How many birth per month do most doula do?greenspun.com : LUSENET : Doula.Com General Discussion : One Thread
I have read many questions and answers in this forum and have been impressed. Many of my questions have been answered. But one remains, how many births do most doulas do in a month? Can I support my family as a doula or should I consider it a part-time income? Overall, how long does one woman's birthing experience with a doula last...from first meeting to the postpartum visit. After four children myself, I understand how much energy giving birth takes. But, how come some doulas can only do 3-4 births a month before they are ready for a break? That isn't very much money a month, especially if you have a couple of freebies! This career is one I am very interested in, but I am worried about the income. I would love nothing more than to do them all for free, but need to think of my family too. Thank you for your help. Amy
-- Amy Vasquez (firstname.lastname@example.org), May 08, 1999
I don't blame you for being worried about the income. I would be too if I weren't also working full time and doing births on top of it. It would be very difficult to support a family on 4 births a month. It is a great addition to my regular income though. Doula work seems to come in spurts for me. Some months there are no births and other months I've been crazy enough to take on 5. I also don't do hardly any free births now. I refer clients who can't afford to pay on to newer doulas who want the experience. I would love to do those births myself but I know what my limits are. I always back up the newer doulas and offer to help at the births if they need me but I don't want to be the primary doula. It works out great!
Also, it isn't just the birth that takes the energy. Sure, getting up at 1am and staying with a mom/couple for, sometimes, days at a time takes lots of energy but there is more. We talk with moms often on the phone before hand, do at least two prenatals (of course some doulas do things differently) and really become invested in helping them have the birth they want. So, even before the birth I've spent at least 6 hours with the mom. After the actual birth I stay with the mom until she is comfortable and with her baby- usually 2 more hours from the time of the birth. Afterwards, within a few weeks, we meet again and I give them the birth story that I've written up and we talk about how mom feels the birth went- at least another 2 hours. In the end, I've worked with a mom at least 20 hours even if she has an 8 hour labor. I think that this might have something to do with why some doulas limit the numbers of births they do. If you have any other responsibities it gets hard to juggle!
I am not saying that you couldn't make it work. Perhaps, you could teach childbirth classes and also doula. You would then have a regular income as well as doula income. Because teaching classes is usually in the evenings for only a few hours you might very well have more energy to put towards doula work.
Just my thoughts on the subject. Good luck in figuring out your path.
-- Kirsten Gerrish (email@example.com), May 10, 1999.