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How a Postpartum Doula in the Bay Area Helps Support New Families: An Interview with Bay City Doulas

The time right after giving birth is huge transition period. Not only are parents getting to know the new human they created, but birthing people are also recovering from an event that had a major impact on their bodies, usually with very little sleep. As a bay area newborn photographer, I interact with many people in those first few weeks with their new baby. One thing everyone has in common: we could all use a little more help!

Recently, I had a conversation with Anathea at Bay City Doulas about how a postpartum doula can help support families in the Bay Area. Read the following Q&A for more!

newborn baby on changing table

Q&A with Bay Area Postpartum Doula Agency, Bay City Doulas

Q: What does a doula do?

A: What a great question! There are many different ways doulas practice, so what a doula “does” varies. Doulas support birthing people and families throughout pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. At Bay City Doulas, our doulas provide unbiased and individualized support throughout postpartum. We recognize that every family’s postpartum needs will be different. Postpartum doula support may translate into emotional support, educational support, infant feeding support, help with infant sleep, errands, housework, sibling care, and much more!

Q: Tell me about your doula collective.

A: Where do we begin! First of all, We created our company with a deep understanding of supporting new families. From day one, we knew that we wanted to provide families high-quality care continuously. We can say with confidence that this is what we do. Bay City Doulas is an agency through and through. With a shared passion for helping families in one of the most transformative and often overwhelming times in life, Cosima and I have made it our life’s mission to not only provide families with high-quality care but work to grow and develop doulas to have long-lasting, sustainable careers.

We knew when we started that we wanted to be highly hands-on, both with our doulas and our clients. We have obtained this by having monthly team meetings with our doulas, regular check-in calls, providing ongoing education, and making sure that they are never competing for work. This allows them to have a community with others who share their passion and for all of us to learn and grow together as a team!

Additionally, we stay in close communication with our clients and answer questions, help problem-solve or even check over baby registries when needed. We are hands-on! My business partner Cosima and I love what we do; we are proud of our team’s care and will never stop offering individualized, unbiased support to families in the Bay Area.

Q: How do I choose the right doula for me from your collective?

A: When you inquire about our services at Bay City Doulas, one of the business owners will set up an initial intake call with you. During this time, our goal is to learn as much about your family as possible and tell you about our services. These calls are typically between 25-45 minutes long, and we focus on building an initial connection. After we have learned the specifics of what you are looking for, we check our team and send one doula your contact information. Then your potential doula will call you and set up a time for consultation.

While we have been called doula matchmakers for initially setting up families with a fantastic doula, there is always the option to talk to another doula as well! Because our team has been extensively vetted, families take comfort in knowing that we handle background checks, certifications, etc.

Q: Why might someone choose a postpartum doula?

A: While birth doulas are amazing and do incredible work, birth is typically a one-day event. Postpartum lasts for months. Our culture spends so much time preparing for the birth of our babies. We have endless doctor’s appointments, our community asks everyone how we are feeling, and often we feel very cared for during this time.

Then, we give birth, are sent home and what we hear is, “we will see you in six weeks.” Suddenly we are in foreign territory, recovering from birth, trying to figure out our new lives, take care of a newborn, tend to the house, get sleep, and the list keeps going.

Frequently parents experience a massive shift in communal support as well. While you were pregnant, people asked you how you were feeling; now everybody asks how the baby is! This makes sense; babies are sweet and new and precious. But what we find is that while you are pouring all of your time and energy caring for this new being, it is life-changing to have someone caring for you. Postpartum doulas are equipped to help you with many things that may come up during this stage of life, and we realize that the postpartum process changes on a daily basis. We have heard time and time again that postpartum support is one of the best investments families have made in their lives.

Q: What questions should an expectant mom ask a potential doula?

A: If you are interviewing through an agency that has vetted their doulas extensively, the most important thing is to see if your personalities mesh together. I think asking doulas to walk you through a typical day or night is a great way to understand how a doula practices.

Also, sharing with your doula what you are looking for, especially if there is anything specific regarding your care. Seeing their responses can help gauge everyone’s comfort levels! It is important that you feel comfortable with the person providing your care.

If you are interviewing independent doulas, I would suggest more specific questions regarding qualifications, for example: Is their certification current? What is their philosophy around doula work? Do you have liability insurance? What is their vaccine status? What happens if you go into labor three weeks early or two weeks late? What is their backup system like? If they have a backup, what are their backup’s qualifications? What happens if there is an emergency? What are their covid procedures? Do they have a legal business license?

There may be other things that are specifically important to you or your care. I think it’s essential to share anything specific that you are looking for! A trained and experienced doula will know that needs may change, which is totally fine!

Q: What area do you service?

A: We have a vast service area! Our doulas currently service Santa Cruz to Santa Rosa and everything in between. Because we have doulas all over the Bay Area, this means that we get to support families in many locations. If you are curious if our service area covers your site feel free to contact us today.

Thank you, Anathea, for all of that information about hiring a postpartum doula in the Bay Area! Contact Bay City Doulas for more information or to get started hiring a doula for your postpartum care.

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