Shadow a Birth Doula

Orange County shadow a doula newborn baby

Getting started as a birth doula can be scary, especially if you’ve never seen a doula in action before.

If you’re a new (or new-ish) birth doula in the Orange County, California area and want to see a doula at work in the labor room, this is your chance! Beginning in 2019, Marlee and Megan are offering the opportunity for new birth doulas to shadow us as we work with clients in labor.

After a preliminary screening process to make sure we’re a good fit for each other, we’ll offer the following:

  • An initial 2-hour meeting with Marlee and Megan to review the basics of our approach to supporting clients in labor (every doula is different!), answer your initial questions, and go over the logistics of our work together.

  • Possibility of attending one prenatal visit with clients whose births you will shadow (depends on the clients’ wishes). If you attend any prenatal visits, we will spend 30 minutes afterwards debriefing if you have any questions.

  • Attend birth with us as a “fly on the wall” for the opportunity to watch how we support parents during labor.

  • 1-hour debrief after the birth (possibly not right after, depending on the time of day) to process the experience.

  • 3 half-hour mentoring phone calls as you work with your own clients. You can use these anytime, and topics can include anything from preparing to meet a possible client to helping a client anticipate what to expect at an induction to processing a birth you attended… or whatever else is coming up for you as you begin your own doula practice.

  • Membership in our private Mentor the Doula Facebook group for ongoing support and guidance as you build your practice.


  • $375 for 1 shadow birth

  • $500 for 2 shadow births

  • $625 for 3 shadow births

*Payment plans are available.


  • See what labor can really look like. Unless you’ve attended dozens of births, it can be really helpful to witness what labor looks and feels like. Even if you’ve given birth yourself, shadowing a doula as they attend someone else’s birth can bring a whole new level of perspective. And if you’ve never been to a birth before, observing a labor before working with your own clients is priceless.

  • See doulas in action. It can be so hard to imagine what doula-client interactions are like until you’ve experienced them first-hand (especially if you haven’t worked with a doula personally as a client). Get a practical sense of the flow of doula support, how it can be physical and non-physical, how doulas work with laboring people, partners, and care providers alike, and so much more. Remember: every doula has their own style, so this is a glimpse into our perspective and practice.

  • Experience without pressure. In your role as a shadow doula, you don’t have to worry about doing the right thing, saying the right thing, or knowing everything clients might need from you! All you have to do is maintain a gracious, space-holding presence in the room as you observe what goes on.

  • Experience Orange County birth facilities and providers. It’s so helpful to have already seen what birth looks like in hospitals and birth centers around Orange County before your own clients are giving birth there. This opportunity gives you the first-hand experience of seeing the facilities, meeting staff, and learning about how policies can affect parents during and immediately after labor at various locations around the county. (Over 90% of our clients birth in a hospital setting, so chances are that’s what you’ll be observing.)

  • Debriefing is worth its weight in gold. Those debriefing conversations after a birth can be some of the most dense real-world learning you’ll ever do as a doula. Being able to have an in-depth conversation with a seasoned doula about a birth you both witnessed can give you so much context and wisdom for future situations you may encounter with your own clients.


If you’re interested in shadowing us, fill out an application. We may ask to meet for an in-person “interview” to make sure you’re a good fit for this opportunity. If you are selected as a shadow doula, we will proceed with payment and an agreement that lays out your role, our roles, and what you can expect from this experience. Then we’ll go from there!

The fine print: having a shadow doula present at birth is always up to the client. We can’t guarantee how soon someone may be able to attend a shadow birth with us, as it will depend on our clients’ wishes and their estimated due dates.

Not quite ready to apply? That’s ok.

We plan to offer shadowing opportunities on a rolling basis, so check back in when you feel like it’s the right time for you to explore this opportunity.