The first doula that I interview is a full-time licensed massage therapist who specializes in prenatal massage. And I love massage. But she talks for almost an entire hour about what she does and what her experiences have been. I don’t open my mouth except for the last ten minutes when I’m finally able to ask questions. Once I hear that she will “join me at the hospital,” I know that she is not the doula for me. I want to find someone who will labor at home with me during early labor.
The second doula is actually a group of doulas. Their website looks soft and inviting. Peaceful women, focused on laboring, a close-up of one hand comforting another. The links are informative and their “About Us” page talks about birth as empowering and natural. They are based out of Cincinnati, but according to their website, they are willing to travel as far north as Dayton. When I call for a consultation, one of the doulas tells me that they are having a meet-and-greet at a Panera in northern Cincinnati. Would I be able to come on Saturday?
I am able to go, but Doug has a prior commitment. When I arrive at the meet-and-greet, I feel like the ugly single girl who has shown up late to a party—and all the other girls have dates. Everyone is sitting in a circle with their scones and tea and they are introducing themselves. It feels like a reverse interview, where the doulas are interviewing their potential clients. The first couple is looking for a doula in September. The next couple needs one in August. Then another in August.
“We just found out that we’re pregnant, so we’re due in late November or December. But we weren’t able to get these ladies the last time we got pregnant, so we’re not messing around this time!”
Laughter among the couples. One of the doulas blushes.
Another couple for August. Someone else for September.
It’s my turn and I reveal that, I too, am looking for a doula in August. “I feel silly asking this, but do you even have availability for August? I mean four of us are looking for August. Could you accommodate all four of us?”
The doulas look at each other. The older one defers to the younger one, who looks at her planner.
“Well… we still have availability for August, but it’s filling up fast. So what I would do…” she looks around at the August couples, “…is talk with one of us immediately after this if you’re interested and we’ll go ahead and set up a consultation.”
“Oh.” I thought this was the consultation.
But I’m done with these ladies. They may be awesome, but I’m not going to feel like I’m the lucky one here. I’m the one having the baby.
I leave without talking to either of the doulas.