* Note: I’m not immune to the fact that for most, affording my services is a total privilege. I also understand that not everyone has that privilege. So, I do all that I can to support birth workers (especially POC birth workers) who service those groups through monetary donations, referrals, etc.
I’ve had a few people tell me recently that they can’t afford my services. And I totally get it. Doulas are expensive! But nearly every client I support tells me before, during, and after the birth of their child that they’d pay my fee and then some if they had to.
I’m not going to pretend that finding the money to hire a good doula is easy. It’s not. And I often put myself in prospective clients’ shoes when they admit that they’re having a hard time justifying the cost.
But the good news is, you don’t have to front all that money at once to pay for my (and I’m sure other doulas’) fee. Here are some helpful tips to make sure you can hire a doula to stack all the odds in your favor for a positive birth experience.
1. Ask your family and friends to help
Babylist is an awesome registry that allows you to include all of your mommahood must haves, but it also allows your loved ones to contribute to things like a doula, childbirth education classes, mealtrains, prenatal yoga classes, and more.
2. Use your FSA/HSA
Lots of moms I work with end up using their health savings accounts that they get through their employer. I offer Square as a way for payment, which can easily process HSA/FSA credit cards. Most good doulas will do this as well.
3. Ask for a payment plan
I always tell prospective clients that I offer payment plans. I get that my full fee is a lot to pay up front. But I’m more than happy to work out a monthly rate that works for them and their families. As long as all fees are taken care of by 36 weeks (because babies come when they want to and no one wants to deal with paying the remaining balance while in the throes of postpartum), I’m happy to work out a payment plan that fits each families’ individual needs.
4. Pay up front, and then get reimbursed by your insurance later
Just like my FSA/HSA families, I have lots of families that pay my fee up front and then submit an itemized receipt that I provide them to their insurance for reimbursement. I always mention this during my consults with prospective clients, however I encourage all families to triple check that it’s an option with their insurance before moving forward.
Being a doula is one of the best jobs in the world. But it’s a job, and a career for most. So charging a fee that is both reflective of experience while also sustainable to the cost of living (especially in the Bay Area!) is the only way us doulas can continue doing what we love.
Hopefully these tips will make it a bit easier to afford having such an important support person by your side as you welcome your baby earthside.