Initially we weren’t sure about virtual birth doulaing, with one of the tenets of doula support being a physical presence, ready to offer practical help. We have learned that a reassuring presence and a hand held at the right moment can speak volumes and work wonders. We didn’t know if being there virtually could be an effective substitute.
But then we did what we always do: listened to women and responded to their needs, on their terms.
Women told us they would appreciate having a doula (or three) in her or her partner’s pocket as they navigate a hospital with constantly changing policies.
Women told us they wanted the option of having us at a home birth without us being there – benefitting from our collective wisdom, training and knowledge, and being supported emotionally in a format they are most comfortable with.
The flexibility that comes with our antenatal sessions taking place virtually has opened up our calendar massively and we now have many more slots available, so it really goes both ways.
How does it work?
Very much the same as our birth doula support, but taking place entirely over email, phone, messaging, and Zoom.
Once the contract is signed by us all and you have paid a deposit (if you are able to, please talk to us about this), we will set up a WhatsApp group between us all and make you an admin so you can add your partner, and any other members of your support team., if you like.
You can use this as much or as little as you want, for questions, emotional support, scheduling Zoom meets, exchanging information and resources, updates, and anything that’s on your mind.
We can have as many or as few Zooms as you like. We can schedule them as and when, or at regular times. We allocate an hour for each call, and at least two of us will join. We can meet with you, with you and your partner, and with just your partner – whatever suits you. We can join you for any classes you might be doing online, that you’d like us to listen and learn from. If a follow up email is necessary we’ll send that across asap. Any doula who can’t make the call will be kept up to speed with how you’re doing.
Just like with our face to face meets, we absolutely do not limit the scope of discussion to pregnancy or birth. As your doulas we hold space for you as the whole, complete, and complex woman you are.
We go on call for you at 38 weeks, ready day and night for your labour to start, just as we would if we’d physically be joining you at your birthplace when things started happening.
When you go into labour we’re right there for you. We are happy to video call from the first twinge until after you birth your baby. We’ll be there the whole time, in a quiet nest in our own home, holding space, ready to provide information and emotional support. You might prefer to call us every now and then as things progress, or WhatsApp might be right for you.
It’s completely up to you how we support you during this time. You are welcome to use any medium of communication, in any combination with others. This is your time, so we do things your way, and we will have your back however you want us to.
Within a week or two we’ll offer a postnatal meet, to discuss the birth. In the meantime you are welcome to use the WhatsApp group chat for questions and support.
What are the benefits?
Benefits are always personal to each individual, so for some women this will be her first choice, and for others a compromise. Here are some of the benefits we have had fed back to us:
– doulas can be with you at home/in the hospital regardless of any restrictions/COVID-19 statuses
– ongoing emotional support from wherever you are
– you’ll have the support and input of up to three experienced doulas in your pocket
– more privacy between doula and client during labour
– the same level of commitment with less cost
– more flexibility with pre and postnatal appointments
How much does it cost?
We are working toward our virtual birth doula service being fully funded for all, but in the meantime we only have funding for women with multiple vulnerabilities. Please don’t hesitate to talk to us about this.
This service costs £1000. Please read more about why we became a CIC and our current funding situation.
I’ll be having my baby after restrictions are lifted, will I still be able to book you as my virtual birth doulas?
Yes! We understand this will be a preferable option for some women for various reasons now and in the future, so this will be an ongoing service for those who would like it.
I live outside of Greater Manchester, can you still support me?
Absolutely! The great thing about virtual doulaing is that we don’t have to live in the same area, able to reach you within around an hour of us asking us to join you. We don’t even need to be in the same time zone!
I’m not sure what support I need. Can we talk about this before I decide anything?
Always! We want you to have the support that’s right for you. Initially we offer a 1.5hr session with at least two of us, so you can get to know us, ask any questions, share whatever’s on your mind, and we can learn more about you. There is no charge for this session and if it’s a good fit all round we can either arrange further sessions, you can book us as your doulas, or we can signpost to other sources of support that might work better for you. We want you to have the right doulas for you – even if they’re not us.