February 24, 2015
Why you don’t want to hire a FREE doula!
To connect with other birthing professionals, I belong to many groups online. Some are specifically doula groups, some are breastfeeding groups, some are for South Florida birth workers only and others are for all around the world. Last night I saw a comment posted in one of the doula groups from a labor doula in another state. She was asking for advice from other birthing professionals about a situation she was in. She had been contacted several weeks earlier by an expectant mom and her partner to be their childbirth doula at a hospital birth. They told her that they were looking for a doula that was a “student doula”, a “doula-in-training” or a doula that didn’t have a lot of experience that was not going to charge a fee like the other doulas in the area. They were really just looking for a FREE doula. They met up the following week and had a great consultation. The doula agreed to attend the birth at no charge (no contract was written). The doula agreed to be on call starting at 38 weeks and met with the expectant couple at least one more time prior to the labor to talk about the birth plan.
At 41 weeks the doula gets the call that her client is in labor and will be heading over to the hospital soon. Here’s where the story gets upsetting. The doula tells the dad-to-be on the phone that she is unable to attend the birth. She said she cannot afford to take the day off from work because she needs the money. The couple asked if she had a back-up doula, which is a doula who will be able to attend the birth in the event of an emergency. The doula said no, but offered to try to find one. She began calling around and asking other doulas if they would be willing to do a free birth that was happening right now. All of the doulas she knew in her area were unavailable or said they wouldn’t do it for free, especially without ANY notice at all. Long story short, the couple ended up delivering a healthy baby without a doula, but not by choice.
Being a childbirth and postpartum doula means being on call for up to a full month, starting when your client hits 38 weeks. It means giving up work that may come in during your booked weeks so you won’t miss her birth. It means leaving your family get-togethers or birthday parties or Christmas dinner if a client goes into labor. Doulas who work other jobs have to take days off from work and lose that money when their client needs them. These are just some of the reasons a doula can’t be free and why you shouldn’t want her to be! I felt bad for the couple in the story, I hope their birth was still amazing and went according to their birth plan. I hope with their next pregnancy they will pay for a doula, sign a contract and arrange a back-up. If you are in the pregnant and looking for a doula in the Coral Springs, Parkland, or Boca Raton area, contact me for a free consultation.
This blog written by Lisa Raynor , a childbirth and postpartum doula in Coral Springs, FL. She is also a mom of three boys, a wife, and loves to blog about pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum care and breastfeeding.