When Should I Call My Doula?
Something that makes doula care unique to the care you (usually) receive from your providers is that you have a direct line to the person you're trying to reach. With great access comes great responsibility—and maybe you're a little worried you won't know when to call. Or maybe you're afraid you'll "call for no reason."
Well, let's put those fears to rest! Consider the following guidelines when you're thinking about calling your doula:
1. What does your contract say?
A good place to turn for any relationship questions (regarding your professional relationship with your doula, that is) is the contract you signed that outlines the terms of service. When does it say to call? Are there guidelines for when to text vs. call? Does your doula have business hours for non-urgent contact? What about on-call windows?
2. Is it urgent?
This question is a little more intuitive, but don't let it scare you away! Are you concerned about yourself, your baby, your family? Are you in labor? If you answered any of these questions with a yes, I think it's safe to say it's urgent, so pick up the phone and dial your doula (in the case of medical emergency, dial 911 or your provider first). A call to chat about what color to paint the nursery can probably wait until normal business hours, but if you're considering going to the hospital or calling your care provider, it's a good idea to keep your doula in the loop.
3. Are you in labor?
I know I asked this re: urgency, but I think it also deserves a paragraph of its own: if you are in labor, CALL YOUR DOULA. Call. Don't text. Don't email. Don't message. And don't worry about what time it is. Just call and let them know, even if you aren't ready for them to join you yet. And then when you are ready for them to join you, call again.
But what if you aren't in labor? What if you think it's urgent, and it turns out that it's not? What if, what if, what if—look, it happens. But you aren't inconveniencing anyone. You didn't call for no reason, you called for support, and that's the real key here: call your doula when you need them.
And when you do, your doula will be happy to answer your questions, ease your fears, and join you whenever you are finally ready for in-person support.