In a nut shell, postpartum doulas support families who have recently welcomed a new baby into their home. But let's crack that shell and peel back the layers a bit.
Postpartum care is multifaceted, families are dynamically unique, right down to the type of support that is needed day to day.
On the surface we provide practical help, laundry, dishes, meal prep and other light household duties. We play with siblings, walk the dog, ensure you are well nourished and comfortable. I always do my best to make sure there is an opportunity for a shower/bath and some horizontal resting time, (whether you sleep or not, it will go a long way for recharging your batteries).
"What is your top priority today?"
As soon as I'm through the door and I've washed my hands, one of the first things I want to know after I've checked in emotionally is "What is your top priority today?" This may be having some nutrient rich muffins baked, tackling Mount Laundry, or having a tea in the bath undisturbed. All of these things are important and valid. The good news is, most days we do get it all done! The great thing about having a postpartum doula is knowing that you have an extra set of hands to lighten the load.
Postpartum Doulas hold space while you grow your new normal.
The other side to postpartum care goes beyond the check lists and exquisitely cute folded newborn onesies. This is where the emotional tending and holding space fits in. There isn't a "to-do" list to cross off for being truly heard and seen, a box to check for when someone sits across from you and looks you in the eye and bears witness to the break down of your previous identity and the beauty in seeing how your new self begins to shuffle into place. Postpartum is messy, it's vulnerable and it can take so many attempts to find what works for you and your baby. And guess what? A postpartum doula is a loving, knowledgable presence who helps you fumble, to listen while you work things out, with no pressure for perfection or expectation that this will happen the first dozen times. We get it. When I am with a new family they will undoubtedly ask "how do I..." or "will my baby...". And the sheer joy in this comes with a slight shrug of my shoulders and a serene smile on my face as I say "let's find out together". I am invested in the well being and success of your new family. When you finally nail that woven wrap carry, or when there's tears of exhaustion from both you and your baby, I'm here for you.
When I am in the presence of newborn I am always aware of how time seems to shift. Newborns are not in our clock-focused reality. My intention as a postpartum doula is to slow things down to their speed. There is no urgency. Things take time and while I love cuddling babies, I love even more to gently sway and hum as I sweep the other room while your body matches the breath and heart beat of your baby in your arms.
Muskoka based doula and Mother of 3 boys. Here you can catch some of my wandering thoughts and knack for busting myths about birth, postpartum and raising environmentally conscious kids.