Why are doulas so expensive?
The price of a doula can initially be intimidating. I even had a few cases of "sticker shock" when I was searching for one. But as a doula, and having had a doula for my last birth, I understand what an invaluable service these people provide.
No one is getting rich from being a doula. The cost of becoming a doula includes several classes, certification, volunteer work, time away from families, supplies etc. After we establish ourselves, we have regular costs such as continuing education, websites, marketing, gas, networking, childcare, food, and supplies are just the tip of the iceberg. Many doulas don't break even with their costs when they first start out. They are volunteering and trying to build a reputation of solid, quality service. Because they feel it is unfair to charge the full rate for a new doula they over work themselves, and may eventually burn out. This was my story until last year when I was pregnant with my son. I took a break and when I decided I was ready to come back, I promised myself that I would charge what I am worth. I sat down, went over my costs and found my break even point. The amount I spend for one client $450. This does not include time that I spend with my clients for their appointments or the time I spend at their births which has ranged from 4-48 hours. For this reason, I have limited availability for clients on a sliding scale and my minimum is $450. For these clients I am donating my time. My regular rate is $800. This excludes women choosing adoption, for whom I waive my fees entirely.
The price that I charge reflects the quality of care that I provide. I am 100% committed to my clients. This means I wake up in the middle of the night, I change plans at the last minute to be with a client, I find last minute childcare, I take few breaks, and stay fully attentive to the needs of my clients. I love being a doula. But part of loving myself and loving what I do means taking care of myself. I stay current on support techniques and health research and continue to gain a wider array of certifications so that I can better enrich the experience for my clients. When we take better care of ourselves, we are better able to care for the people around us.