|Posted on March 30, 2016 at 1:40 PM|
Often I am asked what a Doula charges, NEVER have I been asked what is a Doula worth?
What is your Doula WORTH to you? The answer to that is simple, you don't know yet. You have not truly benefited from her knowledge, compassion, commitment to you, your birth or your newborn baby.
With any hope you have interviewed Doulas, received feedback about your Doula from reliable sources, had a raw conversation about your expectations (read about expectations here http://www.integrativechildbirth.net/apps/blog/show/43775641-expectations-vs-reality) with this potential Doula and then decided if she was the best fit for your family.
Should cost be a consideration in your decision making? Absolutely, every family has a budget! When setting your budget you should consider what your Doula is worth! What is your Doula offering you? How is your relationship mutually respected? Their profession is so important to them that they spend countless hours furthering their education to benefit you. They read all the new studies/ published research articles available to bring you the most current up to date statistics so that it will help you to generate a conversation with your care provider, allowing you to make informed decisions about your birth or child. They attend advanced Doula trainings to even further the support they can offer to you. They are apart of a community far larger than you can imagine that allows them to have extended knowledge at their fingertips for you. They attend local meetings to stay connected with other professionals so they can learn but also to meet that special someone that they would trust their clients to and who would be available to back them up in the event they become sick.
A Doulas biggest fear is missing a call from a client in need or the call that it's time! Or to be super sick should their client need them and they don't dare take this illness into their birth place or home. We spend so much time praying that illness or bad cell reception are avoided, because we want to serve you the best we can.
Doulas give up family time, eating their favorite foods (i.e garlic or onions) or wearing their favorite perfumes out of respect for you, should they be called to your birth or assist you when you arrive home with your newest addition. They often take separate cars to events in case they are called away (they don't want to cheat other family members asking them to miss said event) as long as that event is within a 30 miles ratius of your home or birth place (because they want to get to you quickly). They keep their car packed with their "birth clothes", snacks because they are committed to being there for as long as you need them. They keep their gas tanks relatively full, again so they can get to you without delay. They don't turn off their phones at night (and it's never out of sight during the day), anticipating your call (even though family members on the other side of the globe are forgetful and text at all hours interrupting sleep. They don't take last minute family trips because they want to be available for you in case you need them. They have to be super organized so that party goes on without them because they were called away to be with you, or that their own home life is in extreme order so they don't disrupt the harmony they so desperately strive for.
When a Doula is with you or your family, they often don't eat or go to the potty for hours because it could disrupt the peaceful flow. They don't sit down and remain on their feet for hours because that double hip squeeze is the only thing helping you through each contraction. They remain close by in case you reach out or do everything they can to ensure you are as comfortable as you can be, calm and trusting in that very moment. They are keeping a watchful eye so they can bring you awareness if something that may be offered that wasn't in your original plan and being that voice of reason when other decisions are being considered. Allowing you again to ask good questions and making choices that you hopefully won't later regret.
Being on-call 24 hours a day 7 days a week is a choice Doulas make, answering your emails and text messages throughout your pregnancy and labor without setting office hours is also a choice, they chose to do this because they are committed to serving you! So what is their time and commitment worth?
All Doulas charge a rate that they feel is conducive to what they are offering and what they need to make to further support their family. Much of that is based on their experience, their self worth, what they are giving up in their own lives to share in this important day in your life that we consider an honor to be apart of.
Above all what Doulas may really need is your respect and appreciation for their time, endless support, the fact that they genuinely care about you and your family. It goes far beyond what happens on the day you give birth or your first weeks as a new parent - it's so so so much more.
Was it worth it to you to spend the money on someone who is committed to you? To be your navigation system in unchartered waters? To be the one who cares enough, that she gives up so much to be fully present for you while offering wisdom for a better experience?