When I tell people I am a Postpartum Doula I usually get one of a few responses. Men usually give me a blank stare and ask me to repeat what I just said. Some people have heard of a doula but don’t really know what that means, so they assume I am a midwife and delivery babies. Others hear the word “postpartum” and think I only help women dealing with postpartum depression.
I do not deliver babies. And I work with any family whether they’re dealing with depression or not, had a natural delivery or c-section, or had a home birth or hospital birth.
I live in a small city, and I’m a bit ahead of the game here. In larger cities like Chicago and New York, Postpartum Doulas are not only known, but used frequently. Communities there understand the importance of a Doula’s role and are willing to pay for their support.
I’ve come up with a short one-liner I use to explain in a nutshell what I do. As a Postpartum Doula I give nonjudgmental support to pregnant mothers and their families before and after the birth of their baby.
If someone asks exactly what that entails, I tell them that each family is different so my services vary from day to day. A first-time Mom may need assistance with breastfeeding or bathing baby for the first time. A family having their third child may need help with older siblings or getting their home organized. A mother who has had a traumatic birth experience may need to tell her story to a nonjudgmental party (that’s me) so she can begin to process what happened and work on boding with her baby.
Most parents don’t have enough support. The birth of a child brings uncertainties, fears, and anxieties. When parents are bombarded by advice from well-meaning friends and family it can sometimes make things worse. The support of a professional Doula can make all the difference in the world.
Bottom line: You deserve one!