I think you are definitely in the right track - I also give services for free. People are often shocked, people from the industry get mad but I also say often also say if you wish to donate - whatever amount is fine, and when people are very happy with the work they tend to be quite generous.
I do think it is a balance of giving for free to generate trust and knowing your worth. Some jobs are quick and easy money, others are vocational experiences in which monetary compensation isn't the top priority and, as you described, a leash holding you back,
If you are willing, I'd love to look at your experience more closely, and perhaps even help you find a framework in which you can continue your way of working but also making more money for you and your 18 month old.
email@example.com is a direct line to me if you are interested.