The Cost of BEING a Doula

24 Mar


In Meet & Greets, I found myself regularly saying “doula work isn’t lucrative”.  Then I realized I was barely breaking even for my work.  I was afraid to charge for my services.  There were many reasons, but it came down to getting paid with “paychecks of the heart.”  It wasn’t fair to me, my family, and to the doula community.  So I decided to charge a living wage.  Brilliant!

For those not familiar with the expenses of being a doula, following is a breakdown of the cost of a doula:

All said and done, I spend about 30-35 hours per client.  That includes the Meet & Greet, prenatal visits, the birth, postpartum visit, travel time, and communications.  It does not include being on-call.

In addition to the 30-35 hours of contact and travel time, there are the costs of education, books, workshops, continued education, advertising (website, cards, brochures), travel expenses (gas, valet parking or taxis), paying a back-up doula, baby-sitting and insurance costs.  There is also the cost of being “on-call”, which does not have a price.

What does being “on-call” look like?  I stay close to home at all times. I miss family holidays and celebrations.  I get out of bed in the middle of the night and leave my family to join a laboring mom. I keep my car gassed, my doula bag packed, and snacks ready at all times.  I can never let my cell phone die.  I sleep with my cell phone (even though I’m worried about the ramifications on my brain).  I pass on the wine, and try to go to bed early.

When I leave my home, I don’t know when I will return.  I must have contingency plans for every day, I must have backup babysitting always.  I am ready to drop everything to be at a birth.  I will spend 12+ hours on my feet, offering physical support, or resting in a chair for a few minutes.  I eat non-perishable snack foods instead of meals.

There is an art to finding balance in birth work.  Many of us enter the profession for LOVE of the work.  I am a small business owner.  I am building my career as a nurturing support to women and their families.  My intention is to empower women.  That includes myself.  There is a negative perception of doulas who charge their worth, but charging my worth is what allows me to be a doula.  Let’s revolutionize the doula industry!


Today is Day 3 of World Doula Week!  In honor of WDW 2015, I am participating in the World Doula Week 2015 Blog Challenge.  Today’s topic is “Doulas and moolah”.  Check out the challenge’s home page to see what other doulas are writing about or to join. The posts may have similar topics, but each writer’s style and flair will shine! #worlddoulaweekblogchallenge

WDW 2015 blog challenge

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