I am beyond excited about the new statement released from ACOG. It is absolutely incredible. I CAN'T WAIT for this news to travel down to actual changes in care. I want to print out this statement and carry it in my doula bag. I want to give a copy to all of my childbirth education students. I want to shout the information from the rooftops!
There are so many great things to be happy about with this statement. Lamaze's Science and Sensibility Blog does a nice job summarizing the information. Some of my favorites include:
1) Published data indicate that one of the most effective tools to improve labor and delivery outcomes is the continuous presence of support personnel, such as a doula.
2) Active Labor is now 6cm
3) Induction of labor can increase the risk of cesarean.
Send me a photo of you jumping for joy and I'll add it to the page. Let's show ACOG how happy we are!
Allison is jumping for joy in BC, Canada!
Carrie is jumping for joy.
If you are ready to be remembered, give your contacts something more memorable than a business card. How about a rice sock with your business logo on it?
5 steps to GRAB the attention of a potential client
1) Contact your referral partners and ask if they will give away rice socks to their pregnant clients. Their clients get a free tool for labor and it is at no cost to your referral partner.
3) Attach a business card to the rice socks with a rubber band. (this step is optional) You can add a discount coupon to the card if you are running a promotion.
4) Deliver rice socks to referral partners
5) Wait for the referrals to come flooding in!
In the first few weeks of the year my top priority is to set the goals for my doula business for the upcoming year. I used to scribble this down on paper, then started keeping the list electronically. For 2013, I made the leap to a more professional and FUN method of tracking goals called "Create Your Amazing Year". This women-centric workbook just begs to be completed with its fun artwork and great fill in the blank style. One of the goals that I have written down for the year is to keep in touch with past clients.
Why I keep in touch with past clients
I get so much pleasure out of seeing recent photos, hearing stories and just connecting with people that I have worked with in the past. Doing things that make you happy can't be bad, right?
2) I love referrals
I love getting a referral from a past client. If you clients will send their friends your way then you know that they were please with your work. Booking up with referral makes you job of marketing much easier. You won't have to spend time looking for clients if they come looking for you.
3) I love repeat clients (even more that referrals)
How fun is it to work with a couple again? I love it! Once you have established that working relationship it makes number 2 or 3 or 4 much easier and so fun too. Keeping in touch will help your client remember to make you one of the first people to tell about their pregnancy.
How I keep in touch
My favorite way to keep in touch with my clients is by remembering their child's birthday. I'll admit that some months go by without me remembering to do this (and that is why I have made it a goal!). If you are a YourDoulaBiz user then this process is very easy. At the end of every month, YourDoulaBiz users receive a Birthday Reminder Report for the following month. This report contains a list of all clients who gave birth in the upcoming month and all of the important information (name, gender, birthdate, email, address). Once I get this report, I will either send a birthday card or an email with my birthday wishes. If I have a new childbirth class or service offering I might include a little note about what I'm up to and how I so appreciate their referrals.
Keeping in touch with past clients is a big goal for me this year. Will you add it to your list?
When I decided to leave the world of database programming and enter the field of doula work I never imagined how my life would change. Life as a birth doula is so hard to describe. Let me attempt to explain the profession by boiling it down to 3 words: unpredictable, crazy and wonderful.
One adjective that describes all childbirth is unpredictable. In this world which is so planned, controlled and scheduled this aspect of birth makes it quite unique. Due to its unpredictability, doulas never really know when they will be working and therefore spend a lot of their time living life on call. For a doula, life on call means living your life in a way that you can pick up and leave at a moment’s notice. It involves a series of contingency plans and usually requires village of support who can step in when the doula is called to work. Once at work, the amount of time required is also unpredictable. It could be a 5 hour process or a 40 hour process. There is really no way to reliably foresee.
While the unpredictability of the job makes it challenging for sure it also makes it exciting. Each birth involves different people, often different locations and different requirements. The unpredictability definitely keeps away boredom!
adj, -zier or -ziest
While the first definition listed for crazy doesn’t apply, #2 (fantastic, strange, ridiculous) definitely describes life as a doula. How else would you describe staying up for hours on end and then deciding to turn a hospital bathtub into your bed…ridiculous…crazy! Spending hours fanning a mom while making low ‘ooohs and aaahs’ with her is a bit strange…crazy. Helping a mom switch positions which results in her baby descending, crowning and birthing in minutes is surely fantastic…crazy.
What birth doulas actually do at work probably seems crazy to most people. We do what needs to be done and doulas are usually pretty open to doing whatever will help. We are a blank slate, a clean page, we are ready and willing to do whatever we can even it might be crazy.
Witnessing a woman labor and birth a child can definitely be described as wonderful. I am often in wonder at the power and strength of a woman in labor. The process of labor and birth itself is excellent…wonderful.
The way I feel being a doula can surely be described as wonderful. Receiving a thank you note from a client that says “I don’t have words for how powerful and empowering it was to have my desired birth experience.” is absolutely excellent…wonderful. Knowing that you have made a positive impact on the lives of others during such an important life event is wonderful.
**thanks to my awesome 2 time client for letting me use this beautiful photo of her daughter!
I love January. It's fresh and full of possiblities. The year stretches out before me and is full of potential.
Every January I take time out of my normal routine to set my goals for the year and work on a plan to achieve them. I always enjoyed this process, but I didn't have an organized method until I found Leonie Dawson's Create Your Amazing Year Calendar + Workbook. This workbook really makes goal setting and planning enjoyable. The workbook is loaded with important questions to consider such as income growth for the year and social media goals. It also suggests that you start by examining 2013. I would often skip this step when I planned on my own. I was too excited about thinking about the upcoming year that I forgot to check in on how the previous year went (duh!). Beyond the content of the workbook, the female-centric look and feel makes me smile. It doesn't feel like a cold accounting ledger. It's kind of dreamy and that's the attitude I like when planning for the future!
I think most doulas are called to the work and are passionate about it. That doesn't mean that we shouldn't treat it like a real profession and want to earn a living doing this work that we love. I don't know for certain if writing down goals makes them more likely to be achieved, but personally it is a requirement in my life. I must write my goal down. I must make a plan to achieve it. If I don't take those steps them my business doesn't grow and I don't grow. I highly encourage everyone to take some time to work on their goals and plans for the new year. It will take time and effort, but I think the payoff is worth it.
One of my personal goals: Teach 8 childbirth class series and teach 15 private childbirth classes in 2014
Care to share one of yours?
2013 was a busy year for me. Thanks for letting me share some of my memories....
I wonder what adventures I'll go on in 2014!