Often I will get a call regarding if we offer free doulas. Often new doulas in training will hear that they need to provide free doula services in order to get their “certifying” births for the certification for doula organizations. But we do not offer free doulas. Why?
If someone is working toward certification they have probably bought in excess of $50 worth of books in their required reading lists. Sometimes you can find some of the books in libraries but often not. The doula in training has paid for a membership to a doula organization that is probably more than $50 annually. She has attended her doula training that alone cost over $350 not including her travel cost to attend and her hotel to be housed while attending. She has paid for a certification packet that costs – for instance for an international organization like CAPPA, here is a breakdown on cost- Membership fee: $55.00 · CAPPA Academy : $175.00 · · Training registration fee: $350.00 – $450.00 Total cost: $580.00 – $680.00 plus cost of books and HUG Your Baby Part I · Time limit: 2 years from date of training to send completed materials to CAPPA.
Then there are actual cost of attending the birth. There is gong to the prenatal appointment unless you are meeting her in her home or office . There is gas to get to the location for the birth and back home. There is cost involved in providing the postnatal meeting. There is parking costs at most every hospital. And there is food costs involved when she is at the birth. This is not taking into consideration her cost of supplies- her birth bag could hold over $300 of supplies easily. She may have children who are being cared for by a sitter.
We do things a bit differently. We provide an apprentice program for our doulas in training. So our doulas have hands on training by a mentoring doula. They are not paid to attend a birth but see this as an additional cost of training. This hands on training is so valuable without it being at the cost of them attending a birth with only their training and no guidance at your birth.
For those who are looking for a low cost doula, we do provide that. We are a bit different than other doulas and doula groups. We base our fees not on what the market will bear but instead based on experience. So, if you are looking for a low cost doula, you can find doulas in our group usually starting out- already trained- already apprenticed several births with one of our mentoring doulas, and often well on her way to completion of her certification process, for a low fee of $475. Yet this doula is backed up by and experienced group- not only if she is unable to attend the birth for an unplanned reason but also to seek advice from if she finds herself needing that in your birth situation.
Would you expect your midwife or doctor to provide services for free? Did you realize the average first time mom is in labor for 19+ hours? So consider the time prenatally she will spend with you both in person, on the phone and being on call for you. Consider unlimited labor support and staying with you for a few hours postpartum to help get breastfeeding established and have that golden hour with your baby. Consider the back up and mentoring support provided. Consider that postnatal meeting where you get photos and your birth timeline.
A free doula is not usually able to provide back up if she were to be called away for an emergency or illness. She may not have ever attended a birth at all. She may not have access to calling an experienced doula to get input on ideas for your labor concerns in the wee hours of the night. She may not be fully vested in being on call and fully available for the due month. She may find that she is unable to meet your needs due to the cost of doing so if you live outside of her immediate area. Is it worth having an experienced, supported, well trained doula at your birth for a lower fee, but not free? If so, let us know if we can assist you. Thanks!