It's not often that I'm left speechless by e-mail responses to inquiries for my agency, but it does happen. When you invest your whole self into being a professional, spend countless hours on education, thousands on trainings and certifications, and believe that your services have value, it's always heartbreaking when you get emails devaluing what you do. Sometimes those emails claim to believe that doulas are priceless while disparaging your business model. This week, I received an e-mail that did just that. I desired to respond rather than react and waited longer than normal to e-mail this person back. I wanted to include this correspondence as a way to encourage doulas that it's okay to believe your services have value. It's okay to not give in to people who think your pricing is high or that everyone deserves a doula. As I continue to elevate the role, I hope you are encouraged to do the same.
*Names have been blurred and email is unedited and exactly how I received it*
I've honestly sat with this email for the past few days unknowing what to say. On one hand I could wish you well and be done, but on the other hand, I feel it's important as a doula and doula trainer to provide information that sustains doulas as they choose to work in this field. Most doulas burn out within 2 years. Their passion for serving families fizzles as they realize they have chosen a line of work that isn't sustainable. Their drive to leave birth better than they found it gets thrown away as they opt to find jobs that can keep the lights on in their homes and their children fed.
Over the last eleven years, I've watched doulas come and go. I've watched them enter this field with a light in their eyes and a yearning in their hearts to serve women and families. I've watched as they recognize that being on call 24/7 for months takes a toll on their families. I've watched as they've missed birthday parties, holiday events, and recitals. I've watched the joy drain from my own children as they hear me say, "I've got to go to a birth!" and they know they may not see me for a few days.
After coming to the realization that I cannot change birth by my myself and that the woman giving birth has that power, I was able to step back and create sustainability for myself and my family. I would have to disagree that every mom deserves a doula. Every mom deserves to have support, but that doesn't have to come from a highly trained individual who invests hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars into her education and job. Every person on the other hand does deserve to be fairly compensated for their work. They deserve to make a living doing the work they love. They deserve to be paid for being at someones call throughout pregnancy, attending a birth for an unknown amount of time, and driving back to a home to check in on the family to make sure they are doing well and don't need any additional referrals.
XXXXX- I wish you all the best in the birth of your baby. I wish you all the happiness and wonder that bringing a new life into this world brings. Thank you for understanding the priceless nature of our profession as you mentioned in your email. If there is anything else I can do for you, please let me know.