frequently asked questions
What is a doula?
A doula is a person who is trained to provide evidence-based information, emotional support, and physical comfort to a mother/family before, during, and after childbirth. A doula is a non-medical & unbiased professional, a great addition to your care team. Your medical care provider takes care of your and your baby's health needs, and a doula helps support you in every other way. As a doula, I help you understand what to expect, what options you have, and how to navigate every step of your journey in confidence.
Do I need a doula if I...plan to give birth at a hospital? Have an epidural? Have a cesarean birth? Have given birth before?
Doulas are for every type of birth! No matter how or where you birth, you need prenatal education, as well as physical and emotional support. Think about white-water rafting. There will be some families who can traverse the rapids without an expert guide. But for many of us, because we don't give birth every day, could benefit greatly from having someone on our raft who is accustomed to navigating unforeseen waters. Each birth is a new ride! As your doula, I get to know you as an individual, understanding your unique needs & wishes, and then help facilitate those throughout pregnancy, during your labor & birth, and throughout postpartum. That goes for home births, hospital births, medicated, unmedicated, vaginal, cesarean, and whether it's your first or fourth.
When should I book your services?
Typically, I book clients 8-9 months in advance. Yes, that means that sometimes the stick isn't even dry yet! Because I do take a limited number of births per month, and have off-call periods, I recommend getting in touch as soon as possible to book for your estimated due period. However, there are times I will open up more availability throughout the year, so always feel free to reach out. I've booked clients as early as 2 weeks and as late as 39 weeks. If I do not have availability, I will happily share some other contacts with you & help you find the support you need.
How much does it cost to secure a place on your calendar?
For doula & birth story photography clients, I require 50% of the services desired to be paid as a retainer upon contract signing. Once the contract is signed and the deposit is paid, your estimated due date will be secured on my calendar. The balance of services booked is due at 36 weeks, and you can pay all up front, just the two payments, or all throughout your pregnancy - whatever works best for you and your family.
What happens if I book early and I have a miscarriage?
So many moms are timid in asking this question, but are also hesitant to book before the end of their first trimester. Because many times I may be booked by the time you're in your second trimester, I share that in the event of loss, I offer to return your deposit and still remain available for bereavement support if desired. So many moms need 1-on-1 support in those early weeks, too, and I am here to support you through it all.
How many clients do you take per month?
During on-call months, I typically take anywhere from 2-4 clients per month. The amount depends on a few factors, such as what number baby it is, birthing location, and package booked. For example, for clients who choose the birth photography add-on, I often take less clients during their due period. I also take a few off-call weeks during certain months per year, which means that clients are still able to book with me, but there will be a backup doula and/or photographer to cover call (if you wish, and at an additional fee) during those weeks. During months with off-call weeks, I typically only take 1-2 clients. For 2024, those months are March, June, July, October, & December.
What areas do you serve?
At this time, my in-person service range is Birmingham, Alabama and areas within 1 hour travel time. I do sometimes make exceptions for birthing locations beyond that distance, and often require advance notice and additional fees. For virtual services such as individual classes and full prenatal support (3 classes + unlimited phone/email support), I serve all over the world!
What are the chances of you being at my birth?
It is my goal to be with every client on their birth day. Even with clients due around the same time, it's not often that births are on the same day. However, if for any reason I am unavailable on your birth day (whether I'm at another birth, am sick, etc.), a backup doula who serves at the same capacity as me will be available to you. My greatest hope is that all throughout your pregnancy, you and I work closely together to help you build confidence in your ability to birth - in any scenario. But yes - I do everything I can to be there (and have lots of funny stories about measures taken to make it to births)!
I don't have a provider yet. Can you help me with that?
Yes, I'd love to! In getting to know more about you and your desires for birth, I am able to give you some suggestions for providers who may be a good fit for you and your needs. Not totally sure what exactly you want? That's okay! I have a short list of local providers who are well-versed in supporting every type of birth :)
*I no longer attend births at Ascension St. Vincent's at this time.
Can my partner be my doula?
I bet you thought I'd say 'no'...but...maybe. Here's the thing, when you and your partner hire a doula, you are inviting a birth professional into your support system in order for you to be able to enjoy your experience together without the stress of remembering and managing "all the things" in pregnancy, birth, & postpartum. I LOVE working with couples when possible, simply because I enjoy helping parents learn more about how to support each other - and what greater opportunity than welcoming a child! When you take the Partner Support Class (included in the Gold package), I will equip your partner with new skills such as identifying phases of labor, understanding how to support you in those different phases, knowing how to use comfort measures & tools, how to time contractions, when to go to the hospital/call the midwife, & how to advocate for you. As mentioned above, it's always my goal to be present at your birth. But when babies have different plans and come quick, sometimes it's partners who are on deck to guide you through. So even when you hire me, I'll also help your partner be confident in helping you, too.
I would love to meet you!
If you are considering booking me for doula support and/or photography services, let's chat together! A consultation is FREE, and we can do it from anywhere. You and I will meet by video (typically about 30 minutes), and you have the opportunity to tell me more about yourself & what you are looking for in a support team, ask any questions you have about services (or personal questions!), and us just get to know each other a bit. I find that when potential clients are able to connect in this way, they are better able to not only able to gain a better understanding of how they will be served, but also feel confident in who they are hiring to support them. My favorite thing is to hold space for moms like you, so let's talk!
How long have you been a doula? How many births have you attended?
I began my doula journey in the summer of 2017 when I was 2 weeks pregnant (unknowingly!). At 12 weeks pregnant, I completed my first set of training courses and attended my first birth as a doula at 19 weeks pregnant in October 2017. After having my own birth in March 2018, I returned to attending births in October of that year. In six years of serving, I have attended over 130 births, taught over 300 classes, and have photographed 78 births.
What training(s) have you received? Are you certified?
I have been trained and certified by both DONA International and Stillbirthday Global Network as both a birth doula & bereavement doula. I have also completed trainings from Spinning Babies and Doulaversity's TENS units for labor, and frequently take continuing education courses for multiple facets of doula care & postpartum support.
Why did you choose to be a doula?
You can see a few details about why I became a doula here and here. Ultimately, I felt called by the Lord to this service area. Being a doula is one of the hardest, most beautiful jobs on this planet. It requires empathy, sacrifice, steadiness, and physical & mental strength - none of which is offered by my own ability. And I am deeply honored to be chosen and trusted by the incredible families who hire me.
I am a Jesus-follower, too. Do you support that?
I do! Many times, I am hired specifically for faith-based encouragement & support, which may look like sharing scripture-based affirmations & insights, prayer, or simply being a presence with similar beliefs. If that is something you would like support in, please let me know! I'd love to offer help at your comfort level.
I am non-religious. Do you support that?
Yep! Sometimes I work with families who would do not have any interest in that facet of support. Prayer will likely still be in the space, but it is to myself in respect for your wishes. I have joked before that I've never once tried to baptize anyone in their labor tub. No matter your beliefs, race, background, or preferences, I would love to serve you.
Having a doula / birth photographer is expensive. Is it worth the investment?
Choosing to have a doula and/or birth photographer is definitely an investment. What you are paying for is not just someone to be present with you on your birth day, but a trusted professional who you have access to all throughout pregnancy, your birth, and months postpartum. Have a question? Don't go to Google; ask me! Need help with stretching? I'll show you! Don't understand what to expect and what your options are? I'm happy to walk you through it. Pass a weird clot postpartum? Send me a pic (I don't mind, really.) Can't remember some of the details of your birth? Look through your gallery & hold those memories forever.
Yes, you are paying for a service, but you are investing in this one-time-only experience that will always stay with you. You won't remember all the details of your journey, but you will always remember how you were supported & encouraged.
Are you willing to reduce your prices? Do you give discounts?
I have worked really hard to price all services as fairly as possible, keeping in mind the limited number of clients I may take in any given period, personal investment expenses (I don't charge + tax), & time spent dedicated to each client. That said, there are times where a client's needs may not be as great as any standard package offering. In those instances, I may suggest a custom package/price.
I offer discounts to clients birthing at Princeton ($100) & for those birthing at home ($200). I also extend a $400 discount to clients who add-on birth photography.