What is a Postpartum Doula?
Postpartum doulas are knowledgeable professionals who assist families during the critical period immediately after the birth of their baby. They “mother the mother” and offer physical, emotional and informational support to the family as well as practical help with baby and around the house. The doula’s training and expertise in mother and baby care enables her to assist with postpartum comfort measures, breastfeeding support, non-judgmental guidance in infant care techniques, information on normal postpartum recovery, and family emotional support through this major transition.
Why hire a Postpartum Doula?
As I researched the care mothers receive after their babies are born in other cultures, as well as the rates of maternal mental health disorders in the United States, one thing became strikingly clear: women in the United States are not well cared for during the postpartum season. Many birth professionals consider the postpartum season lasting through the entire first year.
Culturally, here in the West, new mothers are missing out on entire way of being cared for during their 4th trimester. The fourth trimester begins the moment your baby is born and lasts until she is three months old. The initial days and weeks are so critical as mom is learning how to intimately care for the well-being of another soul. While doing that, she is still healing from the labor and delivery, experiencing major hormonal shifts as her body acclimates from pregnancy to nursing a babe, is experiencing sleep deprivation, and learning how to communicate with her partner on a whole new level. All of that put together is a full-time job and can leave moms (and partners) on-edge and emotionally and physically depleted. On top of all of those very real and exhausting factors, are the families' basic needs to shower, eat, and rest. Depending on the knowledge of the postpartum doula, she may guide families to nutritious and healing meals for mom that can be enjoyed by the entire family.
In The First Forty Days, Heng Ou describes the immediate first forty days in this way: "In other times, and in other places around the world, a postpartum period of healing and adjustment was expected and allowed. After the rigorous and demanding act of birth, it was considered critically necessary for the whole family---and society at large---that a woman be given the first forty days to heal and rest. Other people in her community would feed her, nurture her, and take all responsibilities healthily and happily from expectant woman to mother."
Present Doula serves to see families thrive! There are numerous adjustments that take place in those first few weeks as every family finds their unique groove to parenthood. Please consider investing in this service and allowing mom to receive help during those first few weeks! Give the new mom the freedom to rest, recover, and be cared for! Hiring a postpartum doula contributes to the mother's emotional well-being and recovery as a whole. This in turn, effects the baby's growth and development, and the mother's relationship with her partner. It's a win-win. As the saying goes, "Doulas benefit everyone!"