Oh, those urban doula myths...they just keep circulating...
I'm always fully booked.
The reality: It's never too late to call to see if I have an opening! Many clients call as soon as they're pregnant, but, it's never too early nor too late to call. Sometimes, clients birth early (or move away) making room for a last-minute client. So, please email, text or phone me and then you'll know for sure!
I work with 7-10 clients per month.
The reality: Eek! I'm a busy doula, but not because I work with that many clients. I actually book an average of 4 clients per month (to a maximum 50 births a year). That way, I am able to attend 98% of my client's births each year, and rarely need a back-up doula.
Why the myths might have started:
Myth #1: Yes, I am often fully booked within a month or two of a due date, so please call early. I have a lot of repeat clients, but there's still space for "first births". Call early and call often!
Myth #2: Yes, there are some rare months when I might attend six births. Earlier this year, one baby was born at 32 weeks, one at 38, one at 40, and another at 42 weeks - all in a 6 day period. Then two more babies came the very next week. Nature has a wry sense of humour. My "4 births a month" goal can be just a dream sometimes.
Deeper into the reality:
So, with just four booked clients a month, I often do short "tea visits" before a client books me. Then I make two prenatal visits with each family in their home...and I might squeeze in an extra visit if a client would benefit from the extra care in the final anxious weeks. I also allow lots of time for postpartum visits, and any extra breastfeeding help that might be needed. Yes, I often have to reschedule some visits repeatedly so I can attend births, but that's the way birth works. It's random. It's unexpected. It's also amazing.
Because I walk, cycle, or drive an EVO car share to client visits in my small catchment area, there's a natural slow pace to each day. Today, my first prenatal visit was at 9am, but I was able to chat with another postpartum client on the phone as I walked over (yes, the end of the phone call was spied by my client, as I stood on a blustery corner below her window). Then I walked to Matchstick to warm up before my second "repeat client" visit, while answering new client emails. Later, I talked with some postpartum clients before popping over to see another family for their first prenatal visit. All told, I had three client visits today, and connected with another 11 clients.
11 client chats in a day? That's right. I always tell my clients that "I'm yours forever", so I do spend time each day connecting with former clients, answering their questions, brainstorming, and talking about breastfeeding, parenting, sleep!, growth spurts, baby-led weaning, and more sleep! It keeps me current, connected. And I hope each client comes away feeling uplifted, confident that she can trust her instincts and her baby.
Slow and Simple Parenting:
I also spend as many days as I can (hopefully, 2+ days a week) with "the boys", my twin grandsons, to do field research for Slow and Simple parenting. (Okay...it's not just research!)
So, please don't hesitate - give me a call. If I don't pick up right away, I might just be slowly riding my bike to a client visit. Or I might be at the beach with two little boys. Yes, I'm a busy doula. But be assured, I'll call you as soon as I can!