The theme of this blog post? Mostly the importance of regular communication (to me, and my clients, at least anyway), but also a slight rant near the beginning over something that I (yes I!) was told by a fellow doula this morning.
So, this morning I was told, in no uncertain terms, that *I* communicate FAR TOO MUCH with my clients. Apparently my preferred twice a week schedule of me INITIATING contact with my clients is TOO MUCH for some doulas to accept as OK and what some clients WANT - and I don’t mean asking if they’ve had any niggles or if labour has started, I specifically mean a CHECK IN to see how my client is feeling, if they have any concerns or updates from a recent checkup, to make sure that they are feeling physically and mentally/emotionally well etc, it’s ALL ABOUT THE CLIENT – and I *SHOULD* be reducing it to once a fortnight at most, and that if I was *HER* doula she would be very upset with me for contacting her so much and likely block my number if I did so.
Puh-lease honey, spare me your unwanted personal opinions about how I SHOULD work! Firstly you are obviously not my client, let alone my ideal client (we really would NOT be a good match anyway, your need to make such an unwarranted reply to my own comment answering another doulas question regarding how often we are in contact with our clients is proof of that), and honestly, HOW DARE YOU make assumptions about my clients or even suggest that you have the right to decide what MY CLIENTS want or need?! You have no right to decide what is right or wrong for them just as I have no right to do so.
I laughed initially, because it truly is hilarious that someone else thinks that they know better than I do about how to run my own business, or that they know exactly what my clients want or need when she has have never met or spoken to my clients before (as far as I know, which considering this doula is located in another country there is a high likelihood that she has never come across me or my demographic before).
But I (stupidly I know, one should never “feed the Troll” and I fell for it hook, lie and sinker) took it a step further, I let myself be drawn in and explained, in detail, WHY I do this and WHY I prefer regular communication with my clients, and WHY my clients usually want this kind of communication.
Why did I do this and let myself be drawn in? Because I want other doulas who practice the way that I do (regardless of if they are a new doula or a more experienced doula like myself) to know that it is OK to practice this way, and that they DO NOT HAVE TO CHANGE for anyone who practices differently and thinks that it is stupid, a waste of time and/or not what THEY would personally want from their chosen doula.
I want ALL doulas to know that it is OK to contact their clients as little or as much as their clients want them to, whether that’s multiple times a week, once a week, once a fortnight, once a month or longer between contacts.
I also want ALL clients to know that it is OK to contact their doulas as often, or as little, as they wish to do so – and that if your doula doesn’t like you contacting them as much as YOU feel the need to contact them, or you feel that they don’t contact you as much as you want them to contact you, you really need to sit down and have a talk to your doula and talk about it, and if you are unhappy with what the doula says or does then that doula is likely not the right doula for you.
As a doula I want my clients to feel comfortable with contacting me as little or as much as they need to, whenever they feel the need to, and I do like to be able to check in twice a week, either via text message or email, with my clients to make sure that everything is well with them and to also keep the doors of communication open on a regular basis.
With regular communication I am working to build up a relationship between us so that they can know me as more than just the face that they see at anywhere between 1 to 6 times (this is solely dependent on how many prenatal appointments they choose, if they do choose to have any at all) before their birth. I want them to feel comfortable around me. To trust me. I want my clients to be able to feel comfortable in mentioning anything that they may not have been sure was important or worth interrupting me about.
How other doulas practice is of no concern to me – they practice their way, and I practice my way, and our own respective clients are happy, sometimes even ecstatic, with the support that they receive.
What matters to me is my clients wants, needs, wishes and preferences. Most of my past clients have preferred regular contact, the ones who weren’t fussed were happy with a text message or an email outside of their own messages to me every week or two, and for any future client who prefers to not be contacted bi-weekly, or only wants me to check in outside of prenatals once a fortnight or once a month then that is what I would do for them, because WHAT MY CLIENTS WANT is ALL that matters.
I won’t change how I work with my clients based solely on another doulas personal opinion, just as I won’t leave my clients wanting or waiting when they need me.
My clients can rest assured that I’ll be there for them as little or as much as they want me to be there, and can contact me at any time with reservation, fear or worry.
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