Doulas are some of THE most passionate people you will ever meet. The trouble is that they are also some of the kindest people you will ever meet.
Trouble? What do you mean trouble? Being kind is a good thing!
Kindness is an amazing quality to have. Unless your kindness comes with major self-sacrifice. Too many times people believe that they should get the services of a doula for free.And too often doulas say yes because they get to live out their passion and they want to give give give.
Let me tell you why asking for Free doula services is a sh*tty thing to ask another woman to do.
For the sake of keeping it simple, let’s look at this argument from a Birth Doula Point of View. And let’s start with the numbers.
First of all, there are NUMEROUS studies that show the enormous benefits of having a doula during your labour. For one, if you have a doula at your birth you are 60% less likely to request an epidural, which means you are probably not going to have to pay an anesthetist, in South Africa, that means you will save around R5000. That’s more than what the average South African doula charges for an entire prenatal, birth and postnatal package!
Next, having a doula present shortens labour by 25%. 25%!!!!
So for example, without a doula your labour would be 20 hours, but with a doula, it would be 15hours. You would have 5 extra hours to snuggle your newborn, 5 hours less of intense physical sensations. For every hour you would have been in labour you would be saving 15 minutes if you had a doula with you. When she’s saving you time, your doula is also saving you money.
But in case you’re still not sure that it is worth investing in a doula. Let me ask you this, do you not value yourself and the journey of bringing your child into the world enough to pay for the care that you deserve? Of course you do, that’s why you stay up late at night worrying about the minutia of what life is going to be like once your little squish is born. You should know that your doula stays up late at night too, worrying about her own family, and who will take care of them when you call her excitedly telling her that your contractions have started.
That’s not my problem, if she says she’ll be at my birth then she needs to plan for that.
Calm down. She will be there, because that’s what doulas do. But you need to realise that your doula will have to pay someone for their time to watch her children while she misses those hours of their lives to help you bring your child into the world. We love what we do, but we should be compensated (just like any other professional) for giving up time with our families, for having to pay others to watch our kids, and for offering a beneficial service. Our kids miss us you know, just as yours will miss you when you go back to work. Can you imagine if they found out that we had given up time with them to go and spend time working for free? I’d prefer it if my kids saw nothing but love for them in my actions… so if I have to choose between spending time with my kids showing them how much I love them and make no money doing it, or spending time doing intense physical work while they’re looked after by someone else and make no money doing it…. I’m going to choose the former, and I’m 100% certain you would too.
Besides valuing yourself, and understanding the value that a doula will bring to your birth experience, and that doulas have families /lives too, you should also value other women enough to pay them for their expertise (their training wasn’t free). In a world where men STILL earn more than women for doing the same job, women should at the very least pay other women what they are worth. We all need to do our part to get women on the same level as men, and you can start by paying for your doula.
But not everyone can afford it.
Yes. Not everyone can afford to pay for doula support. And yes, they still deserve support. But let me tell you, I know that each and every woman on this planet has something of value to give, but she shouldn’t have to lose to share it with the world. And if she is a trained and/or experienced professional (which doulas are) then you should pay her for her services. If you find a doula that you can’t afford, she’s not the right doula for you. I see the value in every woman. I KNOW that she has something to contribute to others.. So, ask around, you might find a doula willing to barter with you for a skill that you have that could help her in some way, but don’t offer her anything less than the equivalent of what she is worth. And don’t you dare under value yourself either. We can’t empower each other in this patriarchal world if we under value each other or ourselves.
So for crying out loud, don’t put any woman in the terrible position of having to either a) say no to doing their passion because you don’t want to pay them, or b) to say yes and having them sacrifice themselves for your benefit.
Don’t be that guy.
Don’t be sh*t.