What Do Postpartum Doulas Do, Anyway?

Are you wondering about whether to hire a postpartum doula for yourself or a loved one? If you are like many capable, thrifty folks you may be looking for ways to save money and thus, reasons that you DON’T need to hire a postpartum doula.  

Before having a kid my reasons were plainly: 
~ I am a very capable person.
~ I have a partner and other family and friends who will support me. 
~ I want to save money for necessities.
~ Many people do this without any support at all. Surely, I can too.

Well…what I discovered after I could look back on my postpartum, was that I was very anxious about doing things right and I also needed to know that I could do it all alone cause what if for some reason I someday HAD to.  (Eesh, nothing like sleep deprivation, pregnancy hormones and generations of cultural training about my “independence” and worthiness to shove my perspective out of wack….but that’s another blog!)

When I had the chance to look back on that time I clearly wished I had asked for the support and had the tools to be more present. I sensed that I could have sat back and let go a lot more often had a peer come into my space and brought along some extra reassurance, information, and perspective.

When a family member gave advice or assistance I often felt beholden, critical or dismissive.  On my best days it just felt hard to ask a loved one for support or I was overly concerned about how they were doing or feeling.  I needed someone I could trust but whose well-being I wasn’t tempted to take responsibilty for.

Postpartum doulas step into our homes in a unique role.  Without judgement or preference we can comfort the new babe, play with an older sibling, sweep the kitchen, prepare a stock of ready bottles, wash pump parts, cook a nourishing meal, bring the chest- feeding person water or an extra pillow, and/or normalize the rollercoaster of emotions experienced by the birthing person or their partner.  We really are ready just to fill in the spaces that help ease the bumps that can cause a new family to feel really rattled in this vulnerable time.

After I had come through the postpartum period I knew I hadn’t in fact saved any money by skipping a postpartum doula. I had dearly paid with my mental health, my confidence and my connection with my son and also my partner.  When a new parent can ask for and receive the support they need, several vital things happen. They learn that they are in fact capable – capable of connecting with resources around and within themselves. They learn that they are worthy of asking for support. And that they are in fact deeply connected to the world outside of their new baby cocoon. This! This information is not just a gift to the new parent(s) but a vital piece of growing healthy children, families, and communities!

Published by Family Tree Doula, LLC

We are a postpartum doula service in Western North Carolina. Come check us out for evidence-based, non-judgemental around-the-clock support with ALL the things after new baby arrives!

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