This is a question many people ask. Why do doulas charge so much? After all, they only work with each client for one day. Sometimes the labors are only a few hours. The rates for a doula vary widely, but in the NY area, experienced doulas charge upwards of 1000 dollars. What are we paying for?
My friend and fellow doula Eden explains it so well that I am going to paraphrase her words of wisdom :)
When you hire a doula, she is on call for you for 2 weeks before your due date untill you give birth. That could be up to 4 weeks. Being on call means you live your life differently: you keep your phone on you at all times, you need to have child care coverage, you don't travel or go anywhere too far, you may drink less socially because you need to be clearheaded at all times. It also means you don't commit to other clients at that time. Different doulas have a different amount of births they feel comfortable taking on during a certain time period but there is always a limit. When you pay for a doula's services, you are effectively paying her for all the time she is making herself available to you, to the exclusion of other potential clients she could have worked with.
I'll add my own thoughts as well. In addition to the time a doula will spend with you in labor, she will typically have at least one if not two prenatal meetings with you that could be an hour or more. She is always available via phone/email if you have questions, need a referral or just want to talk. She will come to your house when you call her, even if it turns out to be a false alarm. And she will do it all over again when you really are in active labor. She will come 24/7 whether it is 2 30 am or 5 pm- weekdays, weekends and holidays. The doula will definitely call to check in with you a few days post partum and most likely visit you at your home. Even if your labor is on the shorter end, you come out ahead. You get the support you need for a large chunk of your pregnancy,not just at the time of birth. And if your doula does end up staying with you for 24 hours or more, the hourly rate is actually pretty low :)
Now does that make things a bit more palatable?