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<p>I am expecting a baby at the end of March. An acquaintance of mine is expecting a second baby at the end of January has asked me about being her doula. I would normally pass, seeing as how I will be 8 months pregnant at the time, but there are 2 things that are influencing me to take her on as a client. First, she has expressed that she is uncomfortable around strangers, and that it was something that was hard for her in her first birth. She feels that because she already knows me, that she would be more comfortable having me as her doula than a total stranger. The second is that I haven't attended a lot of births in the last year (none since moving to my current home) and I am doing my CBE cert with an organization that requires me to observe births within a pretty limited time frame. I need one more than I have for the requirements, and I know that there is no way that I am going to be able to take on clients for the first year or so (at least) <em>after</em> I give birth.</p>
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<p>She knows that I will not be able to give 100% of myself physically at her birth. Her dh was a very involved and supportive partner in that sense last time, but a little unsure and nervous. So she doesn't have a problem with my physical limitations. I don't feel right charging her my full fee though. How much would you reduce your fee in my situation? Is it crazy for me to try to take on a client while being that pregnant, at all?<span style="display:none;">  Thanks! </span></p>
 

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<p>Only you can decide what is right, but I would make sure it is in writing that you will be limited and have a back up plan for what will happen if you aren't able to do the birth for whatever reason.  What if she goes late and you are closer to you due date?  What if you go early and can't be there?</p>
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<p>As far as charging - I don't charge anything for close friends, so I will be no help there.  The way I see it is that if they are a close friend their our relationship is a give and take.  Sometimes I give and sometimes I take and as long as we are semi even (meaning one being more a taker then the other) then I don't charge.  </p>
 

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<p>We know each other from a group that meets locally that we both partcipate in. She is someone that I am friendly with, someone I would chat with for a few minutes if we ran into each other at the grocery store, but not someone who's last name or phone number I know. If I were not pregnant, I wouldn't really be approaching the doula/client relationship much differently than I would with any other client.</p>
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<p>I do intend to have a contract with her, though I already feel like I am not going to have her pay a retainer beforehand. She is someone that I wouldn't mind chatting with about birth or her birthplan, and that way if I am unable to attend her birth, she isn't paying for anything. And I do intend to encourage her to at least try to meet with some other doulas, since she may hit it off with someone who is "fully functioning" (for lack of a better term!)</p>
 

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<p>I would maybe offer a 10% discount. While you may feel bad about your possible physical limitations, it clearly isn't stopping her from wanting to use you. I wouldn't feel bad charging her close to your full fee.</p>
 

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<p>I agree, I think that if you have a clear contract that states what will happen if you can't make the birth, then you really should charge your full fee or close to it. She knows you are pregnant, and really, it shouldn't impact your care that much. IMO it is ideal for partners to provide as much of the actual "hands on" support as possible (as long as the mom wants that as well). so I think you will be able to give her what she needs.<br>
I attended births as a student MW and as a doula right up to delivery with both my previous pregnancies, and I never felt that it hindered my ability to provide care. I never had any negative feedback from clients or preceptors either.</p>
 

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<p>Thanks for the replies! The input I have gotten from birth pro friends IRL has been very similar. I do agree with you homemade, about a partner's role. That is how I go into most births as well. I feel a lot better about the situtation after getting some objective thought on it!</p>
 

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<p>I attended my first-ever birth when I was 35 weeks pregnant, and it was not a problem for me physically. Several of my doula partners have attended births in their third trimesters as well, and have done OK. </p>
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<p>The fact that your friend is a second-time mom is a good sign. As you know, on average, those birth on average are faster than with a primip. But yes, there is always the risk of a marathon birth, too.</p>
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<p>Can you have a backup that the mom could meet, and whom you would call if you're just not up to it on the day she goes into labor, or if it's a long birth and you need relief? </p>
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<p>As for payment, I have some of the same issues. I have doula'd for three close friends in recent years, and offered to attend for free. One paid me my full fee on the grounds that this was my profession, and it was the right thing to do. The other gave me $150 in gift cards to some of my favorite places after the birth, and the other surprised me with $50 in gift cards afterward.</p>
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<p>I have another good friend due in the spring with her second baby, and I feel like the payment issue is a little unsettled. This is one area where I have a tough time with good boundaries. I'm sure you'll figure out what is best for your situation and your friendship. Sending good thoughts your way! </p>
 

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<p>With my third pregnancy, I accepted clients up to my 8th month. I just wasn't up to being game for the all nighters some births are. If you think you can do it, then go ahead & attend the mama:)  If you think you have hesitiations, then listen to yourself & decline.</p>
 
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