The Professional Doula
Authored by Elizabeth Luke, Owner
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 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.
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!