When I was a newbie and long before I had some awesome doulas waiting in the background just in case, I found myself in a sticky situation way too often.
One time, I was at a birth and it was about 3 am. My phone started buzzing in my pocket; it was another client needing labor support. I ducked out of the hospital room I was currently in to call them back and before I could, another client’s partner called to say they needed me. These three mamas’ due dates were all 4 and 6 weeks apart - there was no way I could have planned around this. I called all the doulas I knew and could only find one to cover me and she couldn’t make it for a few hours. I was stuck and had to tell one of the couples that I wouldn’t be able to find someone until later in the day. I had to refund them most of their money because their baby was born before I could send someone in.
Finding great back up can be particularly hard as a new doula when you aren’t making a lot of money yet. I was charging $300 per birth at this point and trying to get a backup out of bed in the middle of the night for so little was hard. Once I was more experienced and could pay well, it got way easier.
Another challenging part is finding the right back up. My ideal clients were typically drawn to me because I was a yoga teacher and HypnoBirthing Instructor. One time I sent a backup (who I adored and was incredible in her own special way but her style was not mindfulness based) and my clients were not happy. I decided to not use her again as back up. Here are my top three pieces of advice when creating a reliable backup scenario.
Once I had a great backup system in place, I was much more relaxed about not being glued to my phone all the time or not being able to support everyone in labor. It was a huge relief!