Things are really looking up. Not only because of my graduate school acceptance, but also because of my doula business!
Back when I first spoke to my doula mentor, B, on the phone, she told me that she doesn't really need to have a website or advertise much because she gets all of her clients through word-of-mouth. Being brand new to the birth world, I was secretly shocked by this. I thought, sure, that's because she's been doing this for more than 3 years and she's lived here awhile and she has kids so she meets a lot of moms... etc etc. All these thoughts came into my head, along with, "that is never how it will work for me, I'm going to have to work like crazy to get clients." And this was especially reinforced by the fact that it took months to find my first clients, despite the fact that I emailed a lot of pregnant women looking for doulas!
But now I see how word-of-mouth is entirely feasible. One of my clients is in a class with my boyfriend.... Then, she told her friend about me... Another girl overheard my boyfriend talking about doulas in class and inquired after my services... I received an email of interest from a woman who is taking a childbirth education class with my second client.... If I hadn't hooked up with the local Doula group in my area, joining email listservs and going to dinner meet-ups, I wouldn't have met the doula who called me yesterday requesting that I be her emergency back-up for a birth... And B suggested I email all the area doulas and childbirth educators and let them know I am in training and to send any moms looking for cheap doulas my way. If it weren't for that I never would have ended up on another busy doula's referral list, and never would have met the wonderful pregnant mama I met with today.
This mom is having a home birth and her third child. She isn't sure that she needs a doula, having done this twice already without one, however is considering me because I am free anyway! She and I had a really lovely chat today, really got to know one another. She is very open and honest. She came up with several reasons (and I helped emphasize :) why having a doula there would be excellent, even with her midwife, sister and husband present. Unfortunately, she wants to leave it up in the air about "hiring" me, almost to the point where she might finally decide she needs me only once she's in labor. I emphasized the fact that I would be honored to attend her birth, because in addition to all I could help her with, it would be an incredible learning experience for me since I've never been to a home birth. Fortunately, I think she really likes me and I'm keeping my hopes up for a call next month!
I know I shouldn't get my hopes up TOO much, but I am also really keeping my fingers crossed that all of these births work out and I can have all my certification births, and thusly my certification, completed this summer!