How much does a doula cost?
Well let’s talk about what a doula does. We can list out all the black and white things like:
- Prenatal, in-labor, postpartum guidance and coaching doula
- Breastfeeding support
- Physical support
- Placenta Encapsulation
But what does this REALLY mean? Imagine this:
You find out you’re pregnant. You are so excited, and scared, and you have no idea where to turn. Your friend Kelly told you she had a doula and raved about how much she loved her, so you give her doula a call. The doula answers the phone after 3 rings and says “Well that’s some big news! How you are feeling about everything?” You immediately feel tears welling in your eyes and admit you feel really overwhelmed and don’t even know where to begin. And then she says “It’s totally ok to feel overwhelmed as you nagivate all these feelings and information. Because it’s a really big thing. Do you wanna grab some hot tea and chat a little more this afternoon?”
Later that evening you meet with the doula, and she gets to know you over a warm cup of chai. She listens to your concerns and answers a lot of questions, some you didn’t even know you had until that moment! She gives you some professional referrals based on what you think you’d like your pregnancy and birth to look like, and suggests a yummy tea and some tips for nausea. She has a beautiful folder of information for you to look at with your partner so you can start this journey as a team. She tells you she’ll call you in a couple days to chat about more questions that may have popped up when reviewing the information, and gives you a big hug. You sigh with relief and feel like you finally have a grip on things.
She is like the perfect big sister with her brain dialed into an encyclopedia of research AND she doesn’t have any agenda other than to support what you want!
Throughout your pregnancy, you have a few scares, and your doula guides in deciding if its worthy of a call to your doctor, or something that’s a normal pregnancy thing. It saves you from so many sleepless nights and unwarranted office visits. She teaches an awesome childbirth education class with a group of other expecting parents, and feeds you yummy food at the same time! You realize you aren’t alone and make friends with a couple due around the same time. The next week, she meets with you and helps you design your birth plan with all the information you learned in class. She helps you really dig deep into yourself as you discover the type of parent you want to be, and develop realistic expectations and tools to be confident.
Then one night, you wake up when a backache. You try falling back to sleep, but the ache turns to cramps and you really just don’t know what is going on. You call your doula at 1:00 am, and she answers, sounding like she’s slept for a week on the beach. You talk to her about what the last day or so has looked like, and she assures you that all is well, but you may be having some early labor contractions. She encourages you to drink a big glass of water or sip hot tea and try a heating pad for the back. She lets you know she’s available at any point and talks to you about things to look for and reminds you of when to call your provider. You follow her advise and are able to fall back asleep and get a full nights rest because you know she’s on the watch and can be there quickly.
A couple days later the same cramps come back, but this time they aren’t going away.
You know you probably have awhile to go, but you really don’t want to wake your partner, so your doula heads over to help you get comfortable and talk you through the early hours. Soon dad wakes up and you decide to head to the hospital. She makes sure you didn’t forget your essentials and helps load the car while you relax in a hot shower one last time. She follows behind in her car, races up to the front, and wraps her arms around you as you lean into your next contraction in the hospital lobby. She smilingly assures the hospital staff that everything is ok and you make your way upstairs. For the next 10 hours she keeps your hair out of your face, cools you with washcloths, keeps your playlist going with the lights dimmed. She makes sure your partner has snacks, naps, and takes bathroom breaks. She shows him where to squeeze your hips and how to apply counter pressure to your tailbone as the baby descends. When your providers come in to chat, they light up and hug your doula and you, excited to have a support team they trust with their patient. They talk about all the options, and your doula makes sure everyone is on the same page and that you feel confident in what is taking place. She does this all the way until your beautiful baby is born, all while she snaps pictures and helps with baby’s first feed. And then she says “I am going to leave so you can have some space as a new family. Call when you head home and I’ll come make sure you are all set up and doing well”
In money talk (Dads, this is for you):
Your doula spends anywhere from 20-60 hours per client supporting and educating you and your partner. She does this at 9 am, 3 am, or 6 am without hesitation and with a smile. She send you links, and stays certified in CPR and trainings. She makes you look like a rock star support person, and she does it for a reasonable living wage pay. She reminds you that nothing is wrong, so you don’t need to fix it. She hugs you when you are struggling, and makes sure you always know what is happening, especially in the change of emergency. She guides you to ask questions and advocate for your partner. And she leaves you feeling confident and looking like the best dad in the world.