You've heard about them. You want one at your birth. You've found a Doula you like, now how do you afford her fee?
First let me start by saying childbirth education and doula support are an investment in your birth. You don't get a do-over for the birth of your baby. It is worth every penny to prepare for what will likely be the most transformative day of your life. Below I will give you some tips to afford a Doula's fee.
Skip some of the baby gear & gadgets! We spend so much money on gadgets and gear for babies and a lot of times they don't get used. Luxurious swaddle blankets to find out baby hates being swaddled, adorable outfits they will probably outgrow before wearing, fancy swings to find out baby doesn't like being in a swing...you get the idea. So the first place to start is to ask the people around you what products they actually ended up using when their babies came home. You will be surprised to find the list is shorter than you think.
Enlist the help of family and friends! Another way to find money for a doulas fee is to ask for donations to your doula fund in lieu of baby shower gifts. Keep your registry to the necessities and ask your friends and family for moula for your doula. You can even set up a jar at the baby shower.
Do some Spring Cleaning! Do you have clothes hanging in your closet that you don't wear? Chances are your style preference is going to change once baby arrives. There is a reason yoga pants are called the "mom uniform" comfort over style usually wins. Go through your closet now and consign some of your clothing to put into your doula fund. I am not suggesting giving up all of your pre-baby clothes but if you didn't wear it before baby, you probably won't wear it after baby.
Give up your guilty pleasure! Do the baristas start writing your name at Starbucks without asking? Do you snuggle up on the couch with Ben & Jerry every night? Do you go out to eat every day? I am in no way suggesting giving up your guilty pleasure for 9 months, just a few times less than you normally indulge adds up. Take that money and put it in the doula fund. Nutrition is important during pregnancy so if your guilty pleasure involves added calories, this has a double benefit.
Discuss a payment plan with the doula! Chances are she connected with you and wants to see you have the birth you desire. Most doulas will work with you on a payment plan. It never hurts to ask.
And there you have it- 5 steps to afford a Doula. Most women I speak with regret not hiring a doula. I haven't met many that do regret taking a Childbirth class or hiring a Doula. Your birth and having a satisfying experience is worth the money.
If you plan early in the pregnancy, saving across 30 weeks is not as daunting as coming up with the full fee at one time.