I’ll be honest. I’m a bit baffled by doulas who offer lower fees for families planning a C-section, or surgical birth.
It’s often said that planned C-sections are less work, less time and thus your doula needs less money. You know what? Nope. Nope. Nope! Your baby’s birth is no less beautiful, poignant or worthy of full-on doula support than a family choosing a home birth, vaginal birth or a natural epidural-free childbirth. The birthing of your baby is NOT a consolation prize, and, as a doula, I would never, ever think to treat it as one.
Listen, I’ve been there. Elliot, 5, was born via cesarean, and my amazing, awesome (and many other alliterations that mean “great”) doula’s support never, ever wavered. Her face never flinched when surgical birth became the route I was taking. My doula was there for questions like, “When will this feel normal?” And she provided consistent reassurance during a seven-month exclusive pumping journey.
But this isn’t about me. As a doula, I charge a full living wage for all births because this allows me to give a mother the best assistance possible and my undivided attention in the birth room – just as I would any other birth. Often, I’m actually with families who undergo cesareans even longer. Before, during and after the birth, I am:
• Sitting by the mom’s side, pre-surgery, helping her birth team devise a list of wishes to try and help her get that skin-to-skin contact and nursing in the operating room or thinking of discussion points to chat about with the doctor to help make the birth a more gentle experience.
• Working through the steps the mom will experience during her C-section, what to expect and what the birth team can do to make her and the baby more comfortable.
• Birth doula assistance in the operating room right at the mom’s side (if medical personnel give their approval).
• Otherwise, I’m helping to set up a postpartum recovery room with home-like touches, such as small decorations and diffused lavender, writing up a customized list of resources for the family’s needs, grabbing coffee for birthing partners. … I may even be getting that Starbucks Pumpkin Spice iced latte for the new mom once she’s past the clear fluids and hospital Jell-O stage.
• I’m sitting with the family, creating little breadcrumbs of ways they can really, actually help the new parents in the postpartum period. Or I’m suggesting slow-cooker recipes and perhaps even giving a quick list of chores the new mom may appreciate not having to take care of when she arrives home with her baby.
• I’m there when mom arrives in postpartum recovery to provide first latch assistance, pumping sizing and support or information on how to bottle feed responsively.
• I’m there for a postpartum check in visit to debrief and answer any questions parents may have.
• I’m there for four weeks of text, phone, email and in-person lactation counseling.
• Complimentary high fives and fist bumps, on an as-needed basis.
So really, every birth is worth it, no matter the method.
Cara Del Favero is a Capital District mother of two, placenta encapsulation specialist and a birth and postpartum doula providing holistic, nonjudgmental support for all childbirth options. To contact her, visit thealbanydoula.net or call 337-6272.