Teamwork Makes the Dream Work
It’s our anniversary!
We were all talking the other night about how it’s been a year now since we had a meeting to discuss the idea of doula partnerships. In August of last year, Claire gathered about a dozen local doulas together and said she’d read about a model of doula-ing that involves partnerships and that we should really be getting on that bandwagon in the Rochester area. I (Sam) attended because I had recently done about 5 births in the span of two weeks and was a little frazzled about how that was affecting my own kids. Kara and Claire both work full time as teachers and it was hard to find balance between the two.
We deeply love the work that we do as doulas but it can be hard to sustain life on-call with small kids at home and full-time or even part-time jobs. So we realized that if we wanted this to be a life-long career, we’d have to adjust a little bit. Out of all the doulas that attended the meeting, the three of us felt that we vibed really well. Claire said, “Ladies, let’s do this.” and Kara said, “Can we really do this?” and Claire sad, “Oh we’re doing this.” and I said, “I guess we’re doing this.” So we jumped in with both feet.
We got a few things figured out and started meeting with clients together. One of our first clients’ husband jokingly called us “Team Doula” and it just stuck.
But here we are a year later. One of us bought and renovated a new home, one of us got married, and one of us had a baby. It’s been a busy year with lots of new adventures but I’ll speak for all of us and say that this is one of the best things we’ve done. It’s not without hard conversations and learning from mistakes, but the pros well outweigh the cons. It’s good for us and it’s good for our clients. Let us tell you why with a catchy, click-baity top 5 list!
Top 5 reasons why a doula partnership is great for you:
1. Our on-call time begins when you hire us, not two weeks before your due date.
Typically with a single doula, her on-call window begins when you’re 38 weeks pregnant. We essentially live on-call and even if one of us has some blackout dates, the others are still available.
2. You get three brains.
That’s three sets of experiences, three times as much familiarity with doctors, midwives and nurses. When one of us is with you in labor and we’re out of ideas, we text or call the others and our idea buckets fill back up 🙂
3. You always have a fresh doula.
We keep roughly twelve hour shifts, which seems to be around the time when we become less effective because we might be tired or hungry or need to get home to our kids. Another partner comes in and is rested and ready to go.
4. You get more support.
If you’re having a difficult labor or if you’re labeled as high-risk for any reason, we like to work together to give you as much support as possible. So you might end up with 2 or 3 doulas with you the whole time!
5. You know all of us.
One of the best reasons to hire a doula is to have a familiar face show up to support you during labor. Nurses and doctors are variable and you don’t know who you’ll get until you arrive. Doulas who work alone always have a backup but that person is typically a stranger to you. With a partnership, no matter which one of us comes to your birth, you will know her because we’ve been working together and meeting with you collectively all along.
Top 5 reasons why a doula partnership is great for us:
1. We can take time off.
Ya know, like go to a wedding once in a while, leave town, turn the ringer on our phones off, or have more than one glass of wine at dinner. It’s epically amazing.
2. We get three brains.
Because let’s face it, sometimes the one in my head just isn’t enough.
3. We get to see our kids.
It’s really hard to look at our little ones and tell them we’re leaving…for an hour? An afternoon? Three days? It’s so nice to be able to definitively tell them that yes honey, I’ll be there for your chorus concert tomorrow.
4. We can use our talents.
Each of us have our own areas of expertise. I don’t have to worry about the things I’m terrible at because I know one of them is great at it. Claire is a fierce advocate. I can validate the hell out of your feelings. Kara is amazing at massage AND organization. Together we’re basically Captain Planet.
5. We get each other.
I mean they’re two of my favorite people in the world. I’m so lucky I get to have them as coworkers and friends.
So we’re doing this thing. We originally said we’d try it out and just see how it goes but I can’t count the number of times we’ve looked at each other over the past year and said, “Can you BELIEVE we used to do this alone?”. Together is better, for everyone, it just is.