You are pregnant. Congratulations!! Now what? You tell your family, your friends, and you begin googling everything you can about how to have a healthy baby. It is a miracle, and you are wanting the best information, and the best care provider.
Who will be with you when you give birth? Who will help you find your inner compass? Who will help you clarify the overwhelming amount of information you are discovering?
There are birth doulas and there are postpartum doulas. While there is some overlap in training, education, and support, the two kinds of doulas offer assistance at different times during the childbearing year. The birth doula typically meets with a woman and her husband or partner a few times before the birth. She may meet them more often. The birth doula is then with her client during labor and birth, and meets with them again at least one time after the birth.
We used to have the village. It doesn't exist in most places anymore. Families are far apart, or working and unavailable to assist new families.
The postpartum doula is a listening ear, a guiding voice, and an extra pair of hands after the birth. She is there to ease the chaos in an often stressful time, when parents are learning to be parents, and babies are adjusting to life outside the womb. This time is often referred to as the Fourth Trimester.
Here are my top five reasons for you to hire a postpartum doula:
1) You are not supposed to do this alone. Women think they need to be s super hero. Do it all. During the fourth trimester, as you are learning to mother your newborn, and get to know her, you need and deserve support. Ask for it and accept it. A postpartum doula is there for you to remind you to take care of you and to take care of stuff like meals, and errands. It is great if you have a sister or a mother that can come help, yet often times they can't
2) Postpartum doulas know a lot about the fourth trimester. There is a lot going on during this phase of childbirth. Emotional and physical challenges can arise. Sleep deprivation can creep in quickly. It is the job of the postpartum doula to make sure you are focused on your baby, and that you are getting the sleep you need.
She knows what to watch for in terms of emotional adjustment, and the postpartum doula is a great support for breastfeeding.
3) Your partner will benefit. If you have a husband or partner, they will benefit greatly from having a postpartum doula. If they are working, they can be assured that you will be taken care of. It gives them peace of mind. If they are also home when the postpartum doula is working, they can learn as you are learning, and have a knowledgeable guide there to offer suggestions or to answer questions.
4) Your confidence will be boosted. Being a Mom for the first time, especially, can be challenging. If you have been used to working and asking other adults for solutions, and looking things up...well, this won't be happening. You might feel like you don't know what the hell you are doing. This is normal!! The postpartum doula will tell you that you are doing an amazing job, because you are. Just the fact that you gave birth and are now caring for a tiny human is amazing.
With some guidance, and a few tips you will feel less and less like you are winging it and more and more like you know what to do. It takes time, and somebody whispering in your ear about how great you are.
5) Your postpartum doula will listen to your birth story. The reality is that birth can go any which way. Some are powerful, beautiful, and all around energizing experiences. Other births are scary and traumatic, especially those in the hospital setting. With one in three women giving birth by cesarean-section, there is a much longer recovery time. The emotional toll can be devastating for a Mom.
It is important to talk about the experience. Your postpartum doula is trained to listen. Your feelings about your birth experience matter.
Consider hiring a postpartum doula for support after birth. You will be so glad you did!! It makes a great baby shower gift, by the way.
Sharing my knowledge and wisdom about all things birth