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Birth Work and Money - An Uncomfortable Conversation



Ya'll Ready? Cuz I'm about to go IN. This may be an unpopular opinion, but I DON'T CARE! The discussion around money and midwives/birth work is uncomfortable. For some reason, there is this vision in folks' heads that modern day midwives are still riding horseback and primarily getting paid by exchanging livestock. Now I ain't mad at a good barter! I love bartering. But an extra goat won't pay my mortgage , unfortunately, LOL! Listen, solo midwifery, doula work and any other small business, birth related service DOES NOT have to be provided for less than or free. That narrative is FALSE. Midwives, doulas, nurses, assistants, all deserve to be compensated appropriately. This may look different for everyone, however, everyone needs to be paid. Period. The medical system, which provides the majority of maternal health care in the US, is driven by money, run by insurance companies and incentivized by pharmaceutical giants. The system doesn't give a damn about how birthing women feel when giving birth to babies. Yet, they charge tens of thousands of dollars to birth in their facilities!!



Modern day, private duty midwives, provide comprehensive maternal health care, birth services, mental health services, ongoing postnatal and newborn care. We are listening ears for women and families as they navigate through life's challenges. We provide resources and referrals for specific needs, etc etc etc. Unlike the medical establishment, we genuinely care about the families we serve. So, setting prices that are a fraction of what the medical systems charge, in order to pay our personal and small business expenses to provide the unique, compassionate care that we do, should not be underestimated and undermined. Sisters in birth, please don't feel guilty about setting prices that reflect your value. The clients who hire you will absolutely understand your value (and the not so great alternative) and will have no issue with paying your requested fee.


Giving Back, Paying it Forward


Now, you're probably thinking "I can't charge too much because I want to be accessible for families in underserved communities." Well, that's great! Create your own program in which you make your services accessible, in a way that makes sense for you and your business. I, personally, hold free clinic days for specific services on a regular basis. I do NOT offer free prenatal care or home birth services, however, I do have tiers of service packages to fit any budget. Accessible does NOT always mean FREE. You can have a select, limited service that can be heavily discounted. The point is, offer a service that makes YOU feel good providing at a discounted/free rate. And your service doesn't have to look like anyone else's. Another option is to join a community program that offers accessible services to the community. Volunteer your time or donate funds to a trusted organization. Helping the community does not have to be equivalent to you working for FREE.


The Reality of Financial Responsibilities of Private Birth Professionals


So, let’s get into the trenches of expenses. Here we go:


  • Rent/mortgage

  • Utilities

  • Groceries

  • Car Payment/Gas/maintenance/tires

  • Insurance (Health, Life, Medical, Dental)

  • Emergency Funds

  • Retirement Savings

  • Taxes

  • School tuition (self and kids)

  • Daycare Lunch meals

  • ExtracurricularActivities

  • Tutors

  • Savings for College tuition

  • Family Vacation

  • Professional/Business: Office Rent, Student, Loan payment, Office Utilities, Office insurance, Assistant Supplies and Inventory, Business Taxes Malpractice ,Office Workflow, Pay for back up midwives , And all the unforeseen stuff that pops up!

We appreciate people who understand the value of quality midwifery care. Times are different, but the issues remain the same. We fill in the gaps that are lacking in maternity care systems. We provide the customized, personalized care that women deserve. We actually care about women and their families. We appreciate those who understand that even though we are passionate about the care we provide, we are also providing for our own families. All of us are not married. Many of us are head of households and single mothers. We have our own village of people who help us care for others. Many times we do too much! We want to help everyone, especially those in dire need! And guess what? We do! Under the surface of the business, we are also granting discounts and free services when we can. Why? Because we care and want to help. But the reality is we, too, have financial responsibilities to meet, in addition to expenses needed to run our businesses so that we can continue to provide excellent care. Midwifery and birth work has its benefits and hardships, but NONE of us have entered this profession expecting to be rich.


And that's THAT on THAT!




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