Having a Calling AND Making a Living

So often doulas describe their work as a calling. We have yet to meet a doula who isn’t passionate about what she does to the core. We also think that often there is an internal struggle with making a living by doing something that we feel called to do.

Why shouldn’t we as doulas make a sustainable income by doing the work we love? Do we not value our work enough? Is there guilt involved in taking payment? Is it possible that this is a sexist mentality or even, dare I say, anti feminist? What is this really about?

Lets be frank, no one in the birth community is making big bank. Its not a field that one gets into solely for money. That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be compensated in a way that makes us feel like the energy put into it is of real value. As a professional woman serving families on a deep and intimate level you are worth every cent you charge and probably more. Your wisdom and experience is filling a gap in maternity care that has significant value.

When we undervalue ourselves as doulas we do not make change the best we can in the birth world. It prevents talented doulas who, for instance, become mothers, from continuing their work when the cost of childcare is to high to make being on call feasible. This undercuts the social change we are trying to make. Doulas are social entrepreneurs. We focus on changing the way the world views birth. We can spread the word and make change by valuing this profession as it deserves.

Want to serve those in your community that can’t afford your services? Great, raise your fee and charge more for those that can afford you and then you can afford to take on more pro-bono clients. Figure out how much you can afford to give away and then serve those in need. Don’t’ overextend yourself to the point that you are not able to serve others. At the end of the day you need a paycheck too.

The bottom line is this: The better you are able to provide for you and your family the more you will have to give to your clients and the more social change we can make.
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