As a professional certified doula who takes her job seriously I would never encourage anyone, let alone a fellow birth worker to work for free or even low cost.
"But what if the doula is a student or in training or in need of certifying births?"
Here's the deal: A trained doula is a paid doula. Period. A certificate does not make you a doula, training does.
A doula is an entrepreneur. There are many costs associated not only with training to become a doula, but with starting and running a successful business.
Did you know that 40% of entrepreneurs FAIL in the first year? Within five years that number DOUBLES to a whopping 80%.
I will have NO part in that. Instead I will encourage new entrepreneurs to sit down, write a business plan, partake in a consultation, determine the costs associated with running their business and to figure out what a living wage is for them by utilizing the Living Wage Calculator created by MIT.
"But they have little to no experience?!"
It is not up to you or anyone else to decide how someone runs their business. I for one, do not wish to see it being ran into the ground.
"The woman needs/deserves a doula, but can't afford one."
This one particularly baffles me. Women have been giving birth without the support of a doula since the dawn of time. We are NOT needed. We are wanted. There is a big, big difference. "Seasoned" doulas passing these freebies off is really disheartening. They won't take the birth because they have bills to pay, doesn't the newer doula have similar bills?!
By uplifting fellow birth workers and deterring society from this absurd norm we can change the way doulas are perceived.
Let's stand up together, take our businesses seriously and charge what we are worth.