My small business and coping with Covid-19’s impact

What I do is not widely known or understood, It’s a small business with just me, but I am still important. I am important to my clients, the community, my family, the taxman and more.

 I am a postpartum Doula. My role is to provide practical, informative and emotional support to a mum, her baby and family unit post birth in their home. At a time when there is often little or no support when a new baby is brought home having a Doula can make all the difference. Knowing you as a parent of a newborn can get fact based information, have a non judgemental ear to hear you and someone to help around the house can be priceless. Knowing you can have food made for you, get time to rest, have older children entertained while you bond with baby or check in with your partner will make a life long difference. 

I would usually meet with a potential client while she is in the fourth trimester. We meet for a cuppa and have a chat, this way we can both see if we like each other. This is very important as I will be the person who sees this mom at possibly her worst. We then arrange a second meet usually in the clients home and this is where we get down to business. We discuss what she and her partner see as needed support, this can look very different in each house. I listen to what is important to them as a couple and family, what they want out of having a Doula and I explain what I see is the best way to provide this support. We discuss what days and times would work best, do up a package and book them into the diary. I also am happy to support those who have already had their baby. My motto is, there is no limit on the time frame of when you may need support. 

 I also run a Bump & Baby meet which takes place on the first Friday of each month in The Blind Tiger, Sligo. The aim of this group meet is to bring together those expecting or with babies to provide a safe place to be, to meet others, build their village of support and have me as a sounding bar for fact based information or a listening ear. These meets started last October and we have had up on 24 mums, babies and those expecting at the meet. 

How has Covid-19 affected my business?  

As you have read above I work in my clients homes and unfortunately that can’t happen now. I have for now had to rethink how I can support my clients and when will I actually be able to get back out to new clients homes? Can I take bookings, will I be able to honour them? So many questions and not so many answers. For now I along with many of my colleagues from the Doula Association of Ireland are offering 30 minute virtual support sessions for free, that’s what we feel is best for now. 

 My Bump & Baby Meet took place on Zoom this month and that worked well but its not the same. I have decided to do weekly meets on Zoom where I will bring in another professional to do a Q&A to add further support. I feel this is the best I can do right now. 

 It’s all really all up in the air right now, I feel we all see that. I ask myself often where will my business be after all this? Will having a Doula be an even bigger attraction when people have seen how much support was missed. Will people have the money or will they see this as a vital service to enhance their parenting journey so make this spending a priority?  Who knows any of these answers. Let’s wait and see, we still have to get to the other side and that in itself is a challenge for many of us be it business wise or just in general.  

Michelle Doherty,

Doula

https://www.selfemployedireland.ie/profile/?michelle/

Sligo


 

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