Money is usually a very sensible factor when it comes to preparing for baby, maternity leave and the postpartum period.
A lot of families have to prepare for the financial strain due to receiving less money in the month’s a woman is on maternity leave or parents on paternity leave. This is part of the reason why so many shy away from the cost’s of having a doula or are even looking for “low-cost” options.
But let me ask you this:
How much did you spent on your wedding?
For your honeymoon?
For a new car?
Maybe even a house?
Most of us are looking at quality, reliability and an a good experience. So we are willing to spend big bucks on it. But why are so many trying to get a cheap deal out of their childbirth experience and their doulas…?
I am writing this blog today to share with parents the value of a doula and why we charge the amount we do, because as much as we would like to accommodate every family in their birth and postpartum experience we also need to be able to make a living and cover our own expenses.
So let’s look at what a Doula actually includes in her services:
Labour & Birth Doula’s
Most Labour & Birth Doulas have 2 prenatal meetings, which tend to be 2-3 hours each to review the parents birth preferences and wishes, talk about possible fears and ways to cope.
We also often offer unlimited support through phone and email, to check in on the birthing persons progress and prenatal appointments or if there are any other health updates for them and baby.
Then we provide on-call support starting at 2 weeks before the due date, depending on when the birthing person goes into labour we might be on call for as much as 2-4 weeks. During this time most of us doulas put our own lives on hold to be able to tend to our clients on short notice and to be able to jump into the car in a matter of half an hour to an hour to attend the birth. Depending on how long the birth lasts a doula may attend anywhere from 1 hour to 24 hours – usually we also have back-up doulas to allow us to rest up to continue supporting our families.
After the baby has been born we usually stick around another 1-2 hours to make sure the family settles into their new family dynamic and assist with establishing breastfeeding between birthing person and newborn.
Once the family returns home, we have a postpartum visit that may last 1-2 hours. We check-in on how everyone in the family is adjusting and may answer basic breastfeeding questions etc.
Behind the scenes:
Interviews – Initial meetings are not included in a doula’s fee and we do offer them for free as we believe that not every doula fits every client and there is usually a prefect fit for every family! But we do have expenses for gas, coffee and sometimes a snack.
Education – All certified doulas went through official doula training with an accredited organization, on which we spend an enrolment fee, books and other workshops to extend our knowledge and skills. Most of the time there is a need for keeping up credentials. We also always need to stay on top of our game with the newest evidence based information which we research.
Marketing – all of our printing materials like business cards, pamphlets and information sheets are at our own expense. Most of us even pay for our websites for more personalization features.
Doula tools – While every doula is different in what they keep in their tool box, most of us still spend some money on things like massagers, rebozo, birth ball or even a little speaker box for music to help our clients having comfort in their birth experience.
Limitation – A doula can only take on a set amount of clients to be able to tend everyone of them with her attention and on-call schedule but still make a living.
So really when a family chooses to hire a doula, they are choosing their support person that fits their needs, birthing preferences and family.
A doula shares her expertise, what she learned in training, with other clients and in her research.
Unlike a Monday to Friday, 8am -5pm job we are available almost constantly to our clients but if we would charge an hourly fee chances are no one could afford us.
Now I have told you all the things a doula does and what makes her valuable, but what if you are a low income family not sure on how to afford a doula anyway? Here are some suggestions:
Registry – Do you have a baby registry? Consider adding your doula to it.
Gift Certificates – Most doulas offer gift certificates, your family and friends could help you pay for the services that you want.
Compromise on (daily)non-essentials – Do you like to buy a daily Starbucks coffee? Maybe try to skip it and put the money you save toward your doula.
Doula Jar – Same idea as above, but let’s say you have random change daily in your pockets. Put them in a jar and save them for your doula.
Insurance – Check with your insurance if they cover doula services and what the requirements may be.
Payment Plans – Can’t pay the full fee all at once? Maybe ask your doula if she allows for payment plans!
Barter Services – Do you have a trait or have other skills? Ask if your doula is willing to barter services.
Lots of love from your Doula, Denise