Anchor ads are not supported on this page.

4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Labor of Love: Life of a Doula

Sarah Burns, a 24-year-old doula, explains what it takes to get started, and stay in business, as a doula.

  • First, please define “doula” for me. What does a doula do?
  • A birth doula provides emotional and physical support to a laboring woman and her family. She also assists the mother with getting information to make informed decisions during the process. The role of a doula varies depending on the needs of her client. My goal is to help the family have a positive birth experience. I spend time prenatally with each couple, getting to know them better so that I can see what they envision for a positive birth experience.
  • You are a young for a doula, aren’t you? Can you tell me how you came into this line of work?
  • Yes, I am fairly young to be a doula. I became interested in being a doula after seeing a homebirth while I was a nanny. Having the opportunity to witness the process of birth undisturbed, with a woman surrounded by love and support of family and friends was really moving. It was empowering. Shortly after that, while chatting with a woman at a hospital, she asked me, “Are you a doula?” Puzzled, I asked her what a doula was. I’d had the experience of supporting families with little ones, and having just attended a birth, I immediately loved the idea of supporting women during pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. A few months later, I was attending births as a doula.
  • Tell me about the training. How does one become a doula?
  • The experience and training of each doula varies. Many are certified through Doulas of North America (DONA). DONA certification involves a 16 hour workshop; 5 books required reading; attendance of a 12 hour childbirth education series; completion of breastfeeding workshop; attendance at three births with good evaluations from a nurse, the midwife or doctor, and the mother; written essays about the births attended, as well as an essay about the benefits of labor support. There are many specifics about each of these requirements. DONA’s website www.dona.org is the best place to see exactly what is involved in the process. Also, it should be noted that not all doulas are certified and this is not a requirement. The benefit of being certified, however, is that clients tend to trust doulas who have taken the time to complete this training. It assures them that their doula abides by specific standards of practice and code of ethics. There are many doulas who are not certified who are excellent doulas. Experience attending a number of births is usually the key, in this case.
  • What kind of financial sacrifices did you have to make to get started? And when were you able to start making money?
  • The largest sacrifice I had to make in order to become a doula was not financial, but rather of time. I chose to begin through UCSD’s Hearts and Hands volunteer doula program for about a year before really taking on paying clients. Although I did take on some clients in the meantime, my business started to pick up after about a year, and after two years it was more dependable. Now in 4th year of attending births, I’ve really been able to see my business grow. I even have the privilege to attend births for the same families I was with a few years ago now having their second pregnancies with me as their doula.
  • So, give me the details. What kind of money are you making today?
  • The average doula makes $700 - $1,000 per client. My doula service fee is $800, paid in two payments. Ethically, a doula must limit how many births she will take on during a month to avoid 2 clients going into labor at the same time. I choose to take on 2-3 clients a month. Taking into consideration fuel, doula bag items, membership and certification fees, along with taxes, it’s not a full-time income for most doulas. However, for part-time work it can be very rewarding,
  • And what about your schedule? It must be fairly erratic, yes?
  • Doula work is unpredictable by nature. I’m on-call for each mom two weeks before and after her estimated due date (I’ve not had one mom have her baby on her due date). I have my phone on me and my doula bag in the car packed with clothes and snacks at all times. Along with never knowing when you are going to “get the call,” you also do not know how long each mom will be in labor. Sometimes for a couple hours, and others for a couple days! A doula has a commitment to stay with the mom as long as she needs, and also should have a back-up doula who can give her breaks or fill-in if she is not available.
  • What do you think are the special qualities it takes to be a doula?
  • That’s the interesting thing about being a doula - each mom is looking for something different. When a mom goes to hire a doula she usually interviews a few before choosing who she feels is the right fit for her family. So there are many different personalities among doulas. I would say one constant among doulas is patience and trust in the ability of women to give birth and the desire to support them during the process.
  • Do you have any additional advice for those interested in pursuing this kind of work?
  • Get as much information as possible about doula work and birth, and get involved in the community. There are non-profit groups such as San Diego Birth Network that have monthly meetings and in-services where you can learn about a variety of topics, meet other professionals in the field, and connect with San Diego moms.
  • Sponsored
    Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Toyota Priuses driven by Chinese men near Mexican border

Legal immigrants say illegal taxis operating on Iris Avenue
Next Article

Front-yard chalkboard charms OB passersby

Questions asked, stories told, neighborhood celebrated

Sarah Burns, a 24-year-old doula, explains what it takes to get started, and stay in business, as a doula.

  • First, please define “doula” for me. What does a doula do?
  • A birth doula provides emotional and physical support to a laboring woman and her family. She also assists the mother with getting information to make informed decisions during the process. The role of a doula varies depending on the needs of her client. My goal is to help the family have a positive birth experience. I spend time prenatally with each couple, getting to know them better so that I can see what they envision for a positive birth experience.
  • You are a young for a doula, aren’t you? Can you tell me how you came into this line of work?
  • Yes, I am fairly young to be a doula. I became interested in being a doula after seeing a homebirth while I was a nanny. Having the opportunity to witness the process of birth undisturbed, with a woman surrounded by love and support of family and friends was really moving. It was empowering. Shortly after that, while chatting with a woman at a hospital, she asked me, “Are you a doula?” Puzzled, I asked her what a doula was. I’d had the experience of supporting families with little ones, and having just attended a birth, I immediately loved the idea of supporting women during pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. A few months later, I was attending births as a doula.
  • Tell me about the training. How does one become a doula?
  • The experience and training of each doula varies. Many are certified through Doulas of North America (DONA). DONA certification involves a 16 hour workshop; 5 books required reading; attendance of a 12 hour childbirth education series; completion of breastfeeding workshop; attendance at three births with good evaluations from a nurse, the midwife or doctor, and the mother; written essays about the births attended, as well as an essay about the benefits of labor support. There are many specifics about each of these requirements. DONA’s website www.dona.org is the best place to see exactly what is involved in the process. Also, it should be noted that not all doulas are certified and this is not a requirement. The benefit of being certified, however, is that clients tend to trust doulas who have taken the time to complete this training. It assures them that their doula abides by specific standards of practice and code of ethics. There are many doulas who are not certified who are excellent doulas. Experience attending a number of births is usually the key, in this case.
  • What kind of financial sacrifices did you have to make to get started? And when were you able to start making money?
  • The largest sacrifice I had to make in order to become a doula was not financial, but rather of time. I chose to begin through UCSD’s Hearts and Hands volunteer doula program for about a year before really taking on paying clients. Although I did take on some clients in the meantime, my business started to pick up after about a year, and after two years it was more dependable. Now in 4th year of attending births, I’ve really been able to see my business grow. I even have the privilege to attend births for the same families I was with a few years ago now having their second pregnancies with me as their doula.
  • So, give me the details. What kind of money are you making today?
  • The average doula makes $700 - $1,000 per client. My doula service fee is $800, paid in two payments. Ethically, a doula must limit how many births she will take on during a month to avoid 2 clients going into labor at the same time. I choose to take on 2-3 clients a month. Taking into consideration fuel, doula bag items, membership and certification fees, along with taxes, it’s not a full-time income for most doulas. However, for part-time work it can be very rewarding,
  • And what about your schedule? It must be fairly erratic, yes?
  • Doula work is unpredictable by nature. I’m on-call for each mom two weeks before and after her estimated due date (I’ve not had one mom have her baby on her due date). I have my phone on me and my doula bag in the car packed with clothes and snacks at all times. Along with never knowing when you are going to “get the call,” you also do not know how long each mom will be in labor. Sometimes for a couple hours, and others for a couple days! A doula has a commitment to stay with the mom as long as she needs, and also should have a back-up doula who can give her breaks or fill-in if she is not available.
  • What do you think are the special qualities it takes to be a doula?
  • That’s the interesting thing about being a doula - each mom is looking for something different. When a mom goes to hire a doula she usually interviews a few before choosing who she feels is the right fit for her family. So there are many different personalities among doulas. I would say one constant among doulas is patience and trust in the ability of women to give birth and the desire to support them during the process.
  • Do you have any additional advice for those interested in pursuing this kind of work?
  • Get as much information as possible about doula work and birth, and get involved in the community. There are non-profit groups such as San Diego Birth Network that have monthly meetings and in-services where you can learn about a variety of topics, meet other professionals in the field, and connect with San Diego moms.
  • Sponsored
    Sponsored
Comments
Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Black man helped Don Bauder in J. David case

Freight train jumper excited reader
Next Article

Holo Holo Festival showcases music of the Pacific Islands

Featured local artists include Eli-Mac and Lea Love
Comments
Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories Fishing Report — What’s getting hooked from ship and shore From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town The Gonzo Report — Making the musical scene, or at least reporting from it Letters — Our inbox Movies@Home — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Outdoors — Weekly changes in flora and fauna Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Street Style — San Diego streets have style Surf Diego — Real stories from those braving the waves Theater — On stage in San Diego this week Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close

Anchor ads are not supported on this page.