For decades, doulas would operate as a solo practice, acting as the only doula for their clients.
The flaw in this method comes in when life happens, something comes up, and that doula is unable to attend the birth. The client has already become close with her doula and has shared her birth preferences with her. Many families choose a doula because they want a constant, known person to attend their birth. They want somebody they have formed a relationship with and who knows them and their birthing preferences.
So what happens when the solo doula gets sick, cannot find childcare for their child, has an unexpected emergency where they need to go out of town, or even more likely, has another client go into labor at the same time. Solo doulas try to take a limited number of clients each month so as to avoid this scenario, but some people go into labor early, late, or right on time. Birth is unpredictable like that.
In a rush to find another person to take their place with their client, the doula contacts their primary back-up doulas they know and trust. If they are unavailable, the doula often posts a mass message to all the doulas she knows, asking for anyone to attend the birth in her place.
For the clients, this means someone they don’t know pops into their birth while they are laboring. Some of the time, it means they go without support because they prefer that to inviting someone they don’t know into the emotional, vulnerable, and intimate time of having a baby. For those who do accept the assistance of a back-up, some are satisfied with their experience and some are left disappointed, after all, if they wanted the back-up doula, they could have just hired her in the first place.
A newer concept in the doula industry is the partnership model of care.
Upon contacting Music City Doulas, two doulas are assigned to the client. Both doulas attend the consultation, which is a time where the family first gets to meet and gets to know their doulas to establish that initial connection.
After the consultation and the hiring process, the family has access to both doulas throughout the remainder of the pregnancy their phone and email support. They are able to ask questions, obtain referrals and recommendations for other services they are seeking, and discuss their birthing goals and desires. Both doulas attend the prenatal visit to discuss the birth plan, walk through the labor process, and talk about birthing options.
Our doula pairs share a call schedule, so when a client goes into labor, they call the doula on call and she attends the birth. If, for some reason, she cannot attend the birth for any of the reasons listed above, the other doula attends. This is not some random back-up doula they are meeting for the first time while they are in labor.
After the baby is born, the doula who was not at the birth gives the family a call to congratulate them and check in and see how everything went.
Having two doulas from contract signing ensures for families that they know the person who will be attending their birth and that person knows them, their personalities, and their birth preferences and they already have a relationship with them.