Avoiding Doula Burnout

Today I’m talking to the doulas again, and I want to talk about a very important topic: Doula Burnout.

More specifically, how can we as doulas avoid burnout? 

Did you know that the average length of a doula’s career is only five years? And while 5 years in this work is a huge accomplishment, I also know that most of us get into doula work because we want to make a career out of it. And five years is a long time to feel burnt out.

Prefer to watch, Mama? Here’s the video for you!

However, if you can combat that burnout, then you can continue doing this work that you love and are passionate about for long after five years. 

So here are a few tips on how you can avoid burnout, and what kinds of things we should be doing and considering as doulas to make sure that we can continue to do this work as long as it lights our soul on fire.

  1. Reflection

This should not come to a surprise to you because I talk about reflection all the time in birthwork… and that goes for clients who are preparing for birth and parenthood and also for doulas. 

Of course, you know yourself best, and what works for you and your business isn’t going to be the same thing that works for me and my business. What’s really important in this reflection piece is considering your energy levels and knowing how much energy you have to give to clients, and how much time and energy you have to give to running the back end of a business.

So much of this work is energy-consuming, especially when we’re showing up with our clients in the birth space. It takes a lot of energy. So think about your level of energy and what you have to give to this work right now.

Of course, it’s going to ebb and flow in different seasons in life, in different chapters in life, in different years, and even different months. Things change. The most constant thing about life is that it always changes. And that holds true for our businesses and our personal lives and how we’re able to show up in the different areas of our lives.

We have to consider all of it as a big picture. 

It might sound amazing and rewarding to you to attend a birth a week. And if that works for you, that’s great, but you have to take some reflection time to say, “What is, what is my life like right now? Can I show up in a way that I want to for my clients and the way that they deserve while attending a birth a week?”

And if the answer is yes, great.  That means that you know you can show up and hold that space for your clients. 

A couple of months or years down the road, your life might look different. Maybe you’re stepping into parenthood and it doesn’t make sense anymore to have a client a week… Maybe you have a baby at home, or maybe it’s summer break and you need to spend more time at home and don’t have as much free time. 

Those are all things that you need to consider and really need ot reflect on.

Making sure you’re doing that piece of this work helps avoid burnout. Reassessing and reflecting on how things have been how you want to move forward and how you might want to change things is so important.

  1. Pricing Appropriately

This is sometimes a hot topic in the birth world because for so long, our work has really been discounted and has not been seen as professional work. And for the doulas who are out here doulaing, we know that this is professional work, and that it’s important work. And we should be compensated for that.

Suppose you are bundling your services in a way that gives SO much to your clients but are pricing it at such a low ticket item. In that case, you might be getting a lot of clients, which is great, but if you’re giving so to every client and you’re not pricing it right, you’re eventually going to burn out.

I’d venture to assume that most of us doulas are not necessarily expecting to become millionaires, (although it’s possible!!) but at the same time, we still have to make money to to make a living. We have bills to pay. We have business items to buy and business expenses to pay for. 

We have to be able to price our services accordingly or else you’re going to be in a place where you feel like you have to take on client after client after client, no matter your energy level, no matter what’s going on in your personal life and that’s going to lead to a real quick burnout. 

  1. Self Care

Now this goes for burnout across all areas of life, all professions… everything! 

Specifically for doulas, a huge aspect of self-care has to do with our post-birth rituals and habits. That is really where we need to replenish ourselves in order to give a hundred percent to the next client who is getting ready to have their baby.

Always, you’ve got to take care of yourself. And especially as a doula who is showing up in birth spaces or showing up bedside at someone’s home in postpartum services, we have to show up and truly to serve, and that requires taking care of ourselves tool. 

So make sure you’re taking care of yourselves in between births, in between clients that you’re serving in the postpartum, in between client meetings, in between client check-ins… really at any point that we’re not actively serving clients. A self-care practice is really, really important. 

  1. Offers

Even though we did talk about pricing, considering what your offers entail and pricing appropriately, but also think about having other offers than just the high ticket, high energy, primary offer that you have.

It’s always great to have a high ticket item or main offer, but consider adding other offers that are less one-on-one time and energy exchange. 

Whether that’s teaching childbirth education or selling products related to birth, or anything else. Options are truly endless. 

Adding other offers to your service package is a great way to avoid burnout on one specific offer, and gives your clients more opportunities to work with you!

There are a lot of ways that you can avoid spreading yourself so thin with one major offer. So consider other things that you can add to your business. 

There are graceful and tactful ways that you can add offers that give you more income so that you don’t have to rely on that one high-energy, high-ticket item. 

I know that you are here because you have a heart for this work and that’s what we need… People doing this work that improves people’s birth outcomes, individual people’s outcomes, but also our community as a whole. It’s a ripple effect. 

It’s a lot of work, but it’s also really important work. So make sure you’re taking the right steps to avoid burnout. Because the truth is, we need you, doulas!! Our communities need you!

So go back to that reflection piece. Think about what your self-care rituals are. Take action in your business to support you so that you can stay in this work for as long as it feels fulfilling for you. 

And if you’re listening to all of this and thinking, “How do I know if I am pricing my offers appropriately?” “What are different offers that I can add?” “How do I streamline things to make the backend of my business run smoother?” These are all of the things that we dive deep on in The Doulapreneur Mentorship.

We kick off on Monday, May 6th, and we’re talking about all of this and more!

So if you want to have a better understanding of how you can uplevel your business, uplevel your income and avoid burnout, it’s the perfect place to learn alongside other doulas. 

Enrollment for this round will close on Sunday, May 5th, and then we will hit the ground running on Monday, May 6th where we’ll be diving into setting goals, setting prices, learning about a framework that I call Passion Over Profit that will set you up for avoiding burnout and up-leveling your business.

I hope you join us!

Always feel free to reach out if you have questions about The Mentorship or anything else! I’m always here to talk about doula life!

Shoot me an email at ebirthing@gmail.com, or come say hey in my DMs on Instagram @ebbirthing

2023 © Erin Brier Birthing