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We’re all going on a summer holiday, no more working for a week or two… right??

A lot of the time, especially when we are newer doulas, it can feel like we are on call 24/7 for the rest of our lives! We’re here to tell you that that is not true.

What does it mean to take a vacation when you're working as a doula?

Ok, so if you’ve lived in the corporate world before discovering your doula passion and you are used to booking your time off with the flexibility that a traditional workplace affords you then it’s probably going to feel a little overwhelming trying to take a holiday until you find your doula groove. 

How do you ensure lounging on a beach with a cocktail in hand or setting off on an adrenaline-fuelled expedition is still part of your life?

The first thing is to plan well in advance. The other opportunity that sometimes arises is the unexpected gap; you know, the one where a couple of back-to-back clients have their babies early and you are left with a short period of time where you are no longer on call; definitely have vague plans around how you might make the most of that opportunity if it arises but generally, you’ll need to plan in advance and it will need to be part of your interview discussion with potential clients. What we have learnt from our experience is that when we give people lots of notice; e.g. when we’re interviewing say “I've got a holiday planned this particular week. I’ll be arranging a backup doula to cover me whilst I’m away, who will be introduced to you in advance” most people are totally fine with it if they have connected with you and want you as their doula. What you absolutely should not do (and some doulas are guilty of this) is to spring it on them and at 37 weeks suddenly announce to your client that you’ll be gone for a week but not worry because you have a backup doula! This will not be received in the same way as if you had discussed the need for a backup doula at the initial interview. So, number one; plan your vacation and your time off well in advance. 


The second thing to consider is, do you need to shuffle around your ‘normal’ antenatal timescales to ensure that your client has completed all the antenatal education you would normally cover, as well as possibly building in a bit of time after the sessions for your clients to reflect and come back to you with any questions? It’s probably not going to be ideal to book back-to-back antenatal sessions the day before you fly off for a fortnight in the sun!


And finally, think about, what your boundaries are during your time off and how you will communicate that with your clients. Are you planning to be completely unavailable whilst you are away or are you happy for your clients to stay in touch? Will you drop them all an email or message the day before and remind them that you are away and give them the contact details for your backup doula one final time? 


If you have any tips for planning a holiday around your doula work, feel free to come and share them with us in the Facebook group. In the meantime, don’t forget to set your out of office so any potential clients, enquiring whilst you are away, aren’t left in limbo and know when to expect a response from you.


Happy holidays 🏖

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