So, what is the reasoning behind paying for a doula. Often I hear the comment...."If you can't afford a doula, there are free or volunteer doulas to be had." While that is often true, I am hear to tell you that if you want the best experience, pay for one.
There are times when a close friend may be trained as a doula, and can, because of the closeness, be able to provide the same level of support that a paid doula can. But one of the interesting studies that talk about why you might want a doula, they found that while there was positives from having support from female relatives and friends, a companion that was not related to you had the best results.
Here is a link from DONA on some of the results.... http://www.dona.org/publications/position_paper_birth_table1.php
But why would I say that it is important to pay your doula?
I am a frugal person! You can ask most anyone and I can usually find a way to save some money! I have scrimped and saved money like most people never even think of! But.....I have come to realize that when we pay for something, we appreciate it more. We tend to be more careful in how we might care for a table that we paid $300 for, rather than the table we got for free, even if the table we got for free is worth $300. It is something about the human mind that tends to cause us to believe that if others did not value their service or item for more than that, it is not really worth the cost. I have learned this over the years in doing some volunteer doula work...it is those births that you can work yourself to the utmost, supporting the client in pregnancy, and the last minute, she forgets to call you when she is in labor or when you arrive, you find the family members are resentful of your presence as they were not notified of her desire. We are a culture that values what we pay for! Now, I am not encouraging you to go into debt to hire the most expensive doula you can find! I am encouraging you to think outside the box for paying your doula, but pay your doula!
Here are some alternative ideas to traditional payment: -Bartering- think of anything you could do for your doula. She is giving you a service, so think of a service you could do for her. Some ideas may be cleaning, handcrafts, haircuts, weeding a flower or vegetable garden or other things along that line.
- Home baked goods or freezer meals- If you are on a very low income, you may have extra food stuff and be able to offer this in exchange.
- A piece of nice furniture or other items
-Labor work- perhaps your partner or if you have older children have skills they would be willing to offer to do work such as painting, yard work etc. Someone suggested recently having a collection at your baby shower for a doula. I was thinking about it and we have often done raffle drawings for a small gift where the entry ticket was the bag of diapers or wipes at a shower. Another idea would be to do a similar raffle drawing with raffle tickets for $2 each for a prize, to help raise money for your doula. In the scheme of things, most of us really would have the money to pay for a doula if we look hard enough. But I have met people whom truly do not have it. I have been one of those people myself. Often though, while you are not really out being able to get a job at the moment, you usually can offer some services, once a month to help pay for your doula!!
Think outside the box and pay for your doula....one way or another! She is worth it....and you will be grateful for the extra care.
So, what is the #1 reason I would want to pay for a doula than for taking the cheapest and free doula? I truly believe you will both get better care and have a better experience. The doula will feel like you appreciate her service and will be on her top game. You will value what you paid for and be more on top of actually using the services you paid for!