Tonight, I'm up... Thinking. You know how that goes, right? My mind wandered onto an article I read a few years ago about how much a Stay-Home-Mom is worth. In summary, the article ended up listing ALL.THE.THINGS a stay-at-home mom does. Man, the list was astounding! Can I just tell you,
if that ever becomes a paid position...
Then my mind continued on to not only being a homeschooling, stay-at-home mom, but a doula and business owner. I happen to wear all of these hats. There is this conversation that happens in the doula community about what a doula "should charge" and why free doula's are a detriment to the profession of birth workers. The conversation can be very passionate and quite loud.
Before I get further into this post, let me preface it with, I know what it is to have to rob "Peter to pay Paul", pinch pennies, save up for something (for a long time), decide maybe I don't really NEED that "thing" cause honestly, it isn't in the budget. I assure you, I absolutely understand "the struggle". And It. Is. Real. Thankfully, we've been blessed to be in a much better place at this point in life.
Making the choice to serve, in any capacity, is not without its compassion, empathy, care, and concern. It's a matter and work of heart. Because of this, a large number of doulas want to save the birthing experience and are willing to give away their services to whoever "needs" them. Making the choice to be a doula is choosing to serve another unselfishly.
As a doula you have to set yourself aside; your opinions, judgments, and critiques to "hold space" for a birthing woman and her partner to allow them to be fully present in their birthing experience.
But, consider with me what it takes to be a doula: Initial and continuous training. The majority of which has some fee attached. An amazing support system to be on-call when she's on-call for you and your birth. For some doulas this is 24/7, every single day of the year. Her family has to understand she may not be able to make every event or she may have to leave at a moments notice- Even though it's her birthday party, or Thanksgiving, or Christmas. There is no "unplugging". Her phone is ALWAYS on and within reach. There are business fees- including websites, materials, doula gear, proper clothing, gas for her vehicle, babysitting fees, having to pay her back-up doula for being on-call even though she may never be called upon, etc. I could keep going....
So, I'm sharing all of this to say, when you're looking for a doula PLEASE don't be caught off guard when she tells you her fees. Hopefully, they're enough to provide a living wage for her family. I assure you, she didn't come to those numbers lightly. She factored in everything. And while it's important to know what you can afford, please take a moment to consider how you might be able to afford her, rather than how you can talk her down from her fee.
For me, my family is PRICELESS. This life I've been blessed with is PRICELESS. It's precious and time is fleeting. But, if you call, I'm coming. They will understand. Or... At least I hope so.
Just to be clear, there are many doulas out there who will doula for free or almost free. How they can afford to do so is beyond me. I sincerely hope this helps you to truly understand and appreciate your doula on a level deeper than her cost. She is sacrificing to serve. Her whole family is. And they are worth every penny.