You’re not fooling anyone.
Yes, I’m talking to you, doulas. Recently an article came out talking about how a doula training company, Pro-Doula, is supposedly disrupting the birth world because they train their members how to make a profit from the doula profession. They don’t think doulas are a right - they are a luxury and they are marketing to the upper class.
But I call bullshit. This concept is nothing new. No one has ever really believed that doulas are “every woman’s right”, however nice that phrase might sound. A little investigation into the average doula’s fees demonstrates that they have always been a luxury even if doulas themselves claim otherwise.
I recently took a gander at fees listed on doulamatch.com and my jaw hit the floor. Depending on your state, prices range from $450 (only a few states start at that price) up to $1500. Tell me that’s not a luxury!
Now I’m in the lower middle class for income, but I value the birth process. In fact, I’d like an unmedicated birth if that time ever comes again, but there is no way I’m paying the $450 that doulas in my state ask for: I don’t have room in my budget for luxuries. And at $450, a doula would be not just a luxury, but a huge extravagance!
Don’t get me wrong, I’m okay with doulas charging a luxury price. Everyone deserves to make money and set prices that they believe are fair for the time and effort involved. Some people value and can afford all the bells and whistles, a doula included - more power to them!
What gets my goat is that so many doulas pay lip service to the idea that “every woman deserves a doula”, but don’t follow through in running their business. That’s plain bullshit. If it was true, prices would be much lower than they are.
So doulas, charge whatever you want. But don’t pretend to be a necessity. You offer a luxury service that only upper income parents can afford, and that doesn’t seem likely to change.