trained by a certifying organization, (you do not need to have completed certification), you have paid the $40/year dues and you agree to our bylaws. Please contact us for more info on joining!