We recently talked about why a birth doula is worth it. We also talked about what birth fees cover and why doulas are "so expensive".
So now you're probably thinking, "How can I afford my doula?"
You want a doula. You understand the importance. You've met an amazing one you click with. But her fee still makes you balk a bit... What now?
Let's get creative.
Ways To Afford Your Doula
1.) Search early and set up a payment plan.
Most doulas will be happy to set up a payment plan to be paid by the end of the third trimester. But this means that you need to start planning for your doula early. You have a whole 9 months to save and plan financially. The sooner you find and retain your doula, the easier it will be to have manageable monthly payments.
2.) Barter and Trade.
What skills do you have that your doula might benefit from? Do you or your spouse provide a needed service that could partially offset some of your doula fee? Maybe you own a produce co-op and can barter a share of produce to reduce your out-of-pocket fee. Maybe you are able to provide reliable childcare for your doula and can set off part of your fee this way?
Not all doulas are open to bartering and trading, but many are! It never hurts to ask! If you can provide something of value to your doula, then you're on the right track to reducing your fee and affording your doula.
3.) Budget Better.
This one seems to be the hardest. Many of us who are financially tight don't feel like we have an inch of wiggle room. But I encourage you to review your finances and see where you can make adjustments. How important is having a doula? Is this important enough for you to cut down on take out? Back off on Starbucks? Maybe even cut cable for a few months and live off of Netflix and Hulu? Could you cancel your internet and use the library and local shops for wi-fi needs?
This is definitely the hardest and will look different for everyone. But get creative. When there's a will, there's a way. It just all depends on where you place your priorities.
If you're budgeted as tightly as possible and still can't find room, I highly suggest talking to your doula candidly. Most are willing to find a way to make things work. We want to support you. We want to serve you.
4.) Baby Shower Registry
Some registries allow you to add a "fund" of some kind that guests, family, and friends can contribute to. Maybe you can share with your circle how important a doula is to you, and let them know that their support in affording one would mean the world. Whether $10 or $100 is contributed, this approach could successfully offset your out of pocket cost for a wonderful doula.
Can you think of other ways to budget for your doula and find a way to pay the birth fee even if it sounds a bit scary?
Jaimie is a proud mother and wife living in Pemberton, New Jersey. Jaimie serves the South Jersey, Central Jersey, and Joint Base McGuire Dix Lakehurst communities providing prenatal education for breastfeeding, postpartum breastfeeding support, birth preparation, labor support, postpartum support and photography. Jaimie is a Certified Breastfeeding Specialist, Student Doula with the Madriella Network, and former nurse. In the near future Jaimie hopes to add childbirth classes, placenta encapsulation, and other services to support and educate growing families in New Jersey.