Even more about doulas and our love for new moms!
Wait, a postpartum doula? Is that a thing?
That's just what I said! After my son was born, I attended a Birth Doula Info Session to see what it would take to get qualified to support women in their birth experiences. At the session, I learned there are many different kinds of doulas (helpers for women their birthing year), including doulas who help women in their homes in the immediate postpartum period.
What does a postpartum doula do?
A postpartum doula typically mothers the new mother. Generally, she strives to listen, help, support, and teach a new mother. Specifically, she'll come to you once you are settled in at home with your newborn.
Families sometimes come home from the hospital feeling as if they aren't ready to be left alone and in charge of a newborn, and while parents tend to laugh these early fears off afterward, postpartum doulas feel strongly that there is a better way!
A postpartum doula will visit you at home several times a week for several weeks or months after you bring your baby home. She will stay for 3 or 4 hours, catching up with you, checking up on the baby, helping you with all the baby things, letting you get some more sleep or an extra-long shower, get a load of laundry or dishes done, and even prepare some food for you and your family - whatever it takes to help you rest and recover and keep your household going.
Along with In-Home care, I am also happy to meet and talk about your prenatal needs, and offer hourly help with things like babysitting, running errands, or shopping once you've had a baby.
** In-home care is not available while I raise my own newborn through 2019 **
Coming soon: So then, what is a Virtual Doula?
Short answer: 100% online doula support - no judgment, come as you are!
That sounds amazing! Is there anything you won't do?
Disclaimer time: I am not a doctor and I do not have medical training. So, I cannot diagnose medical conditions and do not offer treatment plans for postpartum medical conditions for you or your newborn.
Additionally, I do not know what is best for your family, but you do! Although becoming a mother may leave you feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, and uncertain, you know your family best, and a postpartum doula can offer all the support and information you need to make the big and little decisions that come with motherhood.
I have done and continue to do a lot of reading about new mothers and newborn babies, even as I continue to support new families in their homes. So while there are questions I might not be able to answer, we can certainly discuss the information available, and whenever you'd like, I'll point you to a professional who can help you out. My mission is to help you feel emotionally supported, well-rested, and informed so that you can be the mother you want to be.
Do you attend births as a birth doula?
Birth doula care is not on my services menu at this time, but if you're looking for a birth doula, I am happy to help you find one. I agree that the support of a skilled and compassionate birth doula can be a hugely positive force before, during, and after your birth experience!
However, if you want some help preparing for childbirth with or without your partner, we can meet to talk about what to expect once the big day arrives. Additionally, if you're already booked for In-Home Care afterward, we could add time to your package so that it includes my attendance at the birth as a kind of labor companion or support person. Please don't feel like you have to get through childbirth on your own if you really want a little extra support. Let's talk about it and get you what you need!
Why did you become a Postpartum Doula?
The standard of care after a straightforward hospital birth in the United States is discharge after 48 hours, a few appointments with a pediatrician for baby in the first two weeks, and a check-up with the OB or midwife for new moms at 2 weeks or 6 weeks postpartum. Medically, this is usually a satisfactory amount of care, but practically speaking, I found I needed a lot more support, and that was despite being lucky enough to have family staying with me for the entire first 6 weeks after my son was born!
I didn't really need a doctor (how many times could I call my doctor anyway?!), but who could tell me if I was doing this right or if this new thing was normal? Who would make sure I wasn't forgetting something? Who would come over and listen to me re-live my birth story one more time, to hear me out as I sobbed through my feelings of inadequacy and bewilderment, and to share in my wonder and amazement at this new person I made with my own body? Which of my friends could I call to help me out with the laundry and dishes and not feel guilty about it afterward? It was a lot to work through!
I became a postpartum doula because I know I am not the only new mom who feels this way and this happens to be the spot where my great passion meets a great need in my community.
How did you become a Postpartum Doula?
Doulas are certified through professional organizations which strive to maintain high standards of excellence and training for their members who serve in local communities. There are several local, national, and international organizations to train with but since I became a mother and a doula while living in Japan, I chose to train with Childbirth International (CBI).
One practical reason is because they provide all their training material online so that I can read, research, and submit my work wherever I live and at my own pace - sometimes in a blaze of academic passion, and sometimes at the speed of my toddler walking home from the park (two steps forward, one step back). Another really important reason I chose to be certified with CBI is because each doula is assigned a trainer - a mentor who evaluates my coursework, answers my questions, and guides my continuing study. She has walked the whole road with me and cheered me on through struggles and triumphs - just like a great postpartum doula!
Finally, CBI focuses on the importance of helping new mothers in every kind of family find their voice. The curriculum emphasizes empowerment and support of mothers so that a new mother has the skills, information, and confidence to care for and raise her child the way she wants to. Additionally, trainers and students live all over the world, and sharing our experiences and cultural contexts helps us to be more sensitive to the varieties of experiences and expectations new mothers have in our own communities.
Do you have any baby gear I can try out?
I do have a small Lending Library of cloth diapers, baby carriers, and other baby gear available for families who hire me for In-Home care. If you are not looking for In-Home care at this point but do want to learn more about these items, Contact Me and let's set up a coffee date so you check these items out in person.