When searching for the right doula, parents want the best of the best for their upcoming birth. Sure, a seasoned doula that’s been in the business for a long time has great benefits, but doulas with less experience are a wonderful choice as well. In this blog post I discuss why I think new doulas are better than what most expecting parents think.
Why New Doulas are Better Than You Think
I’ve been a doula since 2007 and have been around the block a bit. I’ve worked with midwives, obgyns, other doulas, and attended births at “all the places” here in my local community. Over time I’ve seen hospital policies change, lots of different types of births, and survived the on-call lifestyle. I am well worth my fee.
That being said, when discussing doula options with my childbirth class students (after they realize I’m not available) I sometimes encourage them to reach out to newer or less experienced doulas. I know a new doula could likely “out doula” me in a heartbeat. Here’s why.
Excited to Doula
New doulas are better than you think because they are fresh, new, and simply excited to be at births doing what they love. There is a twinkle in their eye, an eagerness to witness the miracle of birth, and they are generally happy to be woken up at 2 am. They are all in.
New doulas aren’t burned out by the years of being on call, or jaded by certain care providers behaving badly. They are altruistic, innocent, and honored to help a woman through childbirth. Their excitement is palpable.
There are great benefits to inviting an eager, fresh, and excited doula to your birth.
A common barrier to doula support is cost. Some parents don’t realize they would want a doula until closer to their due date but at that point the money is just not there. Other parents just assume all doulas are expensive and don’t even bother looking!
New doulas are typically less expensive than their counterparts. When I first started doula work I made $250 per birth and now I charge $1000. That’s a big difference!
If money is a barrier to doula support, consider hiring a newer doula. They may be more affordable than you think!
New doulas are better than you think because they have more availability than the seasoned/more popular doulas. You may be their only client that month! What this means is they probably won’t have two clients in labor at the same time (it happens!) and are therefore less likely to need or use a backup doula.
Also, newer doulas are more likely to sacrifice time with family and friends just to be with you. They are more likely to power through the 30+ hour births, choose you over their child’s school performance, and not go on vacations.
Seasoned doulas, however, have learned to set boundaries, stick to their commitments, and prioritize family life over doula work. For better or worse, with newer doulas you have better odds of having the doula you hired actually attend your birth!
More of Them
Every year doulas become more and more popular. Even Meghan Markle was rumored to have one! The more popular doulas are, the more they appear. There are new doulas here, there, and everywhere. It’s simple supply and demand!
(Take a look at the available doulas in your area by using the tool Doula Match. If I had to guess, there are probably a lot more newer doulas than there are seasoned doulas. Was I right? Leave a comment and let me know.)
A benefit of using a new doula is that there are a whole lot more of them out there than experienced doulas. When there are more doulas, there are more options for expecting families. When there are more options, finding the right doula for the right woman is more likely to happen. A win-win!
Eager to Learn
New doulas have recently been through trainings and workshops, are working through their certification, reading lots of books, have the input from a mentor doula, and are hungry for more. They soak in all the latest research, trends, techniques. They know so much!
Recently, I met a few new doulas at a three day birth conference (three days!) and their desire to learn the latest information was inspiring. One of them definitely had me beat in the spinning babies department. She had a really good handle on optimal fetal positioning – more than I ever have!
New doulas are better than you think because they are very eager to learn, and continue their education. They want to be the best doulas they could possibly be. This is great news for new parents!
Increased Energy and Stamina
Being on call year after year is really hard, you guys. Really hard. And it takes its toll. If you don’t practice self-care and hold fast to those healthy boundaries, eventually you’ll get burned out, or worse, suffer from health complications.
But for now, new doulas aren’t burned out and are pretty healthy. They’re full of energy and stamina and are ready to serve you! By hiring a new doula, you’ll likely benefit from where she’s at in her career.
(No, not all seasoned doulas are burned out and tired, but many are. If they’re still in the business, they’ve likely figured out how to manage the on-call lifestyle in a healthy way.)
Fired Up and Ready for Change
One of the most exciting things about new doulas is that they are fired up about things like mother and baby centered care, evidence based birth, and informed consent. Not only are they fired up, but they are ready to make change happen. You will find new doulas advocating for change in your local community, and perhaps even on a larger scale.
Doulas are sometimes the movers and shakers behind changing legislation and policy change in local hospitals. Often these same doulas will one day pursue careers as midwives, doctors, lobbyists, or hey, maybe even a writer like me. 😉
Case in point, below are some fun photos from a 2012 Improving Birth Rally in Tallahassee, FL. There were a lot of newer doulas in attendance!
Why New Doulas are Better Than You Think
I hope that this blog post was both an encouragement to expecting parents, but to also newer doulas as well. There is so much benefit to having a doula present at a birth, even if it’s a brand new doula. Just because a doula is new does not mean she has less value! (And, remember, she could likely “out doula” me any day.)