Doulas cost money. That's a fact. Hairdressers cost money, dentists cost money, cars cost money too. Once you have decided that you want a doula, put all the chances on your side to get it.
These are 7 steps to help you afford a doula:
Noticing that this is a long term investment Your birth experience, just like your postpartum experience has an impact on your wellbeing, the way you see yourself as a parent but also as an individual or a partner. It can effect your health, your energy levels, your self-confidence, your relationships, your sexual life, your bond with your baby. Birth and postpartum matter. In case of perinatal death or miscarriage: because of the toll this takes on your mental health, resilience capacity and bonding in your couple, investing in emotional support, whether by hiring a doula, a therapist or a coach, can make all the difference. Events happen, but it is your experience, what you make of it, that counts. And sometimes it takes vulnerability, courage and external help or support.
Putting price into perspective Think of the money you might have spent in a wedding ceremony: the venue, the flowers, the dress or suit, the rings, the catering, the cake, the photographer maybe... The average budget of weddings in Europe in 2018 was about 15 000€, according to an article by the Insider. This covers one day of celebration. Think also of the money invested into a honeymoon trip. On average, newly-weds spend about 3500€ on their honeymoon, mostly one or two weeks maximum abroad. This type of financial investment into a relationship doesn't usually include guidance nor couple counselling. Now think of the relatively small financial investment you put in a doula: the education, the continuous support, the reassurance. Think of the immediate satisfaction and the benefits you will keep enjoying your whole life.
Saving money: spending less in material, more in education/support The childcare and juvenile products industry tries to sell you new articles each year making you believe all of these are an absolute "must have". They play on new parents insecurities and their natural desire to "do well" and be "good parents." Most parents want what is best for their children. But what is best is not necessarily a cupboard full of new fashionable clothes, the last baby toys on the markets, or a "go go gadget" potty that you can also use on planet Mars and that is convertible into a hockey helmet. Think of bare necessities and if you get tempted think of hand-me-down material from friends and family members, recycling centres, second-hand shops and Facebook marketplace (or other C2C platforms).
Crowdfunding and birth registry Open your crowdfunding account for personal funding. There is GoFundMe and many others. In the Nordics, you can also simply share your MobilePay number to your potential funders. Share your dreams, be loud, receive financial help from people you love and who love you. If you have a birth registry, do not hesitate to add "doula support" to your list. Not only, it will help donors to know what you really really want, but it will definitely help you pay for your doula. It will also normalise the need of a doula and give valuable ideas to your future pregnant friends. Such a win-win plan!
Asking your doula if they accept payment plans/instalment agreements Spoiler alert: most of doulas accept instalments. Money discussions might feel delicate or taboo to you but they don't have to be. See it as one practicality amongst others!
Alternatives: Finding a volunteer doula or a doula apprentice Ask your nurse/midwife if they know volunteer doulas. Volunteer doulas can be assigned to expecting persons on specific grounds. The fee is minimum. Contact a doula training school and ask if a student is looking for a client to support. That could be a good compromise.
Hopefully, this step-by-step article will help you to make doula services affordable for you and your family. You deserve a beautiful and empowering experience. Create your ideal team: family, friends, doula and other professionals. Express your needs and wishes, not only to the universe but loudly. Ask for it!