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Do you think that you should pay a doula for a homebirth?

  • Yes

    Votes: 162 95.3%
  • No

    Votes: 5 2.9%
  • Other: Please explain:

    Votes: 3 1.8%
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Discussion Starter #1
I do not think that doula's should charge money to attend a family at home. They are there for very different reasons in my opinion. I am coming at this from a homebirthing mothers perspective, not as a doula. I have had two homebirths, and two doulas. One I paid 550 dollars, and one I didn't pay at all. Well, I was talking with a woman that is planning on having a homebirth, and gave my opinion on it, as a fellow homebirthing mother. She has a doula that she used last time, which she is planning on hiring again to my knowledge. Apparently she talked with her doula about it, and it was akward, which was NOT my intent at all!! I was simply talking about it as a different role. I said that it was still nice to give a gift, even if it is expensive, a day at the spa for example....<br><br>
Anyways, I got an e-mail from the doula today, reaming me out basically. AGAIN...it was not my intention to cause ANY trouble AT ALL!! I feel badly about it. I was just stating MY opinion as a birthing mother who has done it both ways.<br><br>
Here are some parts of the e-mail from her:<br><br><span>One of my clients has told me something that I need to discuss with you. She phoned you the other day to discuss your experience with homebirth, and said that you told her "doulas shouldn't charge for homebirths" because it is an honor to witness birth at home instead of a hospital.</span><br><br><span style="color:#800080;">I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt and expect the comment was made impulsively. I understand you are passionate about birth and have many strong opinions, and that's great, but I ask that you consider how your interactions with people may impact the rest of us. If you are interviewing with someone of course you have the right to tell them you don't charge for homebirths, but is entirely different to imply that I am not practicing properly and implicitly criticize my practice.</span><br><br><br>
"to imply that I am not practicing properly and implicitly criticize my practice"<br>
I never ever ever never implied or criticized her AT ALL, infact I said that she was an amazing doula...<br><br><span>I guess my feelings on that are even though we may not feel as much a need to protect the mom at home, there is just as much work on examining the couple's concerns about birth and motherhood, helping them find resources and information, answering questions, etc. And when it comes right down to it, I feel that when the birth comes around, we are there for emotional and physical support more than protecting them - the work is already done to give them the support and courage to protect themselves.</span><br><br><br>
OK, I responded:<br><br><span>I also told her that it was just my opinion and that not all doula's feel that way. I told her the reason that I didn't think (as a birthing mother, which is how I was talking to her, NOT as a doula) that "I" thought it wasn't worth 600 dollars to hire a doula to be in at a homebirth where you are not doing the same thing as you would do at a hospital, which is absolutely true in my opinion. This came FROM MY EXPERIENCE. I told her that it was always nice for doulas to still receive a valuable gift afterwards, a day at the spa ...whatever. I am sorry if this made things awkward for you. I did tell her that not all doulas thought this way. I was not talking with her as a doula, but as a homebirthing mother, and had every right to share MY opinion with a friend. I am sorry if this made your relationship awkward. That was never my intent. I DO think that there is a difference between attending home and hospital. It doesn't have as much to do with whether it would be deemed in your eyes as "good" or "bad" but the environment in which we are in. We are no longer protectors and walking birth plans, but again, having been to homebirths and hospital births, I have seen that amazing difference first hand. I DO hope she also talked with you about how I DID say what an amazing person and doula you are, and what a wonderful thing it will be to have you there, regardless of money and what you may or may not charge. I did not realize that at 5 weeks, you had already talked about the hiring fees and whatnot. I am sorry again for placing you in this situation, it was not my intent. I was talking with her about homebirth as a homebirthing mother. I never solicited her, but met her on a mothering forum and she had questions. Anyway, I am sorry that we disagree and I hope that you were able to work it out. I never intended to take money away from you.<br><br>
Sarah</span><br><br><br><br>
I never ment to compromise their relationship, and was just stating something that "I" felt as a homebirthing mother. Unforunately in the situation, I am also a doula, although not practicing much as I have a baby, and it came back in a way that I didn't expect. I FULLY respect her opinion, and NEVER meant for her to lose money.<br><br>
I just don't think it is the same.<br><br>
"I guess my feelings on that are even though we may not feel as much a need to protect the mom at home, there is just as much work on examining the couple's concerns about birth and motherhood, helping them find resources and information, answering questions, etc."<br><br>
I feel that this is the homebirth midwifes "job" not the doula. It is a very different enviroment. And I absolutely HATE the word client.<br><br>
Ok, please let me know what you think...
 

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If I should ever have a doula I would expect to pay her. Doulas IMO work hard and deserve to be payed.<br><br>
In my case my mw and her helper serve as my doulas as does my dh.<br><br>
The only thing I am not happy about in my last birth is my mw didnt make it for the birth and I still have to pay the full amount. Her helper did make it but barely.
 

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I voted yes, because my doula at my homebirth did more work than the one at my hospital birth. Now as it happens, she doesn't charge for homebirths, or at least doesn't charge people she considers her friends. She does feel like just the honor of being able to be there at the birth is something and why she is a doula. I think she needs to be paid for the work she does, and I ended up tipping her well, although not paying her a full fee which she wouldn't disclose to me.<br><br>
For a lot of women this is a career and they need to make money in order for it to be viable. I want women to be valued for the work they do, but it is hard when you feel like some people are in it solely for the money (which is a feeling I have gotten from some). So I like a balance between the two. I want to know that I'm paying someone and can expect a certain level of service, but I want there to be some sort of connection and it not to be all business.
 

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I would expect to pay. I would not ask someone to be there and not pay her.<br><br>
Of course, I didn't feel like I needed a doula at home.
 

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yes, yes, yes, yes.<br><br>
is the only role of a doula to protect a woman from conspiring attendants? no. doulas work - whether it's in the hospital or home.<br><br>
and, yes, some women need protection, better ideas, or an alternative viewpoint even with midwives at home.<br><br>
I think that when we do not charge for our birth work, we are undermining our worth. What we do is important and benefits families - otherwise, why would they want us there?
 

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FWIW, I think you should be able to discuss your feelings as a homebirthing mama with a friend and talk about why you feel it isn't necessary to pay a full doula fee for a homebirth. I doubted I would even need a doula at a homebirth, but it turns out she was invaluable. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> There are definitely things about the home environment that makes it easier, so I can see why this conversation would arise. But I think she is going to feel like her livelihood is threatened if she feels that you, speaking as a doula, are telling people that doulas shouldn't charge for homebirths, so that is probably why she reacted the way she did.
 

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Yes. Doulas work just as hard at homebirths as they do at the hospital. It still is just as tiring at home as it is in a hopsital.<br><br>
And then there's that thing pamamdiwife said:"I think that when we do not charge for our birth work, we are undermining our worth. What we do is important and benefits families - otherwise, why would they want us there?"<br><br>
EXACTLY!!!<br><br>
(And this is a seperate issue, but even for charitable births, I would ask for a gift or a barter or something from the person, an exchange of some kind, so that the person getting my services wouldn't feel indebted to me.)
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I do understand where everyone is coming from. I guess that it is just me and a couple of others that I know who wouldn't charge someone to attend them at home. Thanks for all of your wonderful and honest answers.
 

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Wow.<br>
From a doula's persepctive, I am still working pretty darned hard. I am massaging and encouraging, and holding, and being away from my family, missing sleep, etc.<br><br>
I don't fight doctors or nurses at hospital births. That isn't my job. My job is to mother the mother, and I do that wherever I am.<br><br><br>
That said, I do LOTS of free births, for moms who can't afford me, people who really need me, friends, strangers, etc. I don't charge much, because I think everyone deserves a doula.
 

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I think that the question that needs to be answered is : Are you planning on attending this birth as a doula or as a fellow hb-ing mama/friend? What is this woman expecting of you? Does she just want someone there who is a supportive presence or someone to actively support her? You do deserve to be compensated, but you also deserve to decide what is fair compensation -- paying for your childcare, a small portion of your normal fee, a rug/blanket/quilt/painting/other good that the birthing mother so proudly makes herself, or just the qiuet satisfaction knowing that you helped in what ever measure you did by being present.<br><br>
During my 1st HB, I asked a dear friend, who was also a doula to be present because I was unsure of DH's willingness and ability to support me during labor and birth. As it turned out, she wasn't needed in the role of labor support. DH was my rock and I couldn't have asked, nor did I want, for anyone to do more for me than he did. She did instead run interference between myself and DH and the entourage the MW brought... But that's a whole 'nother story. I offered/insisted to pay her, before and after the birth, but she wouldn't accept any money from us.<br><br>
Do I think she underminded herself and her importance during my last birth... Not at all. Do I feel indebted as though I couldn't have given birth without her... Again no. BUT this doula was acting more as a friend than an "official" doula. And as doulas are we really doing a woman the best if we take the spotlight in that the woman feels aas though she could never give birth without our presence? Shouldn't the credit be where the credit truly belonggs with the birthing mother? ((okay, I am starting to ramble so I will stop now.))<br><br>
As fate would have it, my friend gave birth to her baby 12 wks after I gave birth and was able to return the favor in a small measure by helping her and her family after the birth.
 

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I said "other" because I think every situation needs to be looked at differently.<br><br>
First, I want to say that my focus as a doula is not homebirth, it is hospital birth, simply because I limit the number of birth clients I will take, and I feel I am needed more in a hospital situation for those who do not have the choice of a homebirth, but still want as natural a birth as possible and need to have the birth environment preserved for them. To me homebirth is something entirely different, you are in your own "nest" and that changes the dynamics.<br><br>
The friends I have who have given birth in their home, did so for many reasons, some of which included privacy in a sacred event and they did not even want the midwife near until birth was iminent.<br><br>
But there are times, when a doula would certainly be necessary at a homebirth. Some midwives do not come until labor is well-established. Some focus their efforts more towards the baby and less towards the mother.<br><br>
So back to the original question. Should a doula charge for serving at a homebirth? I can only answer for me. I will only serve at homebirths I have been invited to and asked to serve. So these will be friends. I will not seek homebirth clients. So the answer for me is no, I wouldn't charge.<br><br>
I use a sliding scale, anyway, and sometimes my inner scale says not to charge. And I have received criticism for it.<br><br><b>But I can't live another's life, and they cannot live mine.</b> And God is my ultimate boss.<br><br>
Once there was a lady who was calling all the doulas in my area. (so of course I knew them all) I like to meet people first, but she pushed for a figure. So I gave her a basic figure. Later another doula I knew, called me and was upset that my figure was lower than the one she had given. But I explained that I had no idea what figures the lady had been given, and the doula understood, but said that we all needed to set our prices the same. I did not take that lady as a client, because I really did not think we were a good match. I referred her to some other doulas to speak to. I don't go by money, I go by my own feelings and instincts.<br><br>
Does this help, Sarah?<br><br>
I hope it does.<br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
~W
 

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I think that all birth attendants should be paid if they're performing their profession. The location is irrelevant - it's the time and service they're being paid for.
 

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I voted yes (however, I would attend for free as a friend). I think for some of us, this is money that we need. Not money that is nice to have or money that will go into savings, but money that feeds our children and pays the rent.<br><br>
If we did free births at home, we are taking a slot that could be filled with a paying client. That said, I do agree that bartering is valid way to pay, as is a sliding scale. I have worked for free when I could afford to, but only for those with a real need (and sometimes those are the ones that you "feel" need financial help and rarely those that ask for it)<br><br>
I had a friend/doula/midwifery student that attended my birth as a friend and she was amazing. I value her friendship so much! She worked hard during the birth and after cleaning the kitchen and the birthing space. If I had hired her as a doula, she more than earned her money!<br><br>
Then you have to look at the amount that the birth is costing the doula not only in direct fees and lost income. Childcare? Gas? Food? Supplies?<br><br>
But with the situation that you are discriping I think that the doula was feeling frustrated that maybe YOU didn't value her as a doula. Maybe that the client would hire you instead for free, and she would not get to attend a birth that she was looking forward to? Or maybe you have had an issue with her in the past (maybe she is upset with you or you were upset with her over a misunderstanding) and this brought up those old feelings?<br><br>
For the record, I should mention that I agree with Pam that doulas/midwives should not work for FREE (even if it is bartering or a small payment) even while they are in training. The only clients that have ever "stood me up" are the free ones!<br><br>
Victorian<br><br>
Victorian
 

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um yeah of course I should get paid for a homebirth as well as a hospital birth- I line up childcare, do pre-natals, set aside a few weeks around her due date just for her, use my car, line up a back-up, attend the birth, use my supplies such as hot and cold packs and paperwork, provide my support before, during and post partum- I see no difference at all.<br><br>
Wouldn't that be like saying a midwife shouldn't get paid for a homebirth as well?<br><br>
edited to add I also do a slide scale fee- if someone can't afford the full price, I work something out and agree on a lower fee...
 

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Definitely. Being a doula is a career is it not? It's not a hobby. If you are attending a friend's homebirth, perhaps you won't charge her, but if you are attending the homebirth of a woman who contacted you as a doula, then I would certainly think she should be paid. It's her job (as honored and blessed as she may feel, her time is still valuable).
 

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Why shouldn't a doula be paid? I don't get it...someone is taking time out of their schedule to spend time with you and support you and you don't think that she should charge a fee? In my opinion, it is just like any other job, they should get paid for their time. I'm not saying that someone couldn't do it for free for a family member or friend, but I would never expect that of anyone.<br><br>
Personally, if I was a doula, I would rather get paid than recieve a "gift" afterward. To some people the money would be much more useful. I think a gift as an extra on top of being paid would be a kind gesture for a good doula or birth attendant to show extra appreciation.
 

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The Midwife/Doula/Birth Attendant atmosphere was, is, and continues to be hostile thus affecting our relations with each other. I see the competitive nature of the Midwives with each other, the lack of insurance coverage and Medical Professionals still unable to accept Midwifery as good care for birthing Mothers and the fact that this care is still not legal in places or available as it should be.<br><br>
I agree every birthing Mother should have good care including a Doula and Midwife is she desires.<br><br>
I provide free services as needed.<br><br>
I am humble and serve families. I still need to feed my family BUT I am not in this business because I want the big house on the hill.<br><br>
I wish we as Midwives and Doulas AND Doctors and all could work together for the cause-whatever that might be and not for ourselves at the cost of undermining each other.
 

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I voted yes.<br><br>
I also want to say I have a lot of respect for doulas who do sliding scale. But in no way see that as required.
 

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naking, but a doula has many different meanings:<br><br>
doula~with woman, to serve, greek word: servant, A woman who assists another woman during labor and provides support to her, the infant, and the family after childbirth.<br><br>
whether we are at a birth center, hospital or hb, we are providing all of these descriptions to the mama.<br><br>
warmly-<br><br>
lisa:bf
 
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