Children: Son, 4 years old & Daughter, 1 year old
1. What were your reasons for hiring a postpartum doula?
Hiring Cassie as my postpartum doula was initiated by a dear friend during my pregnancy with my second child. Honestly, at the time, I don't think this was a something I would have asked for for myself. This dear friend and Cassie setup a postpartum gift registry for me, and asked for the support on my behalf. What would have been preventing me from seeking postpartum doula support was feeling like "I should be able to handle it" on my own...and also a bit of "I don't want my friends and family to judge me for needing this support." Being able to step outside of this now, I can honestly say "No, no one was meant to do it all on their own" and "Assuming is rarely a safe bet, and who cares if they do."
My postpartum experience after my first child included crippling postpartum anxiety and depression. Hiring a postpartum doula the second time around became an essential part of my postpartum care and postpartum anxiety/depression prevention plan. During my pregnancy with my second, each time my mind would go to the 'what if it happens again' place - I could quickly reassure myself that I had support and it would be okay. This time I would have supports set up and checking in on me on a regular basis. If only I had known - and also accepted - how important having these supports was the first time around.
2. What surprised you about bringing home your new baby?
How fearful I was about being alone to care for my two kids! It took me awhile to be ready to be completely on my own for a whole day with both of them. I feel like I was able to be gently eased into it with the help of my support team. My experience (9 months into being a mom of two) has been that one kid was a shock to all the systems, and two is more familiar just busier.
3. What advice or encouragement regarding birth or the postpartum period would you like to offer to women expecting their first babies?
Good, and sound, advice given to me is that previous generations of mothers didn't set us up to easily accept or ask for support as a new (or new again) mother. Instead, we saw our mothers - and mother figures - doing it all and then some on their own. If you were lucky enough to have a different experience, then I hope you've been able to gladly accept support and embrace the notion of needing a village. I've learned the hard way to readily say "yes, please" to an offer of help, to not let sticky floors and a counter full of dishes stop me from having people into my home, and to embrace messy top buns and snot stained shoulders while out in public.