Today I am going to break down the answer to your question! I will use my own fees and personal expenses as an example to illustrate what work is performed and how much of my own money is put into your support. For the example, I will use my "Birth Doula Support" package. It can be seen that the "C-Section Birth Support" package is set at the same fee. This is because while I spend less time at your birth, I spend more time with you during postpartum visits.
Birth Support Package:
- Initial Consultation (Average 2 hours)
- Two Prenatal Meetings (Average 4 hours)
- One Provider Meeting (Average 2 hours)
- Assistance Creating Birth Plan (Average 2 hours)
- Phone/email Support during business hours (Average 5 hours)
- 24/7 on-call Availability from 38-42 Weeks: I cannot put an average time on this. Simply put, at this time I am unable to travel, drink alcohol, or make firm commitments of any kind. I must available to come to you at a moments notice.
- Continuous Labor Support (Average 14 hours)
- Immediate Post-birth Assistance (Average 2 hours)
- One Postpartum Meeting (Average 2 hours)
- Travel Time: Average of 25 miles one way for five trips ( 7 Hours)
- Gas Costs: (calculated using this MPG calculator, based on 25 miles one way for five trips: $50.00)
- Childcare: Average five trips (based on $20.00 per session: $100.00)
- Food: (based on an average of one meal while at your birth: $10.00)
- Hospital Parking: (average of $5.00)
- Materials for client (average of $20.00)
- PayPal fees: 2-3% ($12.00)
Total Time/Money Spent:
When we add all of the time and money spent during my contract, we get these grand totals for the average birth:
Time: 46 hours
Money Spent: $197.00
So now based on my fee of $600.00, lets see how much I make per hour before taxes:
Current total fee for Birth Support Client: 600.00
Pay rate: $8.76 per hour before any self employment or income taxes are deducted.
So when you see a doula charging a fee you feel is too high, remember this breakdown. You are really paying for a priceless service! And I doubt anyone would ask a midwife or doctor to discount or waive their fee!
As a doula, I love what I do. I love my clients. I love being invited to participate in such an amazing moment in their lives. However, I also work very long hours, put forth a lot energy, and spend my families money in order to meet my clients needs. Doulas definitely deserve to be paid, at the very least, minimum wage for what they're doing for your family.
On Suze Ormon's show, a caller asked Suze if she could afford a doula. She ends with the conclusion that a doula is NEED and not a WANT! You can view the clip here.
Next week, join me in discussing the various ways to afford a doula if finances are tight!