"I Can't Afford A Doula" 5 Tips So You Can!
"Nice to meet you. Do you work?" she says. "Yes, I am a doula," I reply. "What is a doula?" she asks. I then spend the next 10 minutes telling about all the wonderful things a doula does to help families. Her next comment is, "I would love a doula, but I can't afford one." This surprises me. I see many families save up to go on a vacation to Disney or somewhere else. How do they afford it? They make a way to do it from coupons, to saving, to having a payment plan. Why do they do it? Because it is important to them. The statement "I wish I could afford it..." makes me sad and means that a doula is not a high priority to them. I hope 5 tips might help everyone see it differently.
First, there is a doula who fits your budget. Just as you can choose to visit Disney and see all the parks or choose to be budget friendly on your vacation, you can get a doula who fits your income. Nashville has lots of doulas and their fees vary based on their experience. Doula fees range from free to over a $1000. You can even get a free labor doula while in the hospitals. Usually a higher priced doula has more experience and is better skilled to assist you in pregnancy and birth. This is not always true, so make sure you do your own research on your doula.
Second, don't settle on an Ok doula. At Disney there are a variety of parks to match different people. Similarly, not every doula is a match for you. Each doula has a unique personality and skill set. Interview the several doulas until you find one that matches what you are looking for. Don't settle for an "Ok" doula. Don't tell yourself that "maybe she will be better at birth." Search and find the one that speaks to your heart. A great doula will interview with you and help you find another doula if the two of you don't click.
Third, interviewing is free. You get to view all that Disney has to offer before booking your tickets. So, check out your doula before hiring her. Simply pick out a doula and arrange to meet her at a restaurant or park to learn more about her and see if you click. Does she have that "doula magic" you are looking for? There is no fee to meet with her and you can meet with as many as you like. In fact, I encourage you to talk to at least 3 different doulas on the phone or in person. You learn alot about yourself and the doula when you have a few minutes to meet.
Fourth, some insurances do pay for doulas. (I wish someone would pay for me to go to Disney.) Samaritan Ministries and Christian Healthcare Ministries pay for doula care. If you have a public plan like Aetna, Cigna, BC/BS, you can file with your insurance for reimbursement. It might be a little bit of a bother, but the doula can give you the codes to put on the form you get from your insurance to be reimbursed. Another way to pay is with your Health Saving Account. The doula just charges your card for her fee to be deducted out of your HSA. It is very simple and is allowed for you to use your HSA to pay for her fees.
Fifth, doulas do payment plans. Most doulas have you pay a deposit of about $250 to hold your due date and they will then turn away other pregnant moms from hiring them. This deposit is the guarantee that you will get her focus during pregnancy and birth. It is kind of like hiring your own personal Disney tour guide. That sounds sweet! Usually the rest of the fee is paid in full by 36 weeks of pregnancy, but it can be broken up into smaller payments. Talk with your doula and see what your options are. If you hire her at 35 weeks, you have a short time to figure out payments. If you hire her at 4 weeks pregnant, her fees are the same and you have 8 months to make payments. You could pay $100 a month and pay off her fee by the time baby comes. Doesn't that sound cool! Plus, you get to bug her with all your pregnancy and birth questions for many months while you build your relationship and prepare for birth.
I hope these few tips help you to see that you have options if you want to hire a doula and maybe you will consider it for your next birth.