A doula’s role is vast and far-reaching.
They are essentially a non-medical labour support person, which can cover a vast range of things, and are there to provide physical and emotional support to the birthing woman and her partner throughout labour and birth.
They are an invaluable support person in any birth setting and will support the mother as they work through previous birth experiences, help to create a birth plan, provide resources to help make informed decisions regarding labour and birth, discuss labour management options and tools, use techniques during labour to provide comfort and relief, make suggestions during labour about different positions and techniques, support the mother and partner to feel confident in talking to their care provider about preferences or medical concerns and also provide support after birth, as needed.
But her main role is the creation of a birth environment which meets the woman’s needs for safety, warmth, and protection of disturbance.
A doula provides a valuable, one-to-one service doulas have a special skill set and invest a lot of time into each of their clients. That type of care deserves fair compensation, plain and simple. Anyone who works, and puts time and effort, and values themselves, deserves to get paid for their work. It shows you are trained and professional and believe your work is important. Knowing you are worthy and valuable is particularly important as a woman and a birth worker.
Doulas put their heart and soul into their work and dedicate a huge amount of time and effort into their job. In fact, it is not just a job, it becomes their life. When a client is about to birth a doula is on call 24/7 and effectively puts their life on hold. This is a huge ask and a huge responsibility and deserves to be paid accordingly. Yes, this work is an honour, but it is also a job like anything else.
As doulas we all have a collective responsibility to debunk the myth that doulas should purely work for the love of it by charging a fair and reasonable fee. That is the only way it will happen. If some doulas offer their services for free, or at an exceptionally low price, then this only damages the cause for everyone else. It tells people our work is worthless and does a disservice to everyone in the profession.
Doulas can decrease the total length of labour by about 25% and decrease the incidence of caesarean delivery by about 50%. Doulas can help birthing people avoid unnecessary interventions, can help them get off to a better start with their baby and increase their chances of having a successful breastfeeding relationship. Their work is invaluable. To be a good doula it is important to value yourself and believe you are worthy of abundance like anyone else. Birth is a life-changing experience, arguably the most important event, for everyone involved and is always worth the investment.
My name is Harriet Thomson and I am a Student Doula who is currently training at the Doula Training Academy with Vicki Hobbs.
If you would like to talk more about your birthing options, please contact me:
Your Birth Your Way