Posts in category sustainable

The Professional Doula

The Professional Doula

Authored by Elizabeth Luke, Owner

professional doula jax fl

 

Doula:

pronounced [doo-luh] is a Greek word meaning a woman who serves. Any Google search will reveal that, but the real question remains. Who is the doula really serving, herself or the women who are hiring her?

Defining professional doula in my own words:

A professional doula has received training and is either certified or working towards certification. Without judgement or their own agenda they support families . One who works cohesively with other members of the family’s team including doctors and other family members. A professional doula works to elevate the profession and does not conduct oneself as a hobbyist.

First Coast Doulas philosophy?

We support you and your choices! You call the shots and make all the decisions along the way, always. Support will look different from one family to the next. We attune to you and your family so we can understand your unique needs and customize support to help you with your goals! Your way is supported! .

We support!

We support single moms and dads, married couples, assault survivors, and teenage mothers. We support mothers who identify with happiness and mothers who feel burdened with pregnancy and newborns. We support all races, political parties, religion, or lack thereof. We support those who breast or bottle feed their babies. We support those who have a plan and those who don’t want one.

I’m a professional doula because it’s my passion to support women and families, including my own!

It’s nice to see colleagues I work with empowered. This is our profession. We’re able to provide for our families while supporting yours through hard work and dedication!

Professional doulas all over the world have experienced backlash from those who do this work as a hobby.

They say we’re lousy doulas because we don’t push our own beliefs, education, and choices. Yep, really! We are told we’re wrong for simply providing access to resources and education when requested.

We’ve been called ill informed if we don’t educate on the best way to birth or parent.

We’ve been wildly accused of not caring for families because we support our clients choices for their own families. Wowzers!

They call us greedy doulas for charging a fee for services we provide to families choosing to hire us. Yes, working in exchange for money. A familiar concept to most people.

These “doulas” are grasping at straws and throwing stones where they shouldn’t be.

When I hear doulas say things like, “you have a responsibility to make sure they are making the right choice,” “it’s a shame you call yourselves doulas,” and “I attend births because these women are less fortunate and need my help to feel empowered and make sure they stick to the plan”, I vomit a little in my mouth.

It’s sick and it needs to stop!

It’s like they are saying without me you are nothing, your birth will not be meaningful. You know what’s empowering? It sure as hell isn’t pity or handouts.

Women birth every day without doula support and have amazing births!! That’s right, I said it and it’s no secret except to those who are self-serving.

In fact, the majority of women giving birth do not hire doulas, the number is close to 95%!

The lack of doula support does not mean your birth is not empowering. It simply means you are one of the 95%. As professional doulas we work hard to elevate our role, earn the respect of providers, and the trust of families with whom we work so that the number of families choosing to hire professional doulas will rise! So they can be supported no matter how they birth or parent because that is empowering!

Professional doulas are not greedy or heartless! We are not and will not be “ashamed”. You know what would be a shame?

Seeing an amazing doula dissolve her business and close the doors to helping improve birth and postpartum because she didn’t know her own value and require an appropriate fee for services. Fees that allow her to continue to provide support and grow her knowledge base.

Charging a fee for our work does not make us greedy doulas. It simply means we’re being paid a fee while those not charging are paying in energy and emotion. There is always an exchange.

Which exchange do you prefer?

Paying a fee for a professional doula who will attune to your needs and support you and your family? Knowing that the doula will take this important work seriously.

Or

Selecting a free or cheap doula who, on the off chance may or may not value her own skill set and commitment to you? Risk having her miss your birth or skip out on your post-birth, or go against supporting your wishes in favor of what she deems best?

Think on that!

A professional doula is paid so that the important work that we do can continue. We are not greedy I have found that it’s the complete opposite.

I work hard supporting women and their families. I’d be lying if I said supporting and providing for my own family wasn’t empowering to me.

If you hear the term “greedy doulas” I caution you to beware. Doulas who aren’t charging a fee may be taking from their clients in other ways, ways more precious than any amount of money. A doula who isn’t charging may not able to support you because they’re likely emotionally supporting themselves. Another great point to think on!

Greedy doula ≠ professional doula. You can’t have both!

Here’s a great thread on our IG showing how many do not understand the non-judgemental support we provide.

Leading the way in training and mentoring professional doulas all over the world, ProDoula is our only choice when selecting doulas to work with First Coast Doulas

Going to Work Just for the Fun of It, Part 2

Going to Work Just for the Fun of It, Part 2

If you missed Part 1 you will want to catch up quickly!

Going to Work

 

The 12 hour language used in many contracts simply states that included in the birth doula package, for X amount of money you get 12 hours of face to face support, and beyond that the client pays X amount per hour!

Clients read and understand the terms of the contract, the doula understands her obligations, the client knows what’s expected of them, what they will receive, and that is that. Two or three adults enter into a legally binding contract.

No one knows how long labor will last. Even if you’ve had fast labors before, that is no guarantee the next will be the same. With the 12 hour language in the contract clients will receive amazing support and the doula(s) will be compensated fairly in the event the labor is long. If the labor is short the clients still receive the support outlined in the contract and the doula is compensated fairly!

It’s black and white, it’s plain and simple. Clients get this concept!

They like knowing they’re paying for amazing support, they like knowing their life experience wasn’t a burden on someone else, and when they have their next baby First Coast Doulas will still be around! They like that we provide continuity of care right into the postpartum year! They love that there was an even exchange of support and energy for payment!

It’s empowering!

It’s empowering for the doulas, it’s empowering for the clients!

Imagine this; you live life on call never knowing when you’ll have to leave at a moment’s notice to support a laboring woman for six to forty-eight hours.  You may be in the middle of your daughter’s dance recital, your friend’s husband funeral, or just falling asleep after two days of virtually no sleep thanks to an ear infection in your infant and soothing a fussy, teething toddler of your own. Imagine not knowing if you’d earn $400 or $0?

Imagine you’re supporting a client at a birth, it’s reaching hour 18 and you are dead tired. You can’t keep going, but your client needs you there. It’s a horrible feeling. She goes on to need about 9 more hours of support. Now imagine paying out of your own pocket to pay a back-up doula to come in and provide the remaining hours of support. Yes, I mean your own pocket, or better yet, how about your spouse’s pocket!

Imagine how your spouse or partner would feel about that? Would your children or fur baby be o.k. with this lifestyle choice? Certainly not!

On a global level we need doulas to keep at creating sustainable businesses!

On a global level we need doulas to keep at it!

Globally, if doulas are to help improve pregnancy, birth, and postpartum we must create longevity within the doula profession.

Profession: a type of job that requires special education, training, or skill.

Job: the work that a person does regularly in order to earn money.

The 12 hour language is being used by doulas more and more since ProDoula, a certification agency for the modern doula was started. This language is helping to revolutionize the way  doulas everywhere view the work that they do.

The 12 hour language is only one part of creating stability for the doula so she can make her heart’s work into a long career. The business side of doula work is necessary to create stability, longevity and ultimately to leave behind a legacy! People aren’t working just for the fun of it; they want to leave something behind when they leave this Earth!

The 12 hour language is a SINGLE line in our contract, but it speaks volumes about the work we are doing as professionals!

Being paid a thriving wage allows a doula to be present for her own family when she’s with them, not worrying about how she’ll put food on the table or how she’ll be able to pay a  great nanny to care for her kids when she is called away at a moment’s notice to support her clients in labor.

It allows her to buy herself clothes she would otherwise not be able to afford. It allows her to leave a relationship that’s no longer healthy. It allows her to send a cleaning lady into her elderly father’s home who lives five states away when she can’t get there to help the person who raised her alone!

It allows her to send her child to a school where he/she can receive a fantastic education! It allows her to give her children the very best while she is away!

It allows her self-care when she needs it!

She can get a chiropractic adjustment after a long birth, or pay a therapist regularly to process the stillbirths she supports her clients through! Whether it’s bubble baths, a glass of wine and alone time, monthly massages, or having her hair and nails done on the regular, self-care is important! It’s beneficial, and it’s necessary for longevity!

It allows her to arrive to her clients knowing her kids are taken care of, her car is in good working order, and her house is functioning like a well-oiled machine while she’s away supporting other families.

I say all of that to say this; the 12 hour language allows the doula to come to her clients free from baggage, worry, and frustration. It allows her heart, her hands, and her mind to be solely for the purpose of supporting her clients while she is with them!

Smart people know if you want to make the biggest impact possible in the world it will likely take funds to do so, most things cost! Being business savvy is not greedy, it’s smart!

It allows me and many other doulas, who otherwise would not be able to, to focus on creating stability, longevity, and leaving behind a legacy!

The 12 hour language is a win-win for all! Oh wait, and then there are the ones who have a problem with it!

You know who has a problem with this concept? People who women don’t feel women deserve to be paid appropriately for the work they do. People who are for oppression!

Sorry not sorry!

There are actual people in this world who feel it’s o.k. for women to go to work just for the fun of it. That their actual work is not work at all, it’s all fun and games! They believe it’s o.k. for women to be stuck in abusive relationships, and feel it’s o.k. for women to be away from their families for an unknown amount of time with the possibility she come back empty-handed in terms of earnings. Even worse there are people who think it’s o.k. for the doula to pay out of her own pocket to witness the miracle and extremely hard work of birth!

Bottom line, doulas deserve to be paid for the valuable work that they do, every time, no ifs, ands, or buts about it.

The 12 hour language supports the doula while they support their clients! Going to work just for the fun of it creates burn out, not sustainability!

Going to Work Just for the Fun of It, Part 1

Going to Work Just for the Fun of It, Part 1

Going to Work Just For The Fun of It

Doesn’t the thought of going to work just for the fun of it sound amazing!?!

Do you love gambling with your house, car, family, or your future? Think about it, the possibility of getting paid well or receiving no paycheck at all since you love your job, everyday is a new gamble! You win some you lose some!

Sound like a great business model right? How do you think it will help you create sustainability?

How cool would it be if you could call the electric company and say, “I love my job so much that I couldn’t set a wage for myself to ensure I’d be able to pay my bills this month, maybe next week I’ll have it, I’m sorry”, and all was right in the world!

Yeah, not happening!

This blog may seem…weird or out of place! It’s not, I promise. It’s important we blog, talk, and discuss this issue because it’s a real problem and we need to keep it at the forefront if we want to see change happen in our lifetime. If we want to leave birth work better than we found it we have to talk about the awkward right along with the comforting matters!

Please, stay with me, read Part 2.

It offer perspective and tell you exactly what that 12 hour language is all about in our contract!

Have you had a job that you were excited about going today, everyday?!? Remember the saying, “Do something you love and you’ll never work a day in your life”? Well that’s a load of garbage. Work is work, whether you love it or not, it’s still challenging at some point and majority of people want to be paid for the time they are working!

Without stability you can’t have longevity!  The 12 hour language that’s being used more and more in doula business contracts helps a person create stability for their business. Without stability this profession would suffer, great doulas burn out. Do we really want something as intimate and as life changing as birth to suffer? I know I surely don’t!

Women who are working deserve not only to be paid a wage that helps them survive, but also helps their families survive, and families all over the world thrive, their own family included!

Why should doulas be excluded from this? They shouldn’t!

 

 

Stay tuned for Part 2 of Going to Work Just for the Fun of It

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