When I talk about my profession, I hear this question asked a lot. There are two very different schools of thought when people talk about cost of your doula.
Some don't even want to ask how much the doula costs because they can't imagine how expensive it is to hire one person to cater to your every need and be on call 24/7 for months at a time.
Theres another group of people who have heard rumors or even experienced doulas giving away their time and services for free or very low cost who may have difficulty understanding why professional doulas charge what they do.
Today I'm going to break it down for you!
There's a few things to think about when you hire a doula.
-Whats their experience like? Are they certified through a credible organization?
-What's their support system like, do they have backup in place, on call childcare, preparations put forth so that they can care for you? I always say, doula's can't take care of our clients if we can't take care of ourselves and our families.
- How long are they willing to stay with you during your birth experience? Do they have systems in place to support you and support their families? Have they set professional boundaries? My KC Doula and many other credible doulas in the area use 12 hour language to ensure that they can care for you to the best of their ability. This doesn't mean that the doula leaves your side! No! It means that they understand their boundaries and know that they can't make this business successful by earning pennies on the dollar. Look for boundaries! People who embrace boundaries will be able to be there for you for a fuller, less worrisome experience!
-Ask them what their back up support has looked like in the past. Are they calling in back up support for every birth? Some doulas charge very little and use backups whom they may not pay. This could leave you with a very fresh and inexperienced doula. The culture surrounding doulas in the past has set many up for major burnout. Doulas that may have been practicing 2 or 3 years ago, are not any longer because of unfair wages and lack of available support. You don't need that kind of worry during your birth or postpartum experience!
-What are their other credentials? Have they expanded their business to include childbirth education, postpartum doula support or placenta encapsulation? There's also things like lactation support, antepartum support or sibling support that adds more training to the doulas repertoire. A well rounded doula shows that they are invested in their business.
-Do they have an actual business set up like an LLC? Are they using business software to help them work on their business? There may be no way to know this but, is your doula's business set up in a way that tells you they take their business seriously and are paying taxes? It may seem small but its a huge red flag when your doula is open to bartering. Doula's should not be paid under the table.
-Are they professional in their communication with you? Being invited into a birth space is one of the most fulfilling things someone can do but that has to start with a good business relationship. Hurt feelings, upset and anger do not belong in the birth room! Doula's who feel taken advantage of for any reason will not be able to support you to the best of their ability. Again, look for the boundaries!
-Do they call themselves professional? A professional doula is different in the way they view their role as a birth support. We don't have agendas, we don't harbor frustration with your birth choices and we DON'T fight with care providers. Be wary of the words your doula uses to describe them self.
-Do they know your care provider or the location that you plan to deliver at? Have you talked to your doctor about utilizing that specific doula? Some doulas are not allowed to work with specific care providers so ask your doctor before choosing your professional doula.
All of this to say that most doulas hoover between $800 and $1300 for their basic package. Packages may go up depending on what is available with the package. Packages can exceed $3000 or more especially for postpartum support.
Many doulas in the area will work with you on payment plans as well. When you plan ahead, it can also help to alleviate some of that feeling of such a large cost all at once. There's simply not a price to be put on feeling empowered during your birth experience. Knowing that you aren't alone and that a true professional is there to walk with you every step of the way, give encouragement, share knowledge and help you start this journey off right will put you at ease and give you more clarity during your birth experience.