Postpartum Doulas and Healthy BoundariesJan 25, 2022
The boundary issue for postpartum doulas comes up alot in postpartum doula training. Postpartum doulas are not on call like birth doulas, yet it’s important to be responsive and available to your clients.
You can set-up your hours of availability any way you choose. If you want to work with clients in the morning and have afternoon time for office hours, phone calls and texting, do that. You can be flexible to the degree that works for you and your lifestyle.
Establishing your boundaries in the beginning of your postpartum doula journey will help you prevent burnout.
Burnout is real for many birth doulas and postpartum doulas. I know when you first start out you want to serve everyone that calls you, no matter the time of day or the location. This definitely helps you practice working with the variety of clients that need your support. You may quickly find out that you don’t want to work with everyone. Boundaries not only include time of availability, but also location (travel), and maybe even lifestyle choices.
I learned this for myself when I first opened Tenth Doula Services in South Florida. At that time, there was nobody else. I went from the north to the south to the east to the west. Lots of travel, and many clients that had such diverse needs, backgrounds and understanding of what a postpartum doula was. Now, you have the opportunity to refer a client to another postpartum doula that may be a better fit.
This experience definitely helped me make changes in my postpartum doula business. I started charging for mileage, or saying no to travel beyond a certain geographic location. I also learned so much about myself and how I relate to different personalities and lifestyles.
If you’ve been reading my blogs and seeing what I post on Facebook, you know I’m a big fan of asking yourself the questions you seek answers for. In terms of boundaries, here are some questions you can ask yourself to establish what works for you.
- When am I at my peak performance, with the most energy (time to work with clients)?
- Do I have flexibility with my time?
- What are my other obligations? (family, other work)
- Do I want to receive texts at certain hours of the day?
- Do I prefer communication via email with a certain response time?
- Will regular office hours support me in my time management?
- Am I a night owl and want to serve clients overnight?
- How will I know when my time is up with a client?
These questions should get your juices flowing. The thing is, there is no one way to do any of this. If you compare these answers with those of another postpartum doula, they will be different. And, that’s ok.
Healthy boundaries for you are what matter.
You can do what I did, and eliminate as you learn what you want and what you don’t want. This is how life works. Like Abraham-Hicks says, “rockets of desire.” We sift and sort and try to follow the path of least resistance.
Given the fact that postpartum doulas are in demand, and maternal suicide and anxiety is on the rise, your desire to be the best postpartum doula you can be, and your commitment to serving your clients is a powerful way to impact positive change in yourself and, thus, the world around you.
Book a connection call with me anytime. I’d love to hear about your postpartum doula vision, goals and journey.
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