Aight, boom! You already know you want to be a doula, right? Now you’re trying to figure out what kind of doula you’re going to be. I walked into this birth worker space feeling like there were many doula tropes and I didn’t feel like I fit into any of them.
I had been an educator in the public education sector for 10 years, when I considered shifting towards birth work. So I jumped on YouTube and Google Search and tried to understand what it would mean to become a doula. My brain got busy dissecting what I saw on the internet and in movies and analyzing where my place was. Being a doula can take a person in a variety of directions. The pressure to fit into a trope was pressure I was putting on myself. No matter what kind of people you appeal to as a doula, one sector of the birthworker business that can help make support accessible to more people is virtual doula services.
I didn’t know virtual doulas existed until I began my certification process with bebo mia. I attended a bonus session with the incomparable Ruth Ruttan (@ruthruttandoula) where she shared how she actually supported her clients virtually at the top of the pandemic. I had just moved from Florida to Georgia and wondered how I would assist all my pregnant friends during their births from a state away. I had been functioning as an in-person part-time pregnancy and postpartum doula since 2013. It was actually painful to consider that the friends I left behind, who were growing their families, would not get to experience my support. Becoming a virtual doula seemed like just the thing to open up the possibilities of continued support.
Read about What is a Doula?
What does it even MEAN to be a virtual doula?
It means that we do what we always do: offer continuous support to our clients, but through online and/or remote methods and platforms. That can include video chatting, unlimited texting and talking, sending pictures, emails, and links to online resources. Remote doulas use digital resources to support all different kinds of families, as long as they have reliable access to internet connection. While you can still schedule sessions with your clients for regular voice or video calls, being a virtual birthworker also allows your clients to reach out for support at their own pace. Sometimes people hire virtual doulas because leaving home is a challenge or they are trying to be creative with time restrictions in their lives.
With a background in education, I saw how a sudden shift in teaching and learning remotely left a bad taste in the mouth of many instructors and students. But I also saw some educators CRUSHING it and that got me inspired. With more and more people looking for online prenatal courses, it is something to consider developing if you’re attracted to the idea of becoming an online doula. Virtual doulas and online prenatal courses are a perfect pairing like charcuterie boards and sparkling drinks. Virtual doulas are developing beautiful childbirth education courses for clients to take advantage of self-paced learning. It also allows doulas to spend more time enriching their own lives or more time with their families. You have to pour into your own cup in order to sustain the amount of passion necessary for this heart work. Am I right?
Reasons families hire online doulas
Instead of focusing on the limits of serving clients virtually, let’s take a look at the reasons families might want to hire online doula support.
- Reduces social anxiety
- Makes scheduling easier
- Makes support more accessible for people in remote locations
- Saves time because you can avoid the commute of in-person meetings
- Increases accessibility for folks with a variety of physical challenges
- Feels more in control of the support they receive
Currently, I’m in Haiti supporting expectant birthers who cannot afford high quality health care, but I also support clients in the States virtually. Remember when I was worried about supporting my clients from a state away? Being an online doula allows me to “show up” for people across the Atlantic Ocean in a way that only I can. If I limited myself to solely being an in-person doula, I would be withholding my brand of support from those who would best benefit from it. I have the added ability to pursue balance in the work that I do in Haiti and the clients I choose to take on in the States. I do not have to jump in a car or spend any money on gas (it’s pricey!). I also get to use creativity to connect with families.
Worried about how you can effectively connect with your clients without being in-person?
- Voice calls
- Video calls
- Direct messaging on social media
- Posting about your work and passions on social media
Calling all of the birth workers and changemakers who aren’t afraid of the internet!
Becoming a doula is one of the most rewarding choices I’ve ever made. Maybe you’ve been a doula for some time and adding a virtual component can take your services to the next level. Perhaps you’ve just begun exploring the idea of providing virtual birth, pregnancy or postpartum services. Either way, virtual doulas are ripping the limits off of the way we serve birthers in our respective corners of the world. And you can too!
FREE ONLINE MINI-COURSE
BLISS IN BUSINESS RETREAT
Your future is created by what you do today — that's why we created a completely FREE mindset mini-course to help doulas and birth workers find bliss in their business!