In my industry, we talk a lot about “empowering women”. As doulas, it is our hope and goal that women have a good birth experience in which they feel safe, respected, and above all empowered - empowered to make decisions that are right for her particular needs and the needs of her baby, and empowered as a woman who does not simply “get through” a challenging experience, but rocks it!
This is one of the reasons why Lifetime of Love Doulas do not speak on a client’s behalf to healthcare providers but rather, encourage clients and their partners to use their own voices to have honest and open communication. We simply act as facilitators, not as their mouth piece.
Sadly, in all of our efforts to empower birthing women, some doulas forget about another important woman in that birthing room: themselves. Way too many doulas are severely undercharging for their services, or not charging at all – which means they are paying out of their own pocket to attend births. To this, I say “whatever, I am not the income police", however, what gets me, and what’s more damaging, is that many of these doulas then go onto public forums and chastise other doulas for trying to make a living by charging their worth. I have actually read posts and comments firmly stating that doulas “should not aim to make a living wage” but should rather "accept that this is a hobby industry" and that we "shouldn’t prey on vulnerable, scared pregnant women” with our fees.