I strongly believe this to be true! But what does this mean for those who’s finances don’t afford them a doula?
I was recently chatting with one of The Original Birth Connection Birth Worker Training Programme trainees about this and I thought it would be useful to others to share some thoughts.
Whilst in ancient history doulas were in effect slaves without income, modern doulas, or birth workers, aim to make a living supporting birthing women and people, in order to support themselves and their families.
Charging our worth
Because of this we charge a fee. Now many think that this means that doulas are exclusively used by those who have the means to pay the fee. Fees often aren’t small. Whilst the majority of doulas charge between £800 – £1500, there are birth workers out their charging £3000 a birth. There is nothing wrong with this and this is their prerogative!
What must be taken into account by the prospective client is that a birth worker will often be on call for several weeks. at the beck anD call of their client 24/7, they will be with you however long your birth takes (4 hours or 36 hours!). They will provide countless resources to you which often included everything from books to birth pools. They will be with you postnatally and they’re likely to only take on a small number of births within the time frame of a potential estimated due date so as to ensure their availability to you. This is in addition to having to pay our taxes, pay for childcare, eat and pay our bills.
Its incredibly important that doulas charge their worth so that their effort and time, care and experience are rewarded financially in a society that requires work to be recompensed finically so we can all survive. Having a doula can ultimately change the outcome of your birth experience (see above quote!). Though this is no guarantee, its likely that having a birth worker by your side will mean you feel informed and supported in your birth choices, sae and respected.
How can we serve everyone…
However, birth workers should be available to all and they really can be. Many doulas offer a sliding scale of payment dependent on the financial means of the client. Payment plans are relatively standard amongst birth workers as well – with payments often being spread over as much as a year. Many doulas will take vouchers in payment so that family members can purchase their services as gifts, and payment in kind for similar services or goods is not uncommon.
There are a few charities that provide doulas to vulnerable birthing women and people and for provide doulas for people in prison. Doulas Without Borders is one close to my heart who I work with.
If you’re considering a doula then please approach several as you may find that one will happily take a reduced fee or only expenses. Most doulas will do one or more births like this a year and often build this into the fee they charge for their paid work. And don’t discount new or inexperienced birth workers who will often charge a lower rate whilst they’re building experience.
Where there is a will there will be a way….