What are the boundaries that a doula should abide by. How can you find a doula that fits in their scope of practice?
Today’s guest is Heidi Mills. Heidi is a certified birth doula and owner of Bloc Births. After a few years of experience working in newborn care and she started doing advocacy work with low-income pregnant families in her community. These experiences combined made her realize the gap of care in the American healthcare system that often does not fulfill the emotional and physical support families need during the pregnancy and childbirth experience. She became a doula because it was an evidence-based way to better maternal and fetal health outcomes and provide this type of support in her community. Her goal as a doula is to provide inclusive support among a variety of birth experiences that families can use to flourish during this big life event.
Big thanks to our sponsor The Online Prenatal Class for Couples — if you’re looking to get prepared for for your upcoming birth, it’s the class for you!
In this episode
How to pick a doula
What red flags you might find in a doula while picking one.
How to know when a doula is speaking beyond what they are knowledgeable on (or is beyond their scope of practice).
How much a doula will cost
Other things that might interest you
Another episode on picking your doula.
Producer: Drew Erickson
Check out my other pregnancy podcasts:
[00:00:00.190] – Hilary Erickson
Hey, guys, welcome back to the Pulling Curls Podcast. Today on episode 135, we are talking about boundaries and doulas because I found one that has some let’s untangle it.
[00:00:21.570] – Hilary Erickson
Hi, I’m Hilary Erickson, the curly head behind the Pulling Curls Podcast where we untangle pregnancy, parenting, home, and even travel. We know there’s no right answer for every family, but hopefully we can spark some ideas that will work for yours. Life tangled, just like my hair.
[00:00:43.810] – Hilary Erickson
Hey, guys, before we get started, could you leave a review? Balanced medical/emotional preparedness, in, labor and delivery deserves a review, don’t you think? By the way, the best reviews are left on Apple podcast. Don’t let anyone fool you. Please leave it on Apple podcast. Thank you for coming to my Ted Talk on Reviews. Okay. I met today’s guest on TikTok. I meet a lot of my favorite guests. She’s a doula in the Midwest. She has the business block birth. And you can find her on TikTok at what a Doula Do. I want to introduce today’s guest, Heidi Mills.
[00:01:17.090] – Hilary Erickson
Do you feel prepared for your delivery? In just three short hours, you can be prepared for the confident, collaborative delivery you want. You’ll know what to expect and how to talk with your health care team. And there are no boring lessons in this class. I’ll use humor, stories from my 20 years in the delivery room to engage both of you. I love how Alyssa told me that she found herself laughing at things that used to sound scary. Most of all, you guys are going to be on the same page. From Bump to Bassinet, join the online prenatal class for couples today. You can save 15% with coupon code UNTANGLED. You can find the link in the show notes.
[00:01:52.470] – Hilary Erickson
Hey, Heidi, welcome to the Pulling Curls Podcast.
[00:01:55.190] – Heidi Mills
Hey, Hilary, I’m so happy to be here.
[00:01:57.180] – Hilary Erickson
Okay, guys. I just love Heidi on TikTok and I can’t tell you how many dualas I block on TikTok. The problem with Tik Tok is people just show up in your feed. And sometimes I’m like, I can’t do that just randomly. There are people that I can tolerate when I choose to look at them.
[00:02:12.920] – Heidi Mills
Look at their profile.
[00:02:13.970] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah, right. But I can’t just have them pop up when I’m just like trying to get some engagement in my own videos. Blah, blah, blah. So, Heidi, welcome to the podcast. Heidi is a doula.
[00:02:24.030] – Heidi Mills
[00:02:24.360] – Hilary Erickson
And where are you located, Heidi?
[00:02:25.980] – Heidi Mills
I’m in Kansas City.
[00:02:27.440] – Hilary Erickson
Okay. And she has a birth course. And I would have to say that if you’re looking for a doula based birth course, I think Heidi’s would be one that I totally would recommend more of an emotional support.
[00:02:37.120] – Heidi Mills
[00:02:37.840] – Hilary Erickson
Versus mine is very medical support.
[00:02:40.880] – Heidi Mills
Yeah. Mine is not a childbirth education course. It is designed to pretty much be a birth prep class to help teach you and your partner how to implement a lot of tools that doula use during your birth.
[00:02:51.540] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah. So instead of having Heidi in the room with you, you can have Heidi and Spirit in the room with you at a cheaper at a cheaper rate with tips and whatever. I love that because I think it’s so important that couples work on birth together because you’re going to have that baby for so long.
[00:03:06.930] – Heidi Mills
[00:03:08.850] – Hilary Erickson
Okay. So, Heidi, tell us a little bit. Like, how did you come to being a doula? Because you’re young. You’re pregnant with your second baby right now. When this comes out, you’ll have already had second baby.
[00:03:18.460] – Heidi Mills
Yeah. Hopefully, unless I have the age of an elephant.
[00:03:25.990] – Hilary Erickson
Okay. So how did you come to being a doula?
[00:03:27.870] – Heidi Mills
Yeah. So I worked out of high school. I went to College for a year. Didn’t really know what I wanted to do. Ended up moving across the country and getting married to my high school sweetheart. Fun time in my life. But during that time, I was nannying and kind of happened into being a newborn nanny. So I was working with a lot of newborns. I ended up walking through a high risk pregnancy with one of my clients. I was watching her other kids, and then she got pregnant with another child, and she was high risk, and the child ended up having special needs. And so just walking through that experience with her, I just realized how even for affluent families, they obviously had a full time nanny. They had a lot of extra finances. There wasn’t a lot they had the best prenatal care, the best newborn care around. And there wasn’t really this aspect of emotional support, hands on support that really is built into our current medical care model or just how we handle kind of care in our families. Also, how we handle newborn situations and pregnancy. A lot of people didn’t know what to say and didn’t know what to do.
[00:04:36.060] – Heidi Mills
So that kind of led me to start working in some advocacy work. So I did on a volunteer basis, some advocacy work at a local clinic, just helping low income pregnant women get hooked up with Medicaid and housing and things like that. Different resources inside of our community in that time, I went back to school to get a degree in business and a minor in nonprofit work. And I had a baby in there, too. I had my first baby, and I kind of thought I’d work in some kind of family nonprofit based on my advocacy work that I was doing at a nonprofit. But I graduated during the pandemic with an 18 month old. Did not really feel comfortable putting her in childcare at that point because it was the start of the pandemic and everything was really crazy. So I had always wanted to start my own business, but I thought it was like a ten year down the line kind of thing. So I was talking to my husband a lot and was like, I know that I don’t really mesh with what you would consider, like, the normal Duala aesthetic. And I don’t really relate to a lot of doulas.
[00:05:35.810] – Heidi Mills
I didn’t want to do it for my first childbirth, but I was like, the more I look into it, the Duala role is the role that’s created to kind of fulfill these gaps that I am seeing and that I’m so passionate about inside of the maternal care model of care inside of our country. They’re made to fill in that emotional and physical support that’s kind of lacking inside of our system. So my husband was really encouraging of, you can be a doula and do it your whole own way. You don’t have to do it. How all the other dualas on Instagram do it and what they post and what they put out there. Like, you can be a doubt for the 98% of people who are having hospital births and are having a traditional childbirth experience and the 75% of people who are having epidurals. So you can focus on that aspect and just do your own thing, which I’m very good at, kind of doing my own thing in life. So that was kind of how I went into it. I got my dual certification over the summer and then launched my business blockburst in the fall.
[00:06:29.910] – Heidi Mills
And so I’ve been open for a little bit over a year now.
[00:06:32.240] – Hilary Erickson
Okay. What does Blockbuster stand for? Yeah.
[00:06:34.190] – Heidi Mills
So block. The reason why I chose it is because it’s bloc, and pretty much just what it means is a block is like a group of people with a similar interest. So my point was kind of making it like a really inclusive business model. So I didn’t want any sort of, like, natural birth branding or anything like that. I wanted to be about all different types of people with all different types of birth experiences and all different types of pregnancies being able to come together and get care from somewhere from a doula.
[00:07:03.910] – Hilary Erickson
Oh, I love it. Yeah. Because there is definitely a doula type.
[00:07:07.700] – Heidi Mills
[00:07:08.710] – Hilary Erickson
But my favorite doulas have gone outside that type. Right. Favorite doula experience ever was a woman who was giving birth entirely on her own. Did not want her mom there. I think her mom was in the waiting room in case something happened, but did not want her in the room. And the mom was just a basket case. Such a mess. And I was like, hands full trying to deal with this woman. And then she was like, My duel is coming. And Sunshine, her name is Sunshine. She walked into the room, and I was like, like, glimmers of heaven just fell down, and we were finally able to work this together. It was so great. Anyway, favorite dual experience ever. She’s so great. I loved her in all the birth.
[00:07:45.140] – Heidi Mills
When she walked in that room.
[00:07:46.930] – Hilary Erickson
There were choirs of Angels singing. Anyway. Yeah. Okay. So a lot of people don’t like. What’s your definition of Adula? Yeah.
[00:07:54.330] – Heidi Mills
So I mean, pretty much the traditional definition. We’re there to provide emotional support, physical support, and informational support throughout your pregnancy and labor and delivery experience. So pretty much how I see it. We’re kind of an elevated partner. So we’re your partner who knows a lot about birth, and we also know how to help you. Your partner might have seen maybe has seen one other birth or two other birth if you had other births together, if they’ve had other children. But we have seen a wide variety of birth experiences and also have been educated on all the different options that you have during your childbirth experience and all the different ways to help you through your childbirth experience and can really just kind of be that person there to help you just emotionally cope with it, physically cope with it, and also just know what your options are if you’re unhappy with your options at the moment. And also we’re there for your partner. So your partner sometimes needs to pee or needs to have something to eat. And we’re there to not only support them if they need time away to do something, but also make them look like a rock star.
[00:09:01.470] – Heidi Mills
I always tell my people who are so worried about, are you going to replace my partner, that I will always have your partner doing something before I’m doing something. I will always tell your partner how to do hip squeezes or how to be massaging your back and have them be the one doing it hands on because this is your guy’s birth, and I want you to remember them supporting you well and having a positive experience together and getting to bond over that experience where I will be the second person to step in if there’s stuff that needs to get done or if they need a break.
[00:09:30.230] – Hilary Erickson
I love that because I do see a lot of duels who just step in and then the bad just goes on his laptop and surfing the Internet while the doula does all the work. That always makes me sad.
[00:09:39.090] – Heidi Mills
No, that’s not how it looks like in there.
[00:09:41.720] – Hilary Erickson
Okay. What kind of boundaries does a Doula have? Because I think you’re really good about the boundaries that a Doula should keep. And if you’re looking at somebody on social media who’s not following these boundaries, especially on social media where they’re not like in the emotional intensity of a room where they might cross the boundary, you need to think twice if this is the person you really want to follow or get some ideas from boundaries.
[00:10:03.930] – Heidi Mills
So absolutely, if they’re crossing any sort of medical lines of giving any sort of medical advice or also just recommending like medical treatments or medical care. And sometimes that can kind of be like a Gray area, especially if you’re in the more holistic side of birth, you can say, oh, they’re recommending this like essential oil or supplement or something. And that’s not necessarily a medical thing. But yes, those things are medical interventions, and I think that they all need to be passed by your doctor. Now, the role of the doula is more so to give you your different choices so that you can discuss those choices with your doctor. So sometimes I think a lot of pregnant people just don’t know what questions to ask. And so a lot of times instead of telling them, this is exactly what you need to do, or these are your options, I help them formulate questions that they can then ask their medical care providers. So then they can get that information on their options from their medical care providers instead of from me necessarily. Does that make sense?
[00:11:05.900] – Hilary Erickson
Yes, because I will say a lot of providers are great at giving the option they think is best and all the benefits of that, and they don’t go into all the alternatives, and they’re not going to go into every alternative. Another alternative is you could just go outside and feed the birds. They’re trying to give realist and they should give realistic alternatives, which a lot of time is just like waiting, which a lot of times they don’t even give that alternative, even though it should be on everyone’s mind that waiting is almost always an option. Unless you see, like, a lot of medical personnel running around the room, waiting is a great option. And you can always say to your doctor or midwife what would happen if we waited, right?
[00:11:49.120] – Heidi Mills
Yes. If you work with me as a Duala, we talked through a lot of that. I don’t know if you know, like the brain acronym, B-R-A-I-N but you work through what are the benefits of this intervention? What are the risks? What are their alternatives? What is your intuition telling you and what happens if you do nothing? So what happens if you wait? So lots of times I work through that with my clients beforehand and then kind of let them use those acronyms and those things to guide conversation with their doctors whenever there’s an intervention coming up that maybe they’re not 100% comfortable using to use those different words to ask the questions that they need to ask so that they just feel comfortable choosing whatever medical intervention. So I’m more of a guide through that, less of duels should not be telling you what to do. They should never be telling you what medical interventions to partake of and which ones to disregard.
[00:12:41.010] – Hilary Erickson
Yes. And you’ll see nurses in the corner kind of like cheering that on because we really can get in trouble by specific providers when they’re not in the room. We’ll say all sorts of things.
[00:12:51.650] – Heidi Mills
[00:12:52.050] – Hilary Erickson
And if you ever have a question, you can be like, can we go to the restroom together? I need your help. And then we can have a quick conversation in the restroom, but in front of the provider, the nurse really can’t just be like, are you sure you want to do that? Because the provider will fire you?
[00:13:05.560] – Heidi Mills
Yes. And as a jewel, I’m very much aware of that. And I have helped say they want to break my clients water. And I’m like, hey, do you want to ask them what about these questions? Or do you want to ask if there are any alternatives? And then they ask those things and they might decide not to get their water broken and then the provider walk out of the room and the nurse will go, I think that was the right choice to them, but they’re not going to say anything in front of the doctor because, of course, that’s one of the benefits of the Duala is I’m an independent hire working for my client. You are obviously hired by the doctors, by the hospital. And I’m sure you often have the best interest of mine. And most of the time you enjoy working with the providers. But it’s a little bit of a different role.
[00:13:45.610] – Hilary Erickson
Just to be really clear, unless you have like a provider owned hospital, we’re not paid by the providers, but when a provider has an issue with the nurse, it’s taken seriously by the manager and you will get called in, et cetera, et cetera, unless you have a great manager, which I’ve only had one of. So, yeah, you know, a lot of people are talking about hospitals providing doulas. And I’m like, that is a slippery slope because first off, I’m not sure Dolas want to get paid as little as the hospital will pay them. And I think they’re worth more than that, BTW. But also then they’re paid by the hospital and they then run the same race that I’m running, where you got to keep doctors happy.
[00:14:26.550] – Heidi Mills
Yeah, I know a lot of doulas are not really for that either. So, I mean, of course, it would be nice to have like a steady job and not have to work the business side necessarily of working as a doula. But I have a business degree, so I actually really enjoy the business side. But not lots of people enjoy the business side of running your own business and being an independent hire. But the whole kind of point of the doula is to have somebody that you have interviewed and you really want to kind of mesh with them personally because they’re spending a lot of time with you during pre birth and during your birth that you want to be very comfortable with them, personality wise also. Does that make sense?
[00:15:03.750] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah. And at the hospital, you’d be assigned just like you’re assigned a nurse. We try and take people what they need into consideration if we’ve already had a patient, but if you walk in the door, you get Nurse Nancy, because that’s who doesn’t have a patient. So same for doing that. I’m sure okay. Awesome. So what do you think you are best at in the labor room? Yeah.
[00:15:24.070] – Heidi Mills
So I think that I’m good at it’s always hard to talk about yourself.
[00:15:32.030] – Hilary Erickson
True. Yeah. I’m glad I’m not asking me this question.
[00:15:36.650] – Heidi Mills
I think I’m really good at reading people’s energies, like emotional energies and helping them get through whatever roadblocks they’re having at that moment and also taking charge when I need to take charge, but stepping back when I need to step back. So I think that’s something I’m pretty good at reading when the partner and the birthing person needs some time by themselves and just to kind of, like, gone and take in the labor and then when they’re feeling overwhelmed and when I need to step in with some of my different tactics. I also just think that I’m really good at because I attend pretty much all hospital births. So I think I’m really good at helping people, like, keep progression going with an epidural, really good at helping them cope with inductions and things like that, different tips and tricks for that. So I think that’s something that just because I have a lot of hospital birth experience, it’s something I’m pretty good at as a dual of helping them cope with some of the different hospital interventions that can. I find that early on in my dual work when people would be like, having an induction and be like, you’re strapped to all the things during an induction and feel like really limited in movement, I would kind of just focus more on emotional support.
[00:16:51.240] – Heidi Mills
But now I feel like I’ve gotten so much better at helping them overcome the limitations that sometimes can happen when you’re in a hospital with different interventions, like an epidural or blood pressure cuffs and catheters and stuff like that, and IV polls, like helping them overcome those limitations to help more embrace the physiological process of birth.
[00:17:09.960] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah, that’s awesome. I love how you were saying, reading the room and people’s energies, because I think that’s something I became really good at really quick as a labor nurse, because you really quickly need to just be able to walk in a room and get a sense of where everyone is at. So I think that’s a really important thing to know of a double. Like, if your interview, our listeners are out there interviewing duals and you feel like they just don’t get you within a few minutes of being there. It’s probably not a great fit because that’s such a good skill to have. Yeah. And it served me really well forever. Yeah.
[00:17:43.990] – Heidi Mills
I will say there are people that I always do an initial interview with my clients before they hire me, and there are people that we just don’t match, like our styles and our personalities don’t match. And I’m always happy to give them a list of recommendations of other doulas in the area that I think that they would mesh well with. But then there’s other people that you just click your personalities, click your ideals, click your values, click. And I think that that’s really important when you’re hiring a Duala to interview multiple ones and find the one that you just mesh with. I think that sometimes people get hung up on like, oh, well, this dual has more experience or this dual has this education or whatever. And I think that in the dual role, since you’re not working in a medical way, that personality matters a lot.
[00:18:24.130] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah, I definitely agree. Okay. So if people are interviewing Adola, what are some red flags you think that should pop up in people’s minds while they’re interviewing? Obviously, if they’re just not clicking, because if you don’t feel like you get along in that interview, once you’re in pain, it is really unlikely that then you are going to start to get along.
[00:18:42.540] – Heidi Mills
Yeah, exactly. And then I also always encourage partners to attend those interviews, too, to make sure we click, because we also spend a lot of time together. Why the person is laboring a lot of time and just like silence supporting the partner, the person who is I think it’s always important to have some level of comfort. There also so definitely I always tell people, no matter if you are planning, like a completely unmedicated home birth, even if that is what you are planning, you need to ask whatever dual you’re interviewing and ask specifically how do you support me if I have to be induced? How will you support me if I get an epidural? What will your support look like if I get a C section? Because no matter if you’re planning the most unmedicated holistic birth experience, you can never plan birth. And you never know if you’re going to need a 42 week induction or if you’re going to need a Csection or if you’re going to need to have a hospital transfer and get an epidural. And so I always just say no matter what type of birth you’re planning, ask about the different situations.
[00:19:43.450] – Heidi Mills
Even if you’re planning to go to the hospital and get an epidural right away, ask what if that didn’t work out and I got to the hospital too late? Like, how are some ways that you would help me cope with the fact that I wasn’t able to get this epidural? So ask those different questions. Don’t just ask about the birth that you’re expecting to have, and that will give you a really good idea. They’re able to answer those questions with like, specific scenarios of how they supported people in those roles before then. That will give you a really good idea of if they’re well rounded or if they really only know how to support one type of birth. Because there’s lots of duals who pretty much only work in home birth or birth and your birth. And so that is pretty much like what they know how to support. And so you really want to ask if these unforeseen circumstances happen? Are you just going to be, like, ditching me or just, like, standing there, or will you know how to help me work around some of those limitations to have a better birth experience, even if it doesn’t go exactly how I want it to go?
[00:20:39.940] – Heidi Mills
Another red flag to me is just, of course, if they’re in interviews and questions, if they’re just recommending anything that makes you scratch your head or be like, is that are they supposed to be recommending that? Are they supposed to be saying that if they just are super negative about obese or labor and delivery nurses? In your conversation, I would say, of course, as dual as we have all come across obese that we don’t mesh with or we didn’t like their style or we felt like they violated our client in some way. But I would say that the majority of OBEs and labor and delivery nurses and midwives I’ve worked with have all been really positive experiences. And so I would say if they automatically kind of have a little chip on their shoulder, then you don’t want them bringing that chip. If they’re displaying to you that they have a chip on their shoulder about the medical care model, you don’t want them bringing that chip into your labor and delivery room and giving negative energy off to the staff, if that makes sense.
[00:21:36.080] – Hilary Erickson
Yes, so much sense.
[00:21:37.950] – Heidi Mills
[00:21:39.410] – Hilary Erickson
I love that because especially on TikTok lately, I feel like I’ve watched these people through their pregnancy, and then they end up having a C section or just an unplanned transfer of care or whatever. And these are people I think a lot of people are like, well, if I just do the mile circuit and I do prenatal yoga every day, like, my baby will be in the right position. But just like all of parenting, there’s literally nothing you can do to make your baby do X-Y-Z.
[00:22:05.550] – Heidi Mills
I’m doing that with my second baby. I’m having horrible sciatic pain and just so tight on my left side. I’m like, I know everything right to do. I’m doing all the stretches and all the things I’m a doula. I should know how to feel better and not have tightness and not feel like my baby’s in the wrong position. But then it’s just like sometimes your baby just has a mind of their own and things don’t always work perfectly. And sometimes you do all the right things and it doesn’t help.
[00:22:31.740] – Hilary Erickson
Yes. And so I think it’s so important to know and to find a dual that’s going to be really honest because there are some that pretty much just ditch you once you get to the hospital. They’ve helped you at the birth center. And maybe you’re okay with that because you figure if you go to the hospital, you’re going to be taken care of in different ways. But it would be really good to know that going in.
[00:22:49.640] – Heidi Mills
Yeah, exactly. What exactly are those scenarios and what is going to happen in those scenarios? Also, I always tell people that this isn’t necessarily a red flag, but lots of doulas have very well can be to some people. Lots of duals have very different policies about when they join you in labor, how long they stay after. So like asking all of those questions because I’ve heard repeatedly on podcasts, on TikTok, on social media people saying that as their doula, they expected them to be with them from early labor all the way through. And their dual was like after they got to the hospital and had been laboring for 3 hours or like dual showed up and they were incredibly disappointed. And I do not work that way as a dual. I think that’s a Duala is the person who should be there first or whenever you call them, they should be there. And before you go to the hospital, if that’s what you’re wanting, because that’s kind of the whole point of a dual is to have like the consistent support from the start of your labor through the end. And scientifically, what has been proven to be really helpful is like 24/7 hands on support throughout your delivery.
[00:23:47.700] – Heidi Mills
And so I find lots of people are like, surprised if their dual does not meet that expectation. So definitely ask those specific questions before hiring somebody.
[00:23:55.620] – Hilary Erickson
So do you sign a contract with your people? Yes. And so is that specified in your contract?
[00:24:00.230] – Heidi Mills
Yes, it is included in my contract. I don’t know if it’s other doulala’s contract.
[00:24:05.210] – Hilary Erickson
Right. I think you would definitely want because I don’t think a lot of them sign contracts.
[00:24:09.590] – Heidi Mills
I think a lot just randomly you should sign a contract with your Duala.
[00:24:13.490] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah. So that you know what to expect because with any business, you wouldn’t have your flooring guy come. And he’s just like, I’m just going to come whenever even though a lot of them are like that.
[00:24:25.130] – Heidi Mills
No, I definitely recommend that if you’re looking for a professional Duala, a big sign would be that they have a contract in place that they have a professional model within their dual business.
[00:24:37.410] – Hilary Erickson
Okay. I really like that. And I think you do need to think of a doula as a professional relationship. I know a lot of people who get someone who’s like a doula in training and that person comes into the room. But I have to say that as a nurse, it gets really frustrating because I have that doula-in-training asking me extra questions, and then I’m like, right, I’m training this doula-in-training and helping the patient and assisting the doctor. It’s just like one more thing on my plate.
[00:25:01.050] – Heidi Mills
One of my most frustrating things is when people just have their friend who has had unmedicated birth be like, oh, she’s going to be my doula. And she’s obviously like she hasn’t had any training or anything, because there is no professional qualifications to call yourself a doula. There isn’t some sort of like national agency or anything that you have to pass a test to call yourself a birthdollah. And so what? That frustrates me endlessly when I have friends or somebody that’s like, oh, yeah, my friend who’s just like had their own birth or whatever is going to be my doula, because I’m like, you can call her, you can have her support your birth. But when you walk into the labor and delivery room and you’re like, this is my doula, and then they have no idea what they’re doing. And they also ask really inappropriate questions and do things that are outside of the doula scope, then it gives all of us professional doulas a bad name to all the other people because this is what they are experiencing as a doula. When there’s a big difference between your friend who has had her own birth and a professional doula who has professional training and a business model and contracts and things like that, because I know our role in the birth room.
[00:26:02.800] – Hilary Erickson
Bingo. We just hit it on the head because there are a lot of people who just bring a friend in and then yes, just be really clear to your staff that this is my friend, although with covet restrictions, a lot of times they wanted to see that you but they are not as helpful as an actual full fledged. And you would need to expect that you’re going to pay not like a ton of money, but a good amount of money in order for this person to come support you for 24 hours. Just like if you hired your flooring guy for 24 hours, you would have to pay a good amount of money to them, too. They’re professional. This is what they do.
[00:26:36.000] – Heidi Mills
But I will say that in my opinion, it’s well worth it to pay the money for professional doula versus having whoever attend your birth, if that is what you are wanting for your birth. If you are wanting a professional doula and that experience, then there’s a reason why you have to pay for it. Yeah.
[00:26:52.450] – Hilary Erickson
Just like anything else. Right. Because I could have my husband put in flooring, but it’s going to look very different than if the flooring guy comes and puts in flooring.
[00:26:59.630] – Heidi Mills
You have to weigh what’s important to you, what is worth the sacrifice.
[00:27:03.500] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah. Okay, Heidi. So let’s just spill some tea here. What range should people be expecting from a professional doula? And obviously it varies because in California it’s going to be a lot more than Arizona. Like I as a nurse got paid a lot more in California than I do in Arizona.
[00:27:17.090] – Heidi Mills
Yes, very true. So I would say that the typical range is I’m in the Midwest, so I see a low range because Midwest is a lot different than the Coast I grew up on. The East Coast. So I know there’s a huge pricing difference on what things are charged here. I would say depending on where you live and the experience of your jewel, it probably raises anywhere from like $$700 to $1,500 on average, but then sometimes up to 2000. When you’re looking at doulas who have been working for years and you’re on the coast and things. And I am fine answering this. I actually only charge $800, and then 10% of that goes into my scholarship fund. And the reason why I do that is because I worked with low income women for such a long time that I just think that dual care needs to be a lot more accessible. And I am comfortable with charging those prices. I’m not saying I never will raise them, but I’m comfortable in my lifestyle charging those prices. And I’m just hoping to make doula care a little bit more accessible inside of the community that I live in.
[00:28:14.700] – Heidi Mills
But, yes, it is an investment because that is a lot of money for people when you consider hospital bills and all those things.
[00:28:21.800] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah. Because they are starting to become insurances who are considering paying for doulas. I saw that the military, I’m not sure. I think that is doulas in their hospital. So it kind of sounded like but I’m not really sure. Yeah.
[00:28:34.150] – Heidi Mills
I was confused by it. And there is huge limitations on what doulas they will cover, like what trainings. And it was really unusual trainings. It wasn’t a lot of the top training organization. So I don’t know if they have deals with those training or I don’t know what it is. It’s an odd program, but it’s a step in the right direction.
[00:28:51.370] – Hilary Erickson
Yes. Can people use HSA funds to pay for you?
[00:28:54.070] – Heidi Mills
Yeah, you can use HSA funds. I’ve had lots of clients do that.
[00:28:58.040] – Hilary Erickson
Okay. And they would just submit the risk. So what they would do, just in case you’re like, how do I do that? Because a lot of people like to put my prenatal class to the HSA. You would just pay for it, and then you’re going to submit it to the HSA for reimbursement because Heidi can’t run your credit card like a pharmacy. Yeah. Okay. Awesome. I think this has been super helpful. And I love that you’re giving the scholarship program away because I always felt like the women who really needed the doula never got her. And I do feel like there is a disservice to doulas out there because they only tend to see rich white women who can afford to do.
[00:29:31.620] – Heidi Mills
Exactly. Yeah. You’re getting very much one side of birth if you only work within your price range.
[00:29:39.130] – Hilary Erickson
Yes. And so there is a whole spectrum of birth of people that can’t afford it. So I love the scholarship thing. I think.
[00:29:45.210] – Heidi Mills
How do people apply for that if you’re on my website, I have my normal birth dual form to fill out for birth dual services. And then I have a page called Choose What You Pay, so that’s my scholarship program is Choose What You Pay. So I do that instead of offering, like, just full rise scholarships, I find most people can invest $200 or something. And so then it saves some money in my scholarship fund to help more people. And so 10% of everything that I make on my birth prep classes, on writing birth plans for people on traditional dual services, everything 10% goes back into the scholarship funds. And then people will just apply for my Choose What You Pay program and just write what they comfortably can pay, whether it’s $50 or $500. Right. What they can comfortably pay for birth dual services. And then if I have the money in my scholarship account, then I just take them on as a typical client, and they get all the typical care that a normal birthday client would get because technically I’m still getting paid for it because I’m just taking money out of my scholarship fund.
[00:30:42.150] – Heidi Mills
So they’re not treated any differently.
[00:30:44.040] – Hilary Erickson
I love that. And I do think it’s important to have a bit of a buy in by anybody because they’ll just appreciate it more.
[00:30:49.560] – Heidi Mills
[00:30:50.020] – Hilary Erickson
Okay. So all of you people out there that think that I hate Doulas, you are wrong. I love doulas, just like Heidi. And that isn’t to say that I love people who like medical interventions. I just like people that can really have that know, like, this is their place. I never walk into a room, and I’m like, I’m going to break your water, and I’m going to perform the C section. That wouldn’t be welcome for me either. Yeah.
[00:31:12.680] – Heidi Mills
That have healthy professional boundaries.
[00:31:14.770] – Hilary Erickson
[00:31:15.610] – Heidi Mills
[00:31:16.400] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah. Okay. So definitely check out Heidi’s course. Maybe Heidi and I, after this, are going to have a Chitty chat about how we could Cooper each other’s courses, because I think they would blend really well. So check out the show notes for this. Thanks for coming on, Heidi.
[00:31:28.440] – Heidi Mills
Yeah. Thanks for having me.
[00:31:30.380] – Hilary Erickson
Okay. Such a good interview, because I think we have broken up a lot of the issues with doulas in general here today. Make sure that you’re hiring a doula that has an actual business model that’s just not a friend, because that’s a friend supporting new labor, which is different than a doula. Right.
[00:31:44.100] – Hilary Erickson
And make sure that they have great boundaries.
[00:31:45.860] – Hilary Erickson
Just like good boundaries are good in anything. I think Heidi has great ones. I hope you guys will follow her on Tik Tok. I really enjoy what she’s doing. And she just had a new baby, so everything will be fresh and new for her. So check out Heidi for sure.
[00:31:58.080] – Hilary Erickson
Be sure and stay tuned for next week’s episode where we talk about kids and cell phones. So once that baby is out, how do you let them communicate with the outside world?
[00:32:06.490] – Hilary Erickson
Thanks so much for joining us on today’s episode. We know you have lots of options for your ears and we are glad that you chose us. We drop episodes weekly and until next time we hope you have a tangle free day.