It has now been three years since I started this journey of doulahood and something I never expected happened; my very perception of what a postpartum doula does has evolved.
When I began marketing my shiny new business, Over The Moon Doula Services, I talked endlessly about how I could come into my clients homes to help them. I could hold their baby so they could nap, I could wash their dishes or start a load of laundry or even walk their dog. Of course I also mentioned that I could be a source of guidance and education in a variety of areas of infant care and newborn family life but I downplayed those, thinking that families would be more drawn to practical help to get them through each day.
I was wrong. It’s true that I have helped parents with housework, but as I look back and reflect on the time I’ve spent with families, that practical help doesn’t seem to be the reason why they’ve hired me. After all, if help with housework is the only thing you need,why not hire a housekeeper? A postpartum doula brings something more to the table, and it’s that “something” that I’ve downplayed for so long that seems to be the real appeal to clients.
As a postpartum doula I am there to walk with parents on their journey into life with a new baby. Whether it’s their first or their 5th, everybody can benefit from some quality support as they sleepily settle into an unpredictable lifestyle that is living with an newborn.
American parents don’t often receive much professional support after their babies are born. Mothers don’t see their healthcare providers until six weeks after giving birth and while they see baby’s pediatrician more frequently, visits are likely to be quick without much time for discussion. Postpartum doulas are there to fill in the gap of care. I am there to ask the family how everyone is adjusting and I have the time to listen, really listen to the answer. I am able to talk about things that may not be discussed at medical appointments including the emotional adjustment of everyone in the family.
I come into a newborn house with a gentle, guiding presence. I am there to sit beside the mother feeding her infant, the dad drawing baby’s bath for the first time, and the toddler trying to figure out what all this is about. I am a listening ear and I am a voice that says “you’ve got this, you are doing a great job parenting your baby.” When parents are unsure what to do I am able to offer baby care information, tips and tricks while ultimately trusting them to do decide what is best for their families.
Many times my support begins prenatally. I love having this opportunity to help parents prepare for life with an infant, which increases their chances of making a smooth transition into this major life change.
I am not a housekeeper. I am not nanny. I am a doula. When I arrive at your door I bring with me the knowledge that I’ve learned from my doula training, extensive reading, workshops, conferences, focus groups with other doulas, and experience. Still need help with folding baby’s laundry though? No problem, along with my credentials, I’ll be bringing my helping hands.