One of the common reasons I hear for not hiring a doula is “we can’t afford it”. This is actually rarely the big problem people assume it is. As well as the possibilities of hiring a (far less expensive) mentored doula (like me!), negotiating a payment plan, asking for vouchers from family and friends in place of yet another teddy bear or cute outfit or even hiring a doula under the Doula UK Access Fund, one option people rarely think of is an exchange of services.
We live in such a money-centric society that we rarely think about bartering, but many doulas are more than happy to do an exchange of services in lieu of cash payment. And many couples have services to offer.
For me, right now I’m in need of a plumber…and a carpenter, electrician, plasterer, decorator, architect, builder… Can you tell we’ve bought a do-upper house? And it’s got a big garden and I have 2 young kids and a husband who works long hours, so let’s add a gardener/landscaper to the list. And then I’m always in need of a massage, could do with working on my core strength, and love to get pampered, so let’s add a massage therapist, physiotherapist and beautician to the list. On the business side, I wouldn’t say no to upgrading my website and should probably be more organised with accounts, so let’s add a website designer and book-keeper/accountant. And I love getting family photos done, so add a photographer. Oh and we have loads of birthdays coming up, so if your business is making cakes…
I might be getting a bit carried away here, but you get the picture. Doulas – like most people – have lots of services they need or want to pay out for. If a client pays me in cash, I then have cash to pay for other services. But if a client could provide a service I might otherwise be paying out for, I’d be happy to work out an arrangement (and if you’re a plumber/architect/builder, that might actually involve me paying YOU more money than I charge as a doula!).
So if you’re expecting and think you can’t find the cash to pay a doula, think instead about what else you have to offer. The first doula you contact might not be in need of that service, but the next one may be (I don’t need a teacher but I know a doula that would love some private tutoring for her kids!). Plus doulas are usually part of an extended local network, so we can put it “out there” that you’re looking and have a service to offer in lieu of cash.
So… Wanted: Plumber with Pregnant Partner, in search of a doula 🙂