A Doula Does Not Replace a Dad During Labor | #doula #birth #pregnancy

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As a doula, I find that one of the main concerns of couples wanting to hire a doula doesn’t always come from the mother, but stems deep within the father.

“Won’t a doula take my place at the birth?”

“If a doula is there, what can I do?”

“Why do you need a doula if you have me?”

“I don’t understand.  You don’t want my help?”

These are all valid and extremely important questions for a dad to mull over when choosing a birth team. I love when dads ask these questions, because I know that they want to be involved, and they feel like hiring “labor support” is going to take away from their job as a father during labor.

Let me lay it out, before I go any further…  A doula NEVER takes the place of anyone during pregnancy and childbirth.  She is there to offer additional support, love, hands, nurturing, and knowledge.

It is often hard for a dad to know just what to do and when to do it during labor.   On the other hand, even though you are partners, moms can’t always expect dads to know what to do during labor.  It’s hard for a man to watch the woman he loves go through so much pain while he feels as if there’s nothing he can do to protect her.

A doula can be a guide to show him just how he can be of help to the mom.

For instance, if I see a dad standing beside the mom eager to do something, but not really knowing what, I will ask him if he’d like to massage her back.  Most of the time, he has no idea what to do,  but I don’t make a big deal of that.  I show him where his hands should go and how he should rub, and I walk away until the mom is ready to move on to something else.

Other ways I help dad be involved:

  • Ahead of time, prepare a gift for her to be given during early labor.  It can be as simple as a focal point, small blanket, or even a poem.
  • Understand the different stages of labor so that you can have a better understanding of what she is going through.
  • Encouragement and positive thoughts are always helpful and important to a mother during labor.
  • Be the messenger. Most friends and family members will want to be a part of the special time, but they’ll not be in the room.  A dad can act as a messenger bringing the mom words of encouragement from the waiting area.
  • Gently offer sips of water, a cold rag, or a warm blanket.
  • If you sing… sing to her and for her.
  • Hold her hand.
  • Time her contractions, even if you’re just doing it for memory book sake.
  • Ask the her what you can do to help her be more comfortable, and if she’s unresponsive, ask the doula

 


A Breakdown of a Doula’s Fees – Why Doulas Charge What they Do | #doula #pregnancy #birth

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I love being a Houston Doula. I love attending births.  I love how it makes me feel.  I love how it makes the mom feel.  I love making a difference in other peoples’ lives.

Houston has a great selection of professional doulas, and I am proud to be among some of the best in the business.

Have you ever asked yourself, “why do doulas charge so much?”

Aside from the cost of education, books, workshops, continued education, and advertising (website, cards, brochures), we also take into consideration the time that it takes for all of these as well as out of pocket expenses.

A Breakdown of a Doula's Fees - Why Doulas Charge What they Do

Let’s just break down one of my Houston doula packages in terms of time that I spend with my clients during the course of their pregnancy, labor, and postpartum:

Pregnancy and Labor Package

    • Initial consultation meeting – Approximately 2 hours
    • Two prenatal meetings (One can be at a prenatal appointment to meet your caregiver.) Approximately 4 hours
    • Birth Plan Assistance – Average, off and on, 1-2 hours
    • ASAP telephone, text, and email support during contact hours (8am-8pm) Average 4 hours
    • 24/7 on call within 2 weeks of your estimated due date -

Can you really put a time on that?

  • Around the clock Labor and Birth support once labor has begun – 10+ hours
  • Pictures of labor and birth with my camera as well as yours
  • Immediate postpartum support of approximately 2-3 hours, or until the baby has nursed successfully and the family is settled – 2-3 hours
  • One postpartum visit to discuss your birth, share photos, dote over your new arrival, discuss options for additional support (breastfeeding, cloth diapering, baby wearing, etc.) – Approximately 2 hours

With these approximations, we’re looking at about 25 hours, in the least, just for interaction with my clients.  If you add in another estimated 3 hours for research, paperwork, etc., that goes into setting up each client, we’re at 28 hours.

Travel

The average trip I make to meet with clients is approximately 30-40 miles one way.  These estimates are based on this Miles Per Dollar Calculator and my vehicle.

  • Trip time (based on 5 trips) – 7.5 hours
  • Gas costs (based on 35 miles one way – 5 trips) – $53.75

Childcare & Food Costs

  • Childcare – Approximately $100 per client including visits and birth
  • Food During Birth – Approximately $10 depending on the length of birth

Miscellaneous Costs

  • Hospital Parking and tolls – Approximately $10
  • Materials for Clients – Approximately $5
  • Credit Card or Paypal Fees (if you accept this form of payment – Thanks Robin!) – Approximately 2%-3%

Total Time and Out of Pocket Expenses

  • Time – 36 hours
  • Childcare – $100
  • Food – $10
  • Gas – $54
  • Misc – $15

Let’s do the Math

Remember the Taxes

Don’t forget that you’re looking at state or federal tax (depending on where you live and what bracket you fall into) and you also the 13.3% Self Employment Tax (that’s the state of Texas – 10.4% for Social Security and 2.9% for Medicare). Thank you, Susan, for reminding me!

This is figured for the State of Texas and DOES NOT include Income Tax because that would depend on your tax bracket.

Doula Fee –  $400
Less Expenses - (-$179)
Remainder applied toward hours of work (36) - $221
Approximately $6.14 per hour (not even minimum wage) – $53.20 Self Employment Tax
Doula Fee –  $500
Less Expenses – (-$179)
Remainder applied toward hours of work (36) – $321
Approximately $8.92 per hour – $66.50 Self Employment Tax
Doula Fee –  $600
Less Expenses - (-$179)
Remainder applied toward hours of work (36) - $421
Approximately $11.69 per hour – $79.80 Self Employment Tax
Doula Fee –  $700
Less Expenses - (-$179)
Remainder applied toward hours of work (36) - $521
Approximately $14.47 per hour – $93.10 Self Employment Tax
Doula Fee –  $800
Less Expenses - (-$179)
Remainder applied toward hours of work (36) - $621
Approximately $17.25 per hour – $106.40 Self Employment Tax
Doula Fee –  $900
Less Expenses - (-$179)
Remainder applied toward hours of work (36) - $721
Approximately $20.03 per hour – $119.70 Self Employment Tax
Doula Fee –  $1,000
Less Expenses - (-$179)
Remainder applied toward hours of work (36) - $821
Approximately $22.81 per hour – $133.00 Self Employment Tax

Again, this is based on my time and expenses.  Of course, over the duration of my time with a client, I can spend more or less one on one time.  This is all approximations.

In the grand scheme of things, you’re paying for an invaluable service during your pregnancy, labor, and birth. The difference a doula can make during this time is often priceless. The least that can be done is pay her asking fee.

Do you think that an OB or midwife would lower his/her costs if a mom told him/her that the fees just are not in their family’s budget?  Doulas are a valuable asset to a mom’s birth team.  Our time is also valuable – just ask our kids (and the electric company who won’t waive our monthly bill because it doesn’t fit into our budgets!)!


Ready to Interview New Clients! I’m jonesin’ for a birth, already! | #doula #houston

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After a very, very long hiatus from attending births to have my fourth (not so) itty bitty, I have decided that it is time to for me to get back into the swing of things and start interviewing potential clients!  If you’re looking for a doula in the Houston/East Houston or Beaumont area, I’d love to hear from you!

Although I have continued to be involved in the birth and natural parenting community while I’ve been away, I have missed being able to nurture women and support them during labor and birth.

All that to say:

I’m jonesin’ for a birth, already!

I’m looking forward to getting back into the swing of things!