You’ve likely had the experience of meeting families during interviews who you can’t optimally serve. When you aren’t the right doula; it’s time to make a great referral to the doula who is a better fit.
Why it’s important to make great referrals.
1. It’s part of our code of ethics. We have an obligation to serve: “The doula should assist each client seeking birth doula support either by providing services or making appropriate referrals.”
2. Making good referrals is key to getting good referrals.
So how do you do it?
First, you have to know your birth community. That means showing up to community meetings and gatherings and staying connected, in-person, with the working professionals in your area. Online groups and social media are great augmentations to, but can never replace, face-to-face, in-person gatherings and meetings. Make your local doula community a priority by attending and organizing get-togethers.
Second, find out who in your community serves the populations, personalities and special circumstances that you cannot. It’s as simple as asking other doulas during those gatherings. Find out why the doula enjoys serving that group/place/special circumstance and what she offers. Be curious about your fellow birth professionals, what they do and how they do it. Keep their contact information and availability current in your referral list.
Third, when you make the referral, let both the family and doula know that you are making the referral. The family will appreciate your thoughtfulness and the doula receiving the referral will appreciate the heads-up. Always provide accurate contact information.
Making great referrals feels good. It’s a true reflection of the doula spirit that we all try to live every day and another great way we doula each other.
– Kim James, BDT(DONA), ICCE, LCCE