5 Reasons to get a Virtual Doula
What is a Virtual Doula?
Ok, so you have a pretty good idea what a doula is and does, but the idea of a Virtual Doula might be totally new. If a doula is supposed to provide continuous, practical, hands-on support, either through childbirth, the newborn and postpartum period, or through some other major life event, the term Virtual Doula might seem contradictory.
And yet! Virtual services can offer a level of convenience, comfort, and accessibility you might not have considered! Our family often starts problem-solving medical issues, for example, by calling our tele-health phone-in nurse hotline, and the sleep consultant we hired several years ago, while we lived in Japan, was based in Curacao!
Virtual Doula services follow along the same lines. You connect with a doula you love through the Internet. You meet regularly for face-to-face video chats or phone calls, exchange instant messages and emails, and receive all your documentation, resources, and paperwork online. She might not be able to come by to hold your baby while you shower and nap, or clean your kitchen and help you catch up on laundry, but then, maybe that’s not really what you want or even need.
So how can a Virtual Doula help you through the early postpartum period? Let me count the ways…
A Listening Ear
The most important way a Virtual Doula can help you is not, in fact, by giving you tips, tricks, and information - though those will be useful at the right times. Instead, the most valuable thing a Virtual Doula does for you as a new mom is to listen!
Sometimes you might really need to talk, a lot! Or maybe you don’t know how to talk about what’s going on, or you might not want to talk at all. A really great doula will be paying attention and meet you inside whichever kind of mood you might be. If it’s a quiet, tired kind of mood, she’ll cover the essentials for the day and leave space for you and your needs.
And if you do want to talk, she’ll be ready to listen. She might ask you what’s going on with your baby today? How are you healing? How are you feeling? Who’s been by to see you and help out? Did they actually help? Did they offer advice you’re not sure what to do with? How was your last appointment? When is your next appointment? What made you feel awesome this week? All in an effort to make sure you are supported in whatever is going on for you that week, all without the judgment, without the mom-guilt, and without a barrage of unhelpful advice.
An Experienced Guide
As a new mom, you have years of unfamiliar territory to navigate, and often, that will feel like an exciting and enjoyable adventure, but when you’re just starting out with a newborn at home, a supportive Virtual Doula is an invaluable guide in your journey! She’s gone this way before, understands which shortcuts can help and which ones are not worth it, and she has helped other new mothers get the most out of this same experience!
A Virtual Doula can provide a great deal of reassurance and comfort during a time when you are likely feeling uncertain, overwhelmed, and exhausted. And all without burdening you with the added pressure of playing hostess, making polite conversation, or managing what can be challenging interpersonal issues, like when family or friends visit. You don’t have to impress your doula or say “yes” when you’re thinking “no way!” She’s spending time with you for your sake, to serve and help you, in whatever way is most meaningful to you! When you’re not sure which way to turn, she’ll help you find your way.
No time wasted on crowd-sourcing or scrolling for answers!
It is way too easy to lose an hour polling your friends and family on Facebook or scrolling through mom-blogs and online forums for help with your baby. You’re just looking for a quick confirmation, a sense of connection, or some commiseration - I know it! I’ve been there! Someone out there must have a useful suggestion or another opinion; something you can use, right? The trouble is, nearly everyone on the Internet has an opinion, but no one really knows you and your baby and all the things you’ve already tried, and often, that can leave you feeling more isolated and misunderstood than before you reached out.
A more helpful and empathetic person to talk to is your doula! She’ll already know a fair bit about you and your family, your goals, hopes, and preferences, and she won’t waste your time recommending the number one way she got her baby napping when you’ve already tried it with your baby and it hasn’t worked! With your doula, you can get some straightforward help, a quick boost of encouragement, and have plenty of time left over for your own nap, or a proper meal, or the longest shower you’ve had since the baby arrived - you choose!
Come as you are!
One of the hardest things you’ll do as a new mom is to get yourself and your baby ready and out of the house for a check-up. Getting dressed and presentable, gathering the baby’s diapering, feeding, and soothing supplies for an hour or more away from home, and coordinating the last possible nap, feeding, and bum-check within the brief window of time you need to get out of the door and still make it on time is so, so difficult. Unless you’re living someplace where midwives and pediatricians make house-calls, getting out of the house can be a stressful and necessary chore that can use up all your energy for the day.
But not with a Virtual Doula! One of the best things about getting online support is that you and your doula can meet without any consideration for the social norms about what you’re wearing, whether you’ve showered or brushed your hair, or any need at all to apologize for the state of your house! You don’t have to pack a diaper bag, bundle up and strap your baby into the car seat, find your way through traffic in a state of exhaustion, or apologize for being late! Meeting with your Virtual Doula is way less stressful than that! In fact, it’s downright easy! Just find your comfy spot at home with your baby and your phone, and you’re all set.
My FREE gift to you!
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5. Find and hold on to your center
Some women come into motherhood with a fairly strong sense of what they are doing and what kind of mother they want to be. Baby arrives, and through the challenges and wonder of their early parenting experience, this central core holds steady. Others similarly start their motherhood journey feeling surefooted and supported but their early mothering experience is disorienting, bewildering, and much more draining than they ever expected.
Still others enter motherhood feeling uncertain or anxious but optimistic. For other women still, their pregnancy and childbirth experience is easily the most difficult, emotional, and sometimes traumatizing experience in their lives so far, and they begin their life with a newborn already feeling physically and emotionally depleted, and entirely unprepared for the months ahead.
The helpful support of a Virtual Doula can make a huge positive difference in each of these mother’s lives! If you see yourself as a mom-to-be who feels pretty confident and you have no reason to expect that the newborn stage will contain any more than the usual challenges, easy access to your doula and regular check-ins with her can help you stay on top of all the changes and stay ahead of common difficulties. In essence, your doula can make a pretty good experience even better!
And if you’re starting to feel kind of uncertain and overwhelmed, or even if you’re already quite nervous and worn out, a Virtual Doula can help you find your center again, keep you focused on what really matters to you, and give you the support you need to get through the rough times. There’s no need to wing it, hope for the best, and struggle through on your own. Your experience, and your perception of your early mothering experience totally matter too! And your Virtual Doula won’t let you forget it.
Get the support that will make the difference!
If you’re thinking this kind of Virtual Doula support might be a huge help to you in the early weeks and months after you have a baby, let’s talk! Leave me a comment below or jump over to my Contact page and send me a note! I’d love to hear your story, answer your questions, and help make your fourth trimester a time you can look back on with fondness!