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Questions for starting into work as a doula...

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

I'm really feeling the desire to seek out more education surrounding the health, well-being, and support of women through working as a doula. A couple questions for those of your currently working as a doula:

 

1. In your experience, has working as a doula made for a manageable full-time career option, or more something you do "on the side"?

 

2. What I'm envisioning now to be most manageable is working in partnership with another doula, so we can provide support as each other's "back-up doulas". Is this a good option to take? Or is working alone manageable?

 

 

post #2 of 7

1- no, in my area there are some doulas who charge enough to make a career but they are very experienced. Most of the doulas charge way too little to make it possible to live on and its impossible to compete with higher prices when you arent experienced.

 

2- i think it is a good idea, though I would recommend networking with other doulas in your area. Here a lot work seperately and if they need a backup for some reason they just ask those they know to help.

post #3 of 7

1. Not for me. Say you charge $500 per birth or $1000 birth (real range across US is probably $300 to 1500, depending on region and skill set), you feel comfortable with 4 births per month. Can you live on the money left over after expenses? It is also difficult to do on the side because very very few jobs offer the flexibility of leaving at a moments notice and being gone up to 24+ hours.

 

In your experience, has working as a doula made for a manageable full-time career option, or more something you do "on the side"?

 

2. I don't think working alone is a great choice but sometimes it is the only one. Sometimes you just can't make a birth - family emergency, illness, etc. When someone is trusting me and counting on me to be at their birth I will be there or I will have my back up there. Otherwise they are left hanging and that is not okay with me.

post #4 of 7

Hello!  My name is Andrea too and I am a new doula.  Good luck to you!

 

1--It would be very difficult to do it on the side.  I work full-time and I have to miss work when I have a birth, but I haven't told that is what I am doing for various reasons.  It stresses me out when I think about missing my day job.  Most doulas I know do a combination of things along with attending births.  They also do postpartum work, they teach classes, do massage, or do lactation consulting, etc.  That seems to work well.  You are self-employed so you have to bring money in and pay your taxes and pay for things like health insurance.  It can be tricky.  My plan is to do it full-time after I have children and I can quit my job.  By then I should have some more experience and be able to charge more and do postpartum work as well.

2--You will always need a backup.  Working in a team can be a great way to do it.  The clients meet with both of you so they know you.  Some people have a schedule where one person is on-call for a certain day and if a client goes into labor on that day that person goes.  This allows each person to have some time off.  I know a doula group of 3 people with a schedule like that and they rotate weekends so that everybody can have a real weekend once in a while.

post #5 of 7

1. In your experience, has working as a doula made for a manageable full-time career option, or more something you do "on the side"?

 

I've been a doula for about 5 years now, my business has just gotten busy this past year.  I am the only doula in my area and there are no backup doulas - I've been looking the entire time.  If you live in a city where there are lots of doulas and lots of hospitals and lots of clients to be had - you might be able to make it work for your primary income?  I kinda doubt it.  But I'm sure some women have been able to do that.  My husband has been a huge supporter or it would have never worked.  Finding clients is hard, they come in clusters and if the cluster is too big you risk missing a birth.  There is a huge variety doula work out there and some only do a birth or two a year while others cram their schedule...depends on what you are willing and able to do.  If you work as a doula and a childbirth educator you might be able to make ends meet?  Maybe.

 

2. What I'm envisioning now to be most manageable is working in partnership with another doula, so we can provide support as each other's "back-up doulas". Is this a good option to take? Or is working alone manageable?

 

IF you can find a reliable backup it has always sounded like a wonderful option to me!  Again, my area is slow about this natural birth and doula stuff - I have only just become a commodity and will soon have to turn people down because I cannot find a good back up.

post #6 of 7

This isn't exactly an answer because I am not a doula but I know that I saw an ad for a scholarship for training at www.momdoulary.com

post #7 of 7

I'm a new doula-in-training as well. I went in to this knowing it would be a source of extra income for my family, but nothing to support us full-time. That being said, my trainer is working as a full-time doula and mentioned that she supported her family of 6 for awhile. I think it depends on your lifestyle, how much you can charge, and how much you are willing to take on at once. 

 

As for backup, during my training it was really emphasized the we should find a back doula for us. The partnership was mentioned as a good opportunity for those not looking to take on full-time doula work. But, a back up was strongly suggested in order to cover those unexpected moments.

 

I know that in Colorado there is a doula Yahoo group where doula from around the state post. Some are looking for backups specifically for a certain date range. I think others find "friends" that agree to back each other up. Good luck! I haven't been able to "book" my first client yet, but I hope to soon.

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