Hello blogtober readers!
We have had a great time with our doula blog a day in October and want to have some fun on this last blog. The first 5 people to comment on this post by telling us which of our posts was their favorite will get a free doula bumper sticker!
Now...on to our Blogtober Special Doula Sale Items. All sale prices are good through the end of 10/31/2013 at midnight Pacific Time.
1) Portable Ice Bin regular price $11.50 is on special for $7.50 today!
2) Labor NotesPad regular price $15.50 is on special for $10.50 today!
3) Doula World Birth Ball Cover regular price $49.50 is on special for $36.50 today!
Seen here on a peanut, but fits 65cm round too.
Thanks to all of our contributors and readers of October's special Blogtober series of doula centered blogs. I hope that you found a blog or two that made you smile, taught you something or just made you feel good. I enjoyed putting the blogs together and am proud of the results.
One final day remains and I'll give you a little hint about the content...Blogtober SALE!! Be sure to check in tomorrow to see what fun items we have at a special price.
In the doula spirit!
Owner and Doula
When I first signed up for twitter I was completely clueless as to how it works. All I knew is that "I should be on twitter". If you aren't on twitter yet, I encourage you to jump in and get started. Signup for an account and start following other doulas. You can search for the word "doula" and you'll find thousands of doulas on twitter. It is awesome. Just when I think that I am following all of the doulas on twitter I find more to follow.
Here are some helpful articles to check out about twitter.
Hashtags to checkout:
#doulaparty, #doula, #birthpro, #birthedu
Just a few of the great birthy types to follow:
The best way to get to know twitter is to get out there and experience it. If you are already on twitter please share your handle in our comments section.
I have a doula dream.
It's a small dream that I believe could achieve a huge result.
I want to remove all of the pain scale posters that plague the laboring rooms of hospitals around the world and replace them with inspirational messages and images. Wouldn't it be inspiring in labor to look up and see a sign like this one? Would anyone really miss the sign with the smiley face that eventually turns into a frowning and crying face?
Let's inspire women during labor.
Let's boost their confidence and be their cheerleader.
I'm going to start with one of my local hospitals. I can't be sure that I'll make any headway, but I know that it won't happen if I don't try.
Care to join me in this effort?
Everyone knows the expression "A watched pot won't boil" and I imagine most doulas have felt the similarity with labor. I have had several clients over the years have out of town family come into town prior to the birth so that they can be there when the baby is born. The days go by without a baby and the family has to either extend their stay or leave before the baby arrives. Many times I have seen labor start the moment that the family has to return. This has happened so many times that I actually warn clients about the watched pot phenomenon.
Have you seen this happen?
When I first started my doula work I put a lot of thought into my doula snack. When I say a lot, I really mean it. Everything was considered when choosing the right thing to put in my doula bag. "Will this give me bad breath?" "Will this smell?" "Will this keep me satisfied for hours?" "Will this stay fresh in my bag?" "Will this be noisy when I eat it?"
I ended up packing a variety of items which usually consisted of
1) a couple of Power Bars
2) some nuts
3) a banana
It wasn't a bad snack combination. There was protein and fresh fruit. But...There were 2 big problems with my snack strategy.
First problem...I HATED IT.
After a few years of births using this snack strategy I got to a point that I hated power bars. I HATED them. I would be starving at a birth and would just look at my sad power bar waiting to be consumed. I just did not want to eat them any more. I was so sick of them. I tried so many types only to end up being sick of all of them. There just wasn't anything satisfying about those bars.
Second problem...I NEEDED THE BREAK.
Once I realized that I hated my snacks, I started leaving my clients and taking a proper break to have a meal. When I started out in my doula career I couldn't imagine leaving a client. Why would I do that? Now I have realized that I need a break. A break is SO good for me. Leaving my client and taking a short (10-15 minute) break for a meal completely changes my mood. I am recharged. I am bright eyed and ready to go. I usually just pop down to the hospital cafeteria which is my no means gourmet food, but it makes me so happy. Sometimes this break gives my mind a chance to think about the birth from a different angle. I get ideas on my breaks that wouldn't happen if I was munching on a protein bar in the labor room.
Of course this strategy isn't for everyone. We all have to find our own ways of making this unusual profession work best for us and our clients.
How do you snack? Do you like take a meal break or can't imagine leaving for a meal? Share!!
by: Cynthya Dzialo
When I first began working as a birth doula, I felt obligated to keep my fees in line with what other newly certified doulas were charging in my area. This meant charging little more than one or two hundred dollars per birth and slowly increasing this amount over the span of a couple years work. Due to my lack of understanding and counseling of peers, I started my new career by contracting with clients who paid very little for my work. This was a HUGE mistake for several reasons!
First, I was unable to differentiate myself as a service provider by matching the rates of other birth doulas. When charging the same price for equal features, I appeared as if I was like any other new doula in my area offering the same value or benefit when contracted. Keep in mind that some people prefer to pay a higher price because they believe it affords them greater value and more personal attention.
Second, I was devaluing myself and the profession as a whole by charging less than $300 for labor support. This told potential clients and interested parties that doula support was worth very little overall, which is not an effective way to create a demand for our work or build a good rapport with the medical community.
Later on, I learned that when my clients were pregnant again and wanted me as their doula, they weren't willing to pay my higher rate. The first 15+ clients who paid around $300 for birth support balked at my new fee of $600 after a few years of additional experience (100+ birthdays). These clients didn't value my gained knowledge but only the previously paid low price. Even offering these repeat clients a discount of $100 still didn't secure me as their doula every time!
In the early years, to cover monthly expenses, I had to take many clients at once to pay the bills. This negatively affected me and my clients and I was unable to truly be present with them due to a lack of sleep, stress, and too much work to do. I was easily distracted, overwhelmed, and often sick. Since then, I have raised my rates significantly and contract with less clients per month, allowing me to provide them with excellent customer service. I've developed happy clients that rave about my services and we all feel better about the equal exchange of money and value.
If you appreciate this post, please share it with your doula friends. I invite all of you to take part in a new membership program for doulas and other childbirth professionals called The Doula Academy, which will open for enrollment in 2014. To be included in the launch, please sign up for the newsletter here: http://thehappiestdoula.com/calling-all-doulas/. Until then, follow me for more business advice and doula tips @happiestdoula or at http://www.pinterest.com/happiestdoula. See you soon!
Be well and happy,
The Happiest Doula
Cynthya Dzialo is a birth doula in Atlanta, GA and operates a childbirth organization called The Happiest Doulas. Her team of labor doulas give clients a wide variety of birth support ranging from "natural" birth to planned cesareans and nearly everything in between, including using hypnosis for childbirth. Recently, Cynthya partnered with the staff at Northside Hospital in Atlanta, GA to create a workshop for the Labor and Delivery nurses that helps them further support both unmedicated and medicated childbirth.
Watch and see how to upload your doula files
YourDoulaBiz, our doula business management program, has just been upgraded! Users now have the ability to upload and store their client files directly with their client information. This new feature is just another way that YourDoulaBiz makes running your business easy!
Uploading files like your doula contract and your client's birth plan is another way to share this information easily with your backup doula. When you use our share with backup function the files are shared as well. This is an effortless way to transfer the information if and when the need may arise.
Having an extra backup of your files is another great benefit to uploading your important client files to YourDoulaBiz. Should your computer crash or be stolen your files will be safe and sound in the YourDoulaBiz database.
What's stopping you from taking charge of your doula business and managing with ease using YourDoulaBiz.com?
Too many times I have seen labors negatively impacted by very well meaning visitors. A very kind grandmother to be can sit quietly in the corner of a birthing room wringing her hands and biting her nails which only makes the laboring mom concerned. A sweet sister might ask nicely about when laboring mom will be getting her epidural which is the last thing that mom wants to hear. I've seen labors slow and even stop when a well meaning visitor arrives.
Before you extend invitations to your friends and family to be part of your labor and birth please consider this warning. I have developed a very quick and easy test to weed out the visitors that might not be right for this occasion.
Labor/Birth Visitor Test
1) I feel comfortable doing the following in front of this visitor?
i) All of the above
If you answered i) All of the above then you should consider the following list of to-dos.
1) Talk everything over with your partner. You both should be in agreement when it comes to this important aspect of the big day.
2) Tell all visitors what you expect of them. Do you want them to support, comfort, help your partner, get food etc.
3) Tell visitors about your birth preferences. They should know how you want it to go.
4) Make sure all visitors know that you can change your mind at any time and kick them out of the room. Reserve this right up front!
If you aren't 100% confident in your selection of visitors then don't invite them to be part of this big day. There will be plenty of time once the baby arrives for visitors. You are allowed to keep things quiet, personal and free from company. Your birth is not a baby shower or a party. It is a once in a lifetime day. Choose your visitors (or lack of) wisely!