Hiring a Midwife: the Money “Problem” | Indie Birth

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Hiring a Midwife: the Money “Problem”

August 12, 2010

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We are mamas and birth workers who decided to do birth differently– and bring others along with us. We are kind, fun to work with, and great at (lovingly) calling people on their bullshit when necessary. With 11 children and 16 years of midwifery between us, we’ve learned a thing or two along the way, and Indie Birth is our space to share it all with you.

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Dear Potential Homebirth Client,

Congratulations on considering a homebirth! As you know, there are several midwives that serve this area; we range in age, experience level and most importantly, personality and philosophy of practice. You are of course welcome to email me or call me for a chat before we schedule a “consultation,” but this blog post will hopefully help in narrowing down whether or not we get that far!

You may read around on my website as far as experience goes; you may also contact me for the names and contacts of several past clients that would be willing to speak to you about their experience with me as their midwife.

I have a feeling that my “philosophy” rings pretty clear as well, but feel free to ask questions about how things work, or what I think of different issues, etc. All this is really needed to be able to choose the homebirth midwife that is right for you (!), so I certainly welcome questions or discussion that will help you figure this out.

The main thing I would like to address (as it is often the first question asked to me!) is the issue of money and homebirth. I understand that this is an important issue and if you ask past clients of mine, I am very willing to work with your financial situation; whether it be with payment plans or barters or other arrangements.

However, the best experiences I have had thus far with families have been with the ones that I just fell in love with upon meeting them, and vice versa. I knew from the start that we were meant to walk together, and these families have felt the same way. They have expressed their desire for me to be their midwife, and that is always thrilling! But we’re all human, and personalities don’t always click so beautifully. So, when that’s the case, I am always reassured that there is another midwife out there perfectly suited for these families! I truly believe that is the way it works.

So, with that in mind, I ask that we get to know each other a bit–thru phone or email or having a short meeting. It will become clear to you, and to me, that we would enjoy working together! A mutual feeling of love and respect and excitement to begin this pregnancy journey of yours. And when we know that, we can move on to the discussion of how we are going to make this work financially. An agreement that will suit us both and be “worth it” because we know how valuable a good midwife-client relationship is. It affects your overall experience, and mine as well. It makes for the most satisfying birth experience, regardless of the outcome, because of our trust and relationship.

For that reason, I won’t get into any negotiation or bidding wars with potential clients. It’s impossible to do that when the match is right. When the match is not right, or when you may be holding some fears about homebirth in general, money becomes this “front and center” issue. My “red flag” goes up when a potential client tries to talk me down in price because another midwife is less expensive. If price is the only thing that matters, then please, choose the cheaper option. I have no intention of being the “cheapest” midwife around, and that has nothing to do with being inflexible or insensitive. It is because when people are looking for the cheapest thing around, or choose a midwife only because she accepts insurance, they’re not focused on the things I think are so, so much more important.

And if money (or lack of) is the only reason we are going to work together–well, how can that work?

Similarly, please don’t let your first question be “how much do you cost?” (I realize this can be an innocent, very practical question if you really have no idea how much a homebirth generally costs, but that’s not what I am referring to here.) Anyway, what I “cost” is not a secret, and I am very comfortable with the care I provide for the fee I standardly ask. But really, isn’t it more important that you know if you even want me with you? With you for the next 10 months, as intimate as a family member, with your family at one of the most special and private events that life has to offer?

Money is the way we communicate value in our society. Of course, there are other ways to communicate value, but I do appreciate money and the exchange of money just as much as the next person. But as a potential client, I ask that you take into account some other less practiced ways of choosing a care provider. To me, it’s yet another beautiful way that midwives triumph over the Western medical system of birth. We can actually choose to work together because we think alike, or are friends, or just because we like each other! A choice made purely on money, or insurance benefits, does not apply to me as a midwife serving you. Although, ironically, I will work with virtually any financial situation if you and I really believe in it! Not really the way a doctor’s office, or even that of many midwives work, now is it?

So, perhaps now that I’ve made myself clear, you have a better idea of what would work for your family. A always, if you think I may be the midwife for you, don’t hesitate to contact me. Love and blessings to you!!

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We are mamas and birth workers who decided to do birth differently– and bring others along with us. We are kind, fun to work with, and great at (lovingly) calling people on their bullshit when necessary. With 11 children and 16 years of midwifery between us, we’ve learned a thing or two along the way, and Indie Birth is our space to share it all with you.

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