Having a Doula in this pregnancy has been invaluable. However, despite it being something extra, it has been necessary for me, not a luxury. It’s a service that I am fully away not every woman can afford however I wanted to share with you a few ways in which you can either afford Doula support, or, at least share with you why I think for my pregnancy and my circumstances it has been invaluable and, well, priceless. I hired my Doula when I was around 12 weeks pregnant and for me, the support, encouragement and conversations have really helped me have a lovely, positive pregnancy.
Hiring My Doula Sophie
When I first approached my now Doula I was pretty upfront and honest about my financial circumstances because I didn’t want to waste her time really. She got back to me fairly quickly and suggested we meet for a chat, or an interview, so I could get to know her, see if we clicked and how she could help me in this pregnancy. During the interview we discussed a payment plan which was affordable for me and, because I had booked her quite early in my pregnancy it has made the payments really manageable. Obviously, I won’t be going in to detail on how much I’m paying because it’s a private agreement between us but Sophie was really empathetic and told me that she believes Doula support should be available to as many women that want it and she was willing to work with her clients to make that support as affordable as possible.
Money aside, having Sophie by my side throughout this pregnancy has just been amazing. We have had plenty of phone conversations, texts and emails. Sophie has been supportive, encouraging and really helped me any time I’ve had a bit of a wobble by talking things through with me. She is calm, approachable, friendly and I feel really comfortable around her. We are coming close to my Doula On Call period now as I’m approaching full term which means that we will have more regular contact as I get closer to labour. Sophie, as my doula, has not offered medical advice but has helped me find places I can do my own reading and research. She has helped me to make confident, informed decisions and has been my yes person. Because of this every conversation I have had with my consultant and midwives have been really positive. I honestly believe that because I’ve had another supportive Yes person in my life that I have come across at these appointments as more informed and that in turn has really helped me to plan a birth I am feeling calm and confident about.
The Benefits of Having Doula Support In My Pregnancy
No longer am I focusing on the negative experience I had before but I am really looking forward to my birth. I’m not naive, I have a scar, I know there are risks and I know that the biggest issue for the NHS is my BMI rather than the fact I am attempting a VBAC. I am not expecting it to be painless but I do honestly believe that I will cope so much better throughout labour. I believe that I will be able to make calm, confident decisions because I know more about the risks and benefits of every choice. More than anything I know how labour starts and I know how negative fear is for labour and birth. For that reason I am really confident I will be able to have my home water birth however I also feel that if I need to transfer into hospital, I will still have the VBAC I want. Having a doula has helped me become more confident, more assertive when it comes to my choices and decisions and have a birth plan I’m happy with. I know there is every possibility that things might go differently, and that is completely okay because not only will I have Adam with me, but I will also have a Doula with me that will support my decisions and be my advocate when I might not be able to speak up for myself.
Tips on Affording a Doula on a Low Income
I have had a few women say to me that they wish they could have afforded a Doula so I wanted to share a few tips with how you might be able to come to an agreement that works for you.
- Do your research. Doula’s are self employed, offer different packages at different prices. Look to find ones that are within your budget.
- Book in early. The earlier you book in with a Doula the more options you have for things like a payment plan. Plus you’ll get more support and that can only be a good thing.
- Consider a newly qualified Doula. They will be really enthusiastic and prices will reflect that they are newly trained. In my experience, Doula’s usually seem to be mothers themselves and want to support women more because they passionately believe in positive birth experiences.
- Be honest. If you are on a low income speak to her, she may offer a low income discount and a more affordable payment plan for you.
- Is there anything you can offer in return? A service you provide for an exchange of services? I’ve heard some Doula’s do offer this because, again, they want to help women and they want to make their support affordable. If you can both find a way to make things mutually exclusive don’t be afraid to bring that up when you meet and discuss fees. I have heard independent midwives can also offer this sort of service too, because, they are self employed and because the passion for helping is really high on their list of priorities.
- Be reasonable. As I’ve said Doula’s are self employed and whilst they want to help, they don’t want to feel robbed or cheated. Excitement, love and passion for their job is huge for them but it is also how they earn money.