This month we are having a series of articles on ways that birth doulas can get their first few births and have some experience under their belt. In future installments, we’ll highlight other ways to do that, including volunteering, marketing and apprenticeship. If you are interested in being interviewed about how you got your first births, please contact me!
Sometimes when you’re starting out, you want to find those first births by directly saying “hire me!”. I spoke with one doula who took a much different approach. She took time to serve her community, build trust, and become known as a resource. Traci Weafer is a birth doula and Evidence Based Birth instructor in Alabama and she shared her approach with me.
Traci started out holding free groups for parents and families in her community. Each group would attract 3-10 people, and she would answer questions, lead discussion, and distribute free quality evidence based information. It started with friends, acquaintances, and other people in her circle, and spread by word of mouth. These were not meetings to market her doula work, the focus was on service and the families knew that.
Traci says “I made myself available for simple questions outside of my typical doula services. I didn’t actively search for “births” to attend. I wanted to gain the trust of the community first. We quickly want to jump into “doula work” but we forget that we are strangers to those with a need. I focused on quality of service not quantity of how many births I attended.”
Now that she’s more established, Traci still holds free “ask a doula anything” nights. But her clients mostly come from past client and care provider referrals.
I asked Traci if she had any advice for new doulas who are trying to figure out their best path to establishing a doula career: “Be patient. The work builds itself. Doulas are important. Meeting needs and building trust will continue the flow of clients.”
Traci can be reached at her web site Maternal Instincts Doula, and she’s on instagram as tracidoula