Thursday, March 29, 2012

Worried you can't afford a doula? Have you thought about bartering?

When I was pregnant with Lily, I wanted to hire a doula. I thought all doulas charged $1000+ but my childbirth educator mentioned finding a volunteer doula as I was walking out of the door of one of the classes. I pretty much gave up looking before I ever started because I was too embarrassed to try asking a doula, any doula, to attend my birth for free. I was too embarrassed to ask for a discount, and I didn't really know about bartering. I never took the time to even google, "free doula" or "volunteer doula" or "bartering with doula" or anything. I just figured I should do without because we didn't have enough money to pay for a doula.

I suppose I didn't realize there were doulas with lower fees out there. I suppose I did not know that there were doulas with various levels of experience and skills and therefore prices, and I definitely didn't know that there were doulas looking for births for certification. Many new doulas (though not all nor are they required to) volunteer their services for those first few births they attend.

Now, I am no longer looking for births to submit with my certification paperwork thanks to some very special and wonderful people who were willing to take a chance on me and to hire a fresh-out-of-the-box doula like me! I offered my first few births for free. I no longer offer births for free, except for this fabulous giveaway, but I am willing to work with a family. I offer discounts, payment plans, and I am willing to barter. So far my prices have been low enough that families haven't had a problem making payments. However, as I increase in experience, so will my prices. My family has to eat too!

As I was thinking about those that have entered my giveaway that won't win, I started to ponder what I would be willing to accept as payment other than money. Some of these moms sincerely want a doula but feel like they just can't afford it. Maybe some will be willing to barter. Maybe some won't. I have found that people value what they have to work for or pay for (or a combination of both) and doulas are valuable! I am valuable.

If you find that you are in the situation that you really want a doula, and are willing to do what you honestly can do to have one, please do not hesitate to mention bartering. Here is a short list of things I would be willing to take, a wish list of sorts. You can also mention something like, "I have such and such skill that I can offer...." I may or may not be able to take it, but that will spark a conversation on what will work.

  • Do you have a garden? I love fresh produce!
  • Do you have chickens? How about fresh eggs?
  • Do you cook? Our family eats!
  • Do you knit or crochet? I like to include little gifts in a gift bag for mamas after they have their babies. Can you make diaper covers or baby booties? How about baby beanies?
  • We'd really like a toddler sized table and chairs for Lily.
  • Cloth diapers. Do you have any extra unused cloth diapers?
  • Birth supplies such as rebozos, birth balls, massage tools, oils and lotions, essential oils, etc. 
  • Are you an artist? I could use logo design. I also need a new pamphlet designed.
  • Website design.
  • Can you clean? Are you close by? When can you come over? :o)
  • Birth jewelry
  • Do you grow herbs? I'd love herbs for postpartum bath herb kits.

These are just a few ideas that I can think of at the moment. The possibilities are endless! Please do not hesitate to hire a doula just because you feel like you can't afford one. There is always a way to make it work. 

1 comment: