Why Hiring a Doula Leads to Better Birth Outcomes (And How You Can Afford One)

This week, Maggie talks to doula and founder of Rainbow Doula, Kelsey Carroll, about why hiring a doula leads to better birth outcomes for both infants and birthing people, and ways you can afford to hire one.

If you are pregnant or you think you will be pregnant someday, this episode breaks down what a doula is, what a doula does, and ways that you can afford to hire one.

Related Links:

Doula stats:

  • Up to 50% more likely to have a vaginal birth and up to 25% shorter labor (source)

  • Higher Apgar score and more likely to rate the birth experience positively (source)

  • Up to 60% less likely to use an epidural (source)

Kelsey is a birth, postpartum, and postoperative doula, and the Founder of Rainbow Doula DC, a queer-focused doula collective in the DC area. She focuses on a culture of respect for all birthing people, and is hoping to shift the culture around birth to be more inclusive of non-binary and trans folx. She is passionate about an approach that is trauma-informed and rooted in consent-based care. Before coming to doula work, Kelsey worked in international relations and reproductive health advocacy. Find out more about queer-inclusive birth work at www.RainbowDoulaDC.com.

To learn more about Maggie and her coaching and speaking services, visit www.maggiegermano.com.

The theme music is called Escaping Light by Aaron Sprinkle. The podcast artwork design is by Maggie’s dear husband, Dan Rader.


TRANSCRIPTION

Maggie Germano 0:07
Thanks for listening to the money circle Podcast. I am your host, Maggie Germano and I’m a financial coach for women. I’m passionate about helping women improve their relationship with money so that they can take better control of their futures. Part of that journey is making personal finance education more accessible and less judgmental, which is why this podcast exists. Each week we’ll discuss a new financial topic to help you explore how you can make a difference in your own financial life or in society as a whole. If you’re interested in diving deeper into issues like income inequality, debt or money, shame, check out my new money circle community. In the safe feminist space women gathered to talk about money without fear of being judged or shamed. We will break down shame and build community and safety for everyone so that you can find the support you need to gain control over your finances. Visit Maggiegermano.com/moneycircle to learn more and to join the community today. I can’t wait to see you there.

Hey there and thanks for listening. I’m your host Maggie Germano. And before I launch into this week’s episode, I wanted to talk about some changes that are coming up in my business. As you may know, I’m currently expecting my first child who is due in early January 2021. In preparation for that, it’s important to me to be ready to go on maternity leave in December so that I don’t have to abandon my clients if I go into labor early. That means that I’m taking on new ongoing coaching clients through August but I won’t be able to sign any more new four month coaching clients after August ends. setting this deadline means I can focus purely on my clients for the entirety of our time together without worrying about the baby coming early and disrupting our work. I will still be taking on deep dive clients after August but if you’re ready to go all in and streamline your finances from top to bottom so that you can stop talking about getting your money right and start making real changes. Let’s talk. Whether you’re dealing with credit card debt or learning how to budget for good or saving up for those big life goals you have kind of on the horizon. I’m here to help you. You can visit MaggieGermano.com/coaching to schedule a free discovery call with me and see if we’re a good fit so that we can get started right away. And now onto our regularly scheduled content. This week, I’m talking to doula and founder of rainbow doula Kelsey Carroll, about how hiring a doula improves birth outcomes for both babies and birthing people. Plus, we get into the different ways you can budget for and afford to hire a doula yourself. I do want to point out that we recorded this episode back in February so before the covid 19 pandemic hit the us so we don’t touch on any of those current issues that are affecting pregnant people and others. throughout the world, however, if you are currently pregnant or you think you will be someday, this episode is still very helpful and very useful. So take a listen and enjoy.

Okay, welcome, Kelsey, thanks so much for being here today. Thanks. I’m very excited to be here. Great. So why don’t you tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do?

Kelsey Carroll 3:32
Sure. So my name is Kelsey, as you mentioned, I am a doula. And we can definitely launch more into what that means exactly later. But basically, I provide birth postpartum and post operative support for folks who have received gender affirming surgery. And this past year I started rainbow doula DC which is a queer affirming doula collective in the DC area.

Maggie Germano 3:55
That’s wonderful. And, and I just thought that was so great the way that you folks on different stages of life in that business, and how did you get into this line of work?

Kelsey Carroll 4:08
So I had kind of a wonky way of getting into this. I used to work in communications, and I worked pretty closely with the reproductive health community generally, I did a lot of interviewing of midwives and birth care providers around the globe. And as I was doing that work, I just sort of found myself asking questions like, are you fulfilled as a person? Are you happy doing this work? And I just felt this really strong connection to the actual birth work side of things. And I had to sit down and have a conversation with myself where I said it, what is it that I actually want to do? And the answer was on the on the care providing side of things.

Maggie Germano 4:49
That’s great. And it’s great that you allowed yourself to ask yourself those questions and make a change and do what you needed to do to feel like you were having an impact on the things that you cared about, even if it was in a little bit of a different realm?

Kelsey Carroll 5:05
Yeah, definitely. It was scary. But absolutely worth it.

Maggie Germano 5:10
Good. I’m glad to hear that. And so why do you? Why is this work so important to you? Whether that’s the repro realm in general, or, you know, the expansion into the doula side, like, just tell me a little bit more about why this resonates so much with you.

Kelsey Carroll 5:27
I think there’s something really powerful about birth generally, I think there’s a lot of kind of misconception and fear clouded around birth for some folks, for other folks. It’s such a source of empowerment. There’s really such a variety of experience and from the research that I’ve done, the people that I’ve talked to, and the trainings that received the one key part that really can make a big difference in your birth plan is having a person start to finish Who’s your advocate with you the whole time. And that’s a huge piece of what doulas do They’re really just the person in your corner, making sure that the birthing person has everything that they need to feel the most comfortable with their birth experience. So I think it’s just it’s it touches on a lot of parts that are already my passion, which are, you know, a rights based approach to this work. But then also having sort of choice and advocacy over the body, and then ties in my love of the queer community of which I’m a loud and proud part. And sort of pulling in that specific community. That’s really important to me.

Maggie Germano 6:30
Yeah, so building off of that, tell me a little bit more about why you decided to have your business focus on the queer community in particular and why you think that’s so important.

Kelsey Carroll 6:42
So when I was becoming trained to be a doula, I was actually shocked by how exclusionary and kind of conservative the standard birth world sometimes can be. And as a member of the queer community, I there were a lot of the birth materials that I was learning in class that you know how language that just wouldn’t pertain to me. And I started asking a lot of questions about well, it actually won’t pertain to a lot of people that I know. And a big part of the birth community were was being excluded just by some of the languages and practices that were included. So I started asking a lot of questions. And it turns out that that kind of is the experience for a lot of queer folks who are birthing. There are a lot of workbooks that are designed for queer folks. A lot of the intake forms on hospital procedures, exclude group partnership, or, you know, different family models. And so I really wanted to focus specifically in this community and know that any birthing person who comes to me at the bare minimum their pronouns are going to be respected. But then beyond that, their experiences not only going to be included, but affirmed. So go one step further than being queer, inclusive, and actually being queer firming.

Maggie Germano 7:56
Yeah, so tell me a little bit more about that. What do you mean by And how does it show up in the business and how you interact with your clients?

Kelsey Carroll 8:06
Yeah, that’s a great question. I think that lots of folks are lots of other companies are getting on board with being at bare minimum queer, inclusive. And so they’ll usually have, you know, a pride flag in the UK on their website somewhere or a sentence that says we accept all families of all different types. But then we’ll still continue to use intake forms that say, Mom and Dad, or we’ll still continue to say, use women as a category for all birthing folks, when we know that not everyone who births is a woman. So kind of it’s still asking the birthing person to do the emotional labor of flipping language in their head, and also do the emotional labor of outing themselves every step of the way. So it’s sort of still asking someone to carve out their own experience, instead of creating a neutral experience that is suitable for You know, any birthing person. So that’s sort of what I mean about the queer affirmed is that with rainbow doula, we use gender neutral language on all of our forms. We never assume anyone’s marital status or partnership. And so on and so forth.

Maggie Germano 9:14
I love that because like you were saying, I’m sure that you know, when someone is going through this process and they don’t identify as sis or hetero or whatever it might be, or maybe they don’t have a traditional partnership in the way that a lot of these forms might, you know, lay it out. It can I would assume it could be really disheartening and frustrating for them through this already possibly scary nerve racking process where then you have to like, continue to you know, correct somebody or like you said out themselves every step of the way when it would be nice if they could just be Like you said, affirm to throughout the process and not have to think about that too much.

Kelsey Carroll 10:04
Yeah, exactly. It’s really it’s great from, you know, a human dignity piece. But then on top of it, it also improves birth outcomes because we know that folks are best able to give birth and have the happiest healthiest births, when they feel most comfortable in their environments. So if they’re being told in subtle ways along the birth process, that they are unwelcome, then that is going to be absorbed into the body and hold stress in such a way that kind of sometimes prevents labor or sometimes causes difficulties with labor. So it really is about there’s the human dignity piece, of course, but there are real medical effects to it too.

Maggie Germano 10:42
That’s a really good point and not necessarily something I would have thought about. But as you say it it makes a lot of sense. Not only physically in like you said, and you know, delaying labor and that sort of thing, but also, I feel like the matter of trust you have in the person you’re hiring to take this journey with you. It’s really important. And if you feel like you have to reaffirm yourself the whole way, I feel like that could probably take away from some of that trust that is really necessary. Yeah, absolutely. So, we’ve talked about, you know, what you do, why you do it, and who you’re focusing on who you’re really trying to affirm. But can you talk about what a doula actually is and what they actually do?

Kelsey Carroll 11:29
Sure. So I like to think of doulas as birth coaches. So doulas are people who are hired to assist a person with birthing and we cover these four different areas that I usually bring up when I talk about doulas. The first is educational. So doulas have gone through training. They know a bit about the birth process. Oftentimes, they’ve been doing this for years and years, and are able to in the moment, provide a birthing person with just the quick feedback that they might need to create Any birthing so yes, this is normal. Sometimes if a person hasn’t gone through a childbirth education class, or you know, that’s a lot to absorb over nine months and maybe you don’t have it all friends of mine, a doula can pop in with the informational piece. And then there is also a physical piece. So doulas provide physical support for birthing folks. That usually means some sort of counterpressure comfort measure. There are hip squeezes that I’m a huge fan of, or ways to, you know, lessen pain in different areas of the body during the act of labor. So that’s really important. doulas are also emotional supports. So they that’s a huge piece of doula work is just sort of helping someone emotionally through the long journey of labor. And then the last piece is advocacy. So doulas are really trained to show up at the table without any expectations of their own, and instead learn the goals and hopes of the birthing person and then best be able to help them, you know, achieve those goals. So I always like to think that you know, I’m my clients, little cheerleader, like whatever it is that my client is hoping to get out of their birth. That’s what I’m hoping to get out of their birth.

Maggie Germano 13:14
I love that that’s so important. And I love that it really goes across the board with that educational piece all the way to the advocacy and the physical touch and all those sorts of things. And so you keep talking about how you’re focusing on the person who is giving birth. Talk a little bit about how the WHO THE doula is really responsible for focusing on

Kelsey Carroll 13:40
so I think that if you were to ask different doulas they would give different answers. I’ve heard doulas say that they are in the room for the baby and no one else. My personal philosophy is that I’m there for the birthing person and also their partner, but mostly there for the birthing person. So the ways that doulas can support partners is that labor can be long So, for any person who’s supporting a birthing person, including a partner, there are going to be times where you’re going to need to go use the bathroom. Or if you have an extremely long labor, take a nap, you know, go eat some food, sit down, and you’re not wanting to leave here, your person, your partner who’s going through birth, without another person in the room. So doulas can provide those that support I’ve had a lot of clients be surprised, especially first time birthers by how much time is spent in a labor room alone. There are nurses and doctors and midwives who come in and out and do checks, but there are large chunks of time where it’s just you and whoever you bring on your support team. So it’s important to have someone there who’s just there for the birthing person start to finish.

Maggie Germano 14:45
Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. And, you know, I have not gone through this process myself yet either. And so the idea of being alone for stretches of time, through through what I’ve assumed would be you know, painful and a little scary. And very knew that Yeah, having someone there would be really important to me too.

Kelsey Carroll 15:06
Yeah, absolutely. Especially if you’re new to this environment, if you’re someone who’s hasn’t spent a lot of time in a hospital, just being in those new environments can be really overwhelming. So it’s just good to have someone that you can turn to and say, Is this normal? That’s one of my favorite questions to answer.

Maggie Germano 15:22
Yeah, I feel like that could be really reassuring just to hear someone say yes, this is normal.

Kelsey Carroll 15:27
Yes, happens. Exactly.

Maggie Germano 15:33
So how is a doula different from someone like a midwife?

Kelsey Carroll 15:38
So, midwives have gone through medical school to become a licensed nurse or other medical care provider, depending on which track they followed to specialize in midwifery. And so midwives can work in hospital settings. They can sometimes work in home birth or birth center settings, but a midwife can offer gynecological exams. They can offer birth control counseling, prescription writing, and then they are the person who will be physically catching the baby. Whereas doulas go through training, but they do not go through medical school and any doulas don’t provide medical care that’s outside the scope of practice for doulas. So any hands on the body are going to be through massage or through counterpressure but are not going to be doing providing checks or physically catching the baby.

Maggie Germano 16:32
Okay, yeah, that makes a lot of sense. And so you mentioned that doulas do go through training and you mentioned your own training a little bit. So what kind of training do doulas need to go through?

Kelsey Carroll 16:44
So it depends for birth training. There are a couple of different certification or training routes that you can go through, you have the option to be certified. Not all doulas are certified. And certification is just sort of an added step that if it’s something that you would really love To do then go for it. But not everyone requires certification. So lots of folks go through courses like Dona international or pro doula. Those are some of the more popular ones, but lots of different places offer trainings. It’s usually a long weekend or you know, three or four days in a row, where you are studying talberth processes and a little bit about physiology and the body, learning different positions that the body can be into augment labor, or conversely, positions that the body are in that might slow down labor. You learn lots of things about hospital procedures and what the doulas scope of practice is, how to be a reflexive listener, all of those different types of things, and they’re especially strainings for birth, but then also for postpartum services. And then, on top of that, offer post operative services, which is just a slightly different type of training

Maggie Germano 17:56
that’s really interesting in just the the wide range of the different things that a doula would have to learn and want to understand in order to feel prepared to provide this service. Can you talk a little bit about the kind of the difference between being like a birth doula or a postpartum doula or post operative doula kind of like what not like the training differences but like what you’re actually doing that’s different?

Kelsey Carroll 18:26
Yeah, absolutely. Um, so the birth doula is someone who’s going to be with you starting around your third trimester, who’s going to be offering texts and phone calls support. Usually, it depends on a birth doulas contracts, but usually they become fully on call for the birthing person around 38 weeks, and then are at the birth of the baby. So they will come with you to the whichever center that you’re birthing in, and provide some of those measures that I’ve already you know, talked about with emotional support or physical support throughout labor. And then there’s the world postpartum doula work so some doulas do both some doulas do one or the other. But postpartum care starts anytime after day one, up until I’ve heard of postpartum doulas visiting three years out to help with a toddler. So, it sort of varies, but most often postpartum doulas are making house visits, making sure that the birthing person is recovering, making sure that the newborn is doing well. They often can offer support with feeding or overnights so they can spend the night with you make sure that you’re getting enough sleep. And just making sure that the birthing person is able to do things that make them feel normal, like showering or eating lunch, taking care of themselves that they have the capacity to take care of a newborn.

Maggie Germano 19:47
I love that. And that’s something that I more recently learned about as something that was out there because a friend Rachel who we both know is interested in in that line of work as well and helping with the postpartum side of things. And I think when you and I were speaking, a couple weeks ago, you said something about how the doula is kind of there to provide that village and that community that maybe we’ve kind of moved away from and a lot of people might not have, especially in the DC area. Can you talk a little bit more about that?

Kelsey Carroll 20:24
Yeah, absolutely. That’s also, I think, such an important overlap in the queer community because, as you pointed out with DC, specifically, DC is a very transit city. So a lot of folks are not near parents or grandparents or other extended family members who used to traditionally take on a lot of the role of what a postpartum doula does. And so that’s where postpartum help can can be really, really important. But then beyond that, in the queer community, a lot of folks are disenfranchised from their families, and might not have support of their families and might be kind of doing the whole thing on their own. So That having non judgmental postpartum care for, you know, from someone who is part of the community and is there for you is not going to provide any sort of judgment. It’s just so important.

Maggie Germano 21:14
It sounds so important. And I know just for me in thinking about potentially having a child in DC, where I’m six hours away from my parents, and my sisters and I have friends here, but a lot of people have their own lives and jobs and all of those things. And so the idea of being able to turn to someone else to help provide that support that I will likely need, emotionally, physically, whatever it is, really, it makes me feel a lot better. So I imagine it would help a lot of others too.

Kelsey Carroll 21:46
Yeah. And I think there’s also it’s sometimes it can be hard to ask a family member to do something that you would have a much easier time asking someone you hire. So if family are coming to help, you know there there are different rules. relational dynamics that are at play. And so it’s not always comfortable to say like, could you do that a little laundry for me? I want to take a nap. And that’s where doulas can come in and just sort of whatever it is that needs to take to be taken care of. That’s what we’re there to help.

Maggie Germano 22:14
That’s a really good point too, because yeah, I guess I not everyone in my family, would I feel comfortable being like, Can you just like feed the baby and yeah, get a full night’s sleep? Yeah. So you’ve covered a lot of ways that a doula is really beneficial to someone who’s pregnant or postpartum. Can you talk a little bit about the post operative side? That is a piece of your business as well?

Kelsey Carroll 22:41
Yes, so I’m not positive that a ton of other people are doing this specific work. There are post operative doulas who work in specifically the world of Syrians, so recovering from major surgery through a C section, but when I was starting to work in the queer community, I really wanted to Make sure that I was also expanding services to folks who were going through gender affirming surgeries. Because there are a lot of preparation and things to take into account for the recovery, which is often long. And again, you’re often not connected to your family. in DC in particular, some of the best top surgeons, for example, in the country exist in DC. So folks have to travel to come to these surgeons, and then wouldn’t be clear to hop back on a flight or a train for you know, sometimes up to two weeks. So you’re in a city that you’re not familiar with. You just underwent major surgery, and it can be really helpful to have someone come help take care of basic needs. I think that again, using top surgery as an example, someone who has undergone top surgery often can’t lift their arms above their shoulders for up to six months, which is a long time. So you know, just asking questions in the lead up to the surgery like is your microwave out of reach for you, if you can’t reach above here, are your shower products on your bathtub level instead of your shower level? Are you going to be able to do you have a zip up or a button down or something that you can climb into without pulling over your head? That type of support.

Maggie Germano 24:17
That’s really amazing because I can only imagine how necessary and life changing I guess that support would be in just being able to physically and emotionally recover during a situation like that. So I’m very glad that you’re doing that.

Kelsey Carroll 24:37
Thank you.

Maggie Germano 24:39
And are there any other benefits that you see to hiring a doula for anyone in the different scenarios that we’ve talked about?

Kelsey Carroll 24:48
Yes, absolutely. So with birth doula work in particular, there is a lot of evidence based work or research that shows that there are real reasons to how to do it. Beyond I mean, I think there are amazing emotional reasons to have a doula. But on top of that, if you’re a numbers person, there have been studies that have shown that a person who uses a doula through their birth is more likely to experience a vaginal birth over a Syrian is more likely to experience a shorter labor is more likely to have an infant with a higher Apgar score, and less likely to have an epidural less likely to use medical interventions generally, but then also like forceps or a PC atomies and also reports, lower stress during labor and higher satisfaction with overall birth experience. Those two last pieces I think are really important. I think more and more people are coming forward with you know, some of the trauma that can sometimes happen in birth to a person who feels out of control of their situation or just you know, really stressed really scared and it’s worth noting That it’s it’s can make a really big difference to have someone in the room who is just there focusing on the birthing person’s needs and emotional support.

Maggie Germano 26:11
Yeah, I totally agree. And and I’ll have you send those statistics to me as well. So I can share in the show notes because that is very compelling to me, and I think it will be for others. Do you know if that goes into at all like, why that happens? Because I mean, more likely to have a vaginal birth, having shorter labor, those sorts of things. Do you have any ideas of why that would be?

Kelsey Carroll 26:37
I think there are definitely a couple of different reasons. So there is a term called sphincter law that sort of just refers to when it is that the various changes in our body including our vocal cords, including the pelvis and the custom time totally blanking on the term. the cervix is a type of thing. And so there have been lots of studies that show that if a person is interrupted mid birth, then they can lose dilation. So let’s say that they’re dilating at a pretty steady rate, they’re up in the, you know, five, six range. And there’s a changeover in the room or or there’s something in the room that happens that creates stress, or there’s just a negative energy brought in lots of different things that can then delay dilation or even reverse dilation. So then at that point, you’re prolonging labor in such a way that can sometimes cause stress to the baby. And then once those stress being caused to the baby, all of these things start to roll out. So medical interventions sometimes beget other medical interventions. So once you start rolling with things like an epidural, then oftentimes when a body is you know, adjusting to an epidural that slows down labor, once Labor has become slowed down, the baby becomes stressed once the baby becomes stressed. There are other interventions that are introduced flexitarians like Using a vacuum or forceps or things like that. So it basically just has to do, I think in their studies that support it with the amount of stress that a body is undergoing during labor, which doulas are, you know, are there to mediate and mitigate all of that?

Maggie Germano 28:19
Yeah, no, that makes a lot of sense. And it probably makes a big difference having a third party doula helping kind of, like you said, advocate and intervene in those scenarios when, you know, the birthing person is very focused on giving birth, and their partner is probably very focused on their, their health and the health of their child that’s coming and all those sorts of things. So it’s probably very helpful to have someone who is invested but not as emotionally invested.

Kelsey Carroll 28:50
Exactly.Yeah.

Maggie Germano 28:51
Yeah. So switching gears a little bit. What are the typical prices And pricing structures around hiring a doula because you know, we’ve talked about all the benefits. We’ve talked about all the reasons why you’d want to do it. But I think it’s also important to talk about the affordability. And, you know, the accessibility of that. And so can you talk a little bit about how that’s usually laid out?

Kelsey Carroll 29:17
Yeah, absolutely. So for birth packages, typically, doulas will offer an upfront package that costs anywhere from about 800 to $2,500, depending on the experience level of the doula and also you know, if they’re working for an agency that has a higher overhead, all of those things can factor in. But usually what that means is that you have a set amount of time, like let’s say 12 to 20 hours, that is covered by this package, it often also covers a prenatal visit, sometimes one postpartum visit as well. It includes staying in the hospital for up to two hours after the birth of the baby just to make sure that things are going smoothly. And that’s all covered. Within this birth package, it also covers the on call period, which is really important to remember. I think that especially when thinking about purchasing doula services, you’re also purchasing making sure that that person is on call for you 24 hours a day, you know, sleeping with the phone on, ready to hop in the car for a set period of time leading up to labor. So that’s worth packages for postpartum packages, they typically tend to be hourly, I’ve seen anywhere from 20 to $35 an hour, usually there’s a minimum of hours, so about four hours minimum. And then there’s a set rate for overnights anywhere from I’ve seen 200 to 400 for an overnight and usually it’s an eight hour overnight period. So they can definitely range services absolutely range. I’ve seen people offer sliding scales, other creative ways to pay but it can get pricey.

Maggie Germano 30:52
Which makes sense because it’s obviously a lot of time, a lot of energy, a lot of emotions, so Definitely don’t want to, you know, discount that in any way because I do think that there’s a lot of value there. And of course, doulas should be compensated as well. But what are some ways that people can work with a doula if they maybe can’t afford to pay up front or they are. They have maybe less income and just don’t have that kind of money available?

Kelsey Carroll 31:25
I would say absolutely. Have a conversation with a doula before discounting it. Don’t look at the price tag, get scared away, and then never come back. Most of those want to work with you. So they some doulas offer sliding scales. As I mentioned, some doulas offer payment plans. So you can kind of have an upfront deposit but then also be paying that for a couple of months. But then other creative ways in three states so far, and we’re hoping that more will be passed in the very near future. three states have passed bills allowing doulas to be reimbursed through Medicaid, which is really huge. A great success for allowing low income folks access to birth support. And then some insurance companies. I think folks are often really surprised to learn that your flexible savings account or spending accounts and health savings accounts often cover birth doula services, to give your insurance company a call, but most often they will cover 100% of a doula fee through an HSA or an FSA. Make sure you that you ask your doula for an itemized receipt. And but a lot of the larger doula companies will already offer you a receipt. Just double check. You know, it’s always good to double check. And then I think there are also some other ways to get really creative. So for example, I’ve seen people put it on their baby registry. So as you’re starting to put together your registry, say to your friends and family, here’s something that’s really important to me. It’s going to be a really important piece in my recovery in the experience of me. birthing Instead of giving clothes or baby products, you can gift me labor and postpartum services. A lot of places will offer gift cards for doula and postpartum services. A friend of mine gifted overnight, I think like a couple of nights of overnight postpartum care to their new parent friend. And she said it was the best gift that she got. So it’s worth it. And then on top of that, you can create a GoFundMe and just feel a little bit of explaining, say, this is why this would be such a great gift.

Maggie Germano 33:33
I love that. And I really I love the registry idea as well because I know you know, even with like wedding registries and things like that people are starting to get more creative and move away from the traditional like, buy me sheets and towels and dishes and moving into like, help me buy a home helped me go on my honeymoon, like doing things that really are meaningful to them, and I could totally see how this is such an important piece of that and that your friends and family who maybe don’t want to buy you a bunch of stuff and toys, because maybe they can just give you their kids clothes and things like that, that they would want to help you have that kind of service that you’re really looking for. And not only that, but I feel like talking about it, whether it’s through a registry through a GoFundMe, just talking to friends and family, it’s then spreading the word about what a doula is why that service is so necessary and important, and getting more and more people to think that that’s a normal thing that they need.

Kelsey Carroll 34:35
Right? Yeah, absolutely. And I think that that little bit of educational piece helps so much to when trying to convince someone that this is a really meaningful gifts that you could give I know I’ve heard. You know, aunts and uncles and friends say that they don’t want to give money. It feels impersonal. But I think gifting something like a doula work, especially if you go into explaining what it is that doulas do. You can To explain why it’s actually such a personal and amazing gift. And then beyond that for rainbow doula DC specifically, we just launched at the beginning of the year what we call our community pooled fund. So what that is, is that anytime that we invoice a client for doula services, we offer on their invoice a place for them to add on to their bill, and contribute to this pooled fund. So we use the pooled fund to pull from when working with clients who are low income or, you know, maybe can’t afford doula services, and still make sure that we are paying the doula for the service that’s being provided. But then also make sure that the client can access these services. specifically within the queer community. We know that queer folks face discrimination at the economic level and so sometimes are faced with housing uncertainty or job uncertainty, and having to pay for a doula might be out of reach. So that’s really where the community pooled fund comes in.

Maggie Germano 36:01
I love that. And I love that you’re providing that as an option, especially giving folks that have more resources the opportunity to contribute to for someone else who might not. Do you think you’ll ever make that into a more public fund that other people could contribute to even if they’re not a client of yours?

Kelsey Carroll 36:21
Yes, absolutely. So this is something when I first launched rainbow doula, I had a lot of emails from really excited, really well intentioned allies saying I’m not part of the community I want to help. What can I do and for months, I had to just say that up, I don’t know, share my social media. And that’s about all you can do. So just this week, we launched this mug, it says love is love, and it’s a very cute little design. But 100% of the proceeds of this mug and we’re going to be doing a T shirt and sweatshirt line later. go directly to the community pool to find so this gives an opportunity for folks who maybe aren’t birthing, but a part of the community or folks who aren’t part of the community to contribute to this really important find that allows, you know, access to birth services, and also making sure that doulas are being paid.

Maggie Germano 37:15
I love that I will definitely share that in the show notes as well, because I just have this feeling that there are going to be plenty of people out there who want to contribute who maybe are not current clients or don’t think that they’ll become clients in the future for whatever reason, but they still want to help and, you know, put their give their part to helping other people get this service that they need. So what are some other resources out there where people can learn about how they would benefit from doula services or other birthing resources and things like that that you recommend?

Kelsey Carroll 37:52
I would definitely recommend looking up pro doula. They have a lot of really great information out there about doulas. What I love about the pro doula model is especially for a budding doula or someone who’s hoping to become a doula. They really help you figure out the business side of things, as well as the educational and work side of things, which I think is really important to pair those two things. Since many doulas are sort of solopreneurs like entrepreneurs, it’s important to have that part to be able to know how to how to work your business. And then there are lots of really amazing resources on Instagram, believe it or not, I think there are lots of great accounts that share super accessible, really language friendly resources and trying to think of I’ll send you some of my favorites to be included in the show notes.

Maggie Germano 38:47
Great. Yeah, no, I love that. And I definitely follow a couple on Instagram too. So I’ll be interested to see if those are some of the same of yours. Is there anything else that you want to make sure that lists nurs takeaway from this conversation are that they know about you.

Kelsey Carroll 39:04
Oh, I think that I would definitely encourage them to check out our website. There’s a lot of cool stuff that we’re doing. We’re hoping to start some events in the very near future. We’re having a meet the queer doulas. The very first meet the queer doulas meetup at the end of March. So lots of exciting things coming up. And I would just encourage folks to check us out on Instagram and Facebook @rainbowdoulaDC. And they can email me if they have any specific questions. My email is [email protected]

Maggie Germano 39:34
great, and I will link all of that in the show notes as well. Anything else you want to make sure to promote or that folks know about you?

Kelsey Carroll 39:42
I would just generally say support your local birth worker. It’s really awesome. Great work and I love that there’s such a big I feel like there’s a big national conversation around doulas right now it’s definitely becoming more of the common vernacular. And I love it.

Maggie Germano 39:57
I love it too. And thank you so much for the world. You do and for taking the time to come on the podcast.

Kelsey Carroll 40:04
Thank you, Maggie. It’s been great.

Maggie Germano 40:09
Thank you so much for listening to the money circle podcast this week. If you like the conversations we’re having here and you’d like to go even deeper, join the new money circle community. In this safe intersectional feminist space. We will break down money shame and build community and safety for everyone so that you can find the support you need to gain control over your finances. Visit Maggiegermano.com/moneycircle to learn more and to join. If you’d like to get more connected with me subscribe to my weekly newsletter at MaggieGermano.com/subscribe to learn more about my financial coaching services, my speaking and workshop offerings or just to read my blog, visit Maggie germano.com. You can also follow me on instagram and twitter @MaggieGermano. I look forward to hearing from you. Bye bye