The Clock is Ticking…
There is an idea being supported within the birth professional community that a doula needs to charge more after a set number of hours of labor support. The theory behind it is the doula needs to call in a back up substitute or be paid extra for longer hours. How do you feel about that? There are doulas who after 12 hours are then taking on an hourly rate above the fee originally charged.
If the average woman is in labor for 19.5 hours, that means some will go over that time frame and others will go quicker. A doula does not usually attend a mom as soon as labor begins as it is often very manageable and erratic. The doula is usually called when labor is established and she needs more pain coping management. But how about the mom who has a longer labor and needs her doula for more than 12 hours?
Do you think that having the added pressure of having to pay the doula for more hours offers a sense of comfort to the mom? I do not think so! Do you think it may cause her to delay in contacting her doula for fear that the fee would then escalate?
We personally feel it holds the mother hostage. If you want further support in the deep throes of labor, you must be willing to pay more! We will not be party to this new idea. We are there for the long haul of supporting you throughout your labor.
If you need labor support for an extended period of time and we are exhausted and do not feel we are at our best, we may call in a back up to assist you while we take a power nap. We pay that back up out of our fee. We do not feel it is up to you to pay more money due to our fatigue and the need to call someone in to help.
Where did the arbitrary time of twelve hours come from anyway? Can I doula support for longer than 12 hours and still be fine? Sure! Now of course it depends on what time you called her. Yes if you need her at 11pm and you did not give her a heads up so she could take a nap, it may be difficult to be up all night. So, please give your doula a heads up so she can perhaps prepare for an all nighter and maybe an all day the next day too. In early labor, consider resting a lot and allowing your doula to do the same- waiting for things to pick up later and have a refreshed doula. If possible sometimes the dad and doula will tag team and take power naps when possible and still support the mom fully.
We have been known to support moms for days- yes I said days! We have been with a mom for 50 to 70 hours before- more than one of us has done so. And our fee remained the same. Sometimes we have been tipped. Sometimes a tip was offered if a back up was called in since they knew the doula was sharing her fee. But never was it expected or demanded. It will not be happening in our company.
A laboring mom feels so much pressure on her already to perform in such a way to keep intervention at bay. Increasing our fee after a long labor will not be one more added pressure. We will not be a party to this unfair idea.