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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I need some input here... how close together do you think it's "ethical" for a doula to take on clients?

I'm a newly certified doula, & I've just started a private practice with a partner, and I had planned to take one client per month, which felt reasonable.

Well, I have a client due next month, and got another call from a couple due about 5 days earlier. The thing is, my dh will have nearly no income at all this month for various reasons... it would help us *so much* to have me take two paying clients in a row. My hope obviously is that they wouldn't deliver close together! (Normally I'd take one and my partner the other, but she's out of town the week of the due dates!)

Part of me thinks if I line up a separate backup doula for each client, one whom they have the chance to meet, then if they happen to go into labor the same day they would be covered.
Even if they were just within a couple of days I think that I'm okay with the intense work, exhaustion close together... but maybe that's not fair to the couple who goes 'second'?

I guess what I feel bad about is knowingly taking a greater risk that they would form the relationship w/me (have prenatal meetings together, discuss birth wishes, etc) and get the backup instead, than would usually be the case. Usually I would have to be sick or have a major emergency to use my backup.

I'm hesitant to give up the second client, I guess. It feels hard to lose the income (and I really like both couples!), and dh is totally available to do child care in the time period for our daughter, and I'm not doing anything else right now. But is it unfair to the couples?

How do other doulas decide how to space clients?

Thanks! mb
 

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Personally, if you click with both families, and they are aware of the situation (i.e. the second family knows of the first and understands they would be taking a risk) I would do it in a heartbeat. Lining up separate back-ups is a great idea, too. I would feel better about taking two clients due closer than two in a month separated by a couple of weeks...what would be the chances of them having their babies on the same day?

Think about it and see how you feel.
 

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i think it would be fine. the chances of them delivering on the same day are slim. do you have a doula friend besides your partner who could meet with your clients prenatally and back you up just in case?
 

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it's hard to space clients, because you could have one due early month, one mid-month, one at the end of the month. Realistically, they could all have their babies in the same week!

I'd always have someone you could call as back-up, but chances are, you may never need it!
 

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I would say with back up and being honest with the couples allowing them to be aware and make the decision will help everyone feel more comfortable. Good Luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks everyone for your replies! It's good to hear your thoughts... I've also been thinking throughout the day that I want to take the second client- or at least to talk to them about my situation.
I do have several backup doula possibilities, so I think I'll call them tomorrow and see who's available.

The harder part is that I wonder if it's fair to the first couple I commited to? I have already told them that part of my fee is that I am available for them exclusively that month.
(What would I say anyway - we're so broke I'm taking two clients even though I said I take one a month?! it's not their problem! :LOL)

Hmmm, well, thanks for your thoughts, all.
 

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chances are it will all work out. 2 women birthing at the same time is like a 4% chance. ask any midwive who takes on a full load. most of the time. if one is in labor and they get another call that someone else is in labor. one will wait for the other to finish. its funny that way
 

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I've often had over 5 women due in a month, it works out somehow...

If you choose to tell them about eachother, I recommend being very careful about your words. I had 2 clients accidentally meet one time, and they both spent a lot of time aftewords worried about me not being at thier births. It created a lot of unneeded stress for both of them. I don't ever let my clients know my other client's "due dates" (more than once I've had clients "due" on the same day!).
Having reliable backup is a must though, but I've never had to use it!
 
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