Prior to being a doula, I was an international legal researcher, focused primarily on legal issues around migrant and refugee persons and their status in international protection law. I did all sorts of legal research work from my thesis on environmental refugees, to breaking down complex UN resolutions as easily digestible information for crisis analysts, and even some temporary legal work in the US as a legal receptionist and file clerk.
When I started off as a doula a decade ago, my goal was always to gain skills necessary to help with broader policy initiatives around maternal health and the rights of birth workers.
In the past few years, I’ve begun teaching birth workers about how to write solid contracts and other business documents. I started teaching workshops on this topic and doing private consultations where I either edit their existing contracts and give doulas tools to write their own solid documents, or written them for them.
In an effort to reach more doulas in an efficient and cost effective way, I’ve written a 40 page booklet on contract writing for doulas and other birth professionals. Here is a breakdown of what’s inside :
Part 1 : Introduction and Bare Bones
This section is a brief overview of the booklet and how to use it to guide you through your contract writing, followed by the basic structure and necessary components of any contract. What do you need to include to cover all your basis? What sort of documents should you make sure to have? What are your options for structuring your contracts? And more…
Part II: Private Practice
This is a rundown of how to create great contracts when you are a sole practitioner. There is a long discussion on Scope of Practice and Liability considerations — two of the most daunting things for any birth worker to consider and the topics most of my contract consultation clients find most concerning. The conversation then moves to payment — setting fees and setting payment structures. I talk about the differences between Cancellations and Terminations, which is almost always overlooked in doula contracts, but is a significant source of control over your practice. Next up is a rundown of the considerations around setting your practice limitations regarding scheduling. Then onward to a breakdown of some considerations regarding sliding scale, volunteer, and trade work. Last in this section is a discussion around the importance of Peer Review in our communities and some mock examples of case studies that address many of the common issues birth workers see in their practices with some sample suggestions of how to improve your contract to avoid them.
Pat III : Other Doula Documents
This section really covers the waterfront in terms of addressing some of the other official documents doulas need to consider in their private and group practices. Back-up contracts, how to work with a doula agency, starting your own agency, HIPAA considerations, copyrighting, and more.
I’ve managed to cram quite a lot in there, but my workshops and private consults always prove to me that there is so little of this covered in doula trainings, so at least having a brief discussion on each topic, with many pages dedicated to some of the essentials seems like a fitting way to use my research skillset to help my fellow birth workers have more sustainable practices.
If you are a doula trainer and are interested in getting a preview of my booklet, just email me! I will happily send you some sample pages and let you know about my teacher referral program.
And keep an eye out for the printed version of the booklet launching in August. I’ll be using it for the first time to guide us through my upcoming Advanced Doula Trainings coming to Sacramento on August 4th. Very excited.