As I told you before, my love of newborns at such a young age, was really on another level. So when my mom gave birth to my sister when I was six years old, I was convinced that having a new baby in my house to take care of was the best thing that ever happened to me. (We won't talk about how that feeling dramatically changed once this new baby phase was over). But at this point, I loved pretending she was my very own baby while feeding and changing her.
This naturally led to me seeking out babysitting jobs once I was a little older and I cared for a wide range of ages during my teenage years from babies to toddlers and it was during this time that I gained so much valuable knowledge and experience. I didn't realize how valuable this would be later on in my life when I gave birth to my own baby. All of the things I had learned when caring for others babies, I was now putting into practice with my own. Although I had many fears and insecurities as a new young mom, I did have a level of confidence that helped me get through those first few weeks and months.
What I am seeing with new moms and families now is that 99% of them did not have any kind of previous experience with babies. I cannot tell you how many moms tell me that until their baby was born, they had never even held a newborn. I think in this generation of new moms, as they were growing up, instead of babysitting, they concentrated their time into sports, academics, etc. I'm not saying this is bad in any way, we are just living in a different world where there may have been no previous exposure to babies. This has led to so many new moms and dads being overwhelmed with uncertainty in how to tackle basic care while managing the barrage of hormones, the stress of healing from birth and of course exhaustion from lack of sleep.
Enter the Postpartum Doula. This is someone who is hired to help you post birth. If this term is new to you or your're not exactly sure what it means, it's ok. This is a relatively new aspect of doula care that is emerging. While it is still the gold standard to have a mom, grandmother or mother-in-law come and stay with new moms for the first week or so, due to careers, busy life or pandemics that restrict travel, having someone with you once you arrive home may not always be feasible. This is why so many are hiring postpartum doulas. Even if you are one of the fortunate ones to have a family member come stay with you, most have to leave within a week or two. Sometimes that is when families decide they need a postpartum doula. We can be used at any time, for any amount of time, (typically) during the first three months of birth.
My care for my clients looks different for every family and It's rarely the same because each family's needs are not the same. I have met families at their home from the moment they arrived from the hospital to help get them settled. I have shared the bed with mom and baby that first night while taking care of baby and allowing mom to sleep between feeds. I have walked mom and dad through every step of that first bath so that they could feel confident to do the next one on their own. I have been there to troubleshoot every breastfeeding hiccup and guide moms as they desperately try to get that "perfect latch". I have cooked meals, cleaned laundry and washed and sterilized more bottles and breast pump parts than I care to count. I have drawn healing baths and given moms a massage to ease the aches and pains of healing from birth. I have been a pseudo-therapist so that moms could process their traumatic birth or the hormonal feelings and the pressures of this new season. Whatever they needed that day, where they can honestly answer my question that I ask when I arrive, "how can I set you up to succeed as a mom today?"
Caring for families on this intimate level is one of the most rewarding things I do and I have built lifelong relationships with them. I can truly say that this type of care is invaluable and every family that I have worked with has expressed that the investment they made was far more valuable than anything they expected and I do not believe I have left one family, once my time with them is finished, without tears on both our parts. But my goal is always to help them gain the confidence in themselves that they didn't have before, and it is always so amazing to see them months later, succeeding, healed, confident in their skills and loving parenthood.
As for my sister, you will see parts of our story throughout this blog, because she has contributed so much in different ways to my doula journey. She was the annoyance of my life pretty much throughout childhood after that blissful newborn period, but once we grew up and started having babies, that changed and there are some experiences with her that ignited my fire for birth work and I'm forever grateful to her for that.
If you have questions about what I offer as a Postpartum Doula, please click over to the Doula Services page to read more about it or you can always click on the Chat button to ask me about anything you don't see there. Let me help create a schedule for you that fits your needs and budget.