If the past year has taught us anything, it’s that what society deemed as “essential” in the past has been quite misconstrued. Partners, families, and friends were birthing alone. Parents had to go through the birthing process alone, and the fact is, many moms and dads felt the mental strain of navigating this major life transition without the support of trusted friends and family. In the intimate time of welcoming a new baby home, support is what is needed the most. So how does a brand new (or even experienced) parent find compassionate support? What exactly does this needed support look like?
So, what exactly is a postpartum doula?
Postpartum means “after birth.” Therefore, every woman who has given birth has experienced a postpartum period. Doula is a Greek word for “woman that serves.” In today’s terms, “doula” is an individual that provides unbiased physical, emotional, and educational support during pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum. A postpartum doula is your personalized baby guide for your well-being, your baby, and your parenting philosophies. One size does not fit all! A postpartum doula’s primary focus is the birthing person and partner. The secondary focus moves onto the baby, and other children. Thirdly, a postpartum doula attends to anything in the home that creates serenity for the parents and the baby. This can include light housekeeping, light meal preparations, tending to a load of laundry, washing baby items, etc.
A POSTPARTUM DOULA PROVIDES …
Physical support with a postpartum doula is beneficial in those early days and weeks after giving birth to aid in physical healing. The body has metaphorically run a marathon and needs time to heal. A postpartum doula is versed in the postpartum body, knowing what’s normal and what’s abnormal in the healing process. With newborn care expertise, a postpartum doula tackles the diaper changes, feedings, nap times, bedtimes, and everything in-between.
With a helping hand around the home, a postpartum doula creates a serene environment for the family by washing a load of dishes here and folding a basket of laundry there. While the main focus is the rest, recovery, and restoration of the mom, your postpartum doula also knows that home sets the foundation of the mood. Quick errands or tasks are another way that a postpartum doula helps support a family.
One of the biggest benefits of a postpartum doula is the ability for new parents to truly rest. Knowing that their environment is in the professional and compassionate hands of their trusted certified doula, parents are able to fully rest their minds and bodies and gain a full night’s sleep.
The body goes through an increase and decrease of hormones after birth. Navigating these hormones alone can lead to self-doubt, perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMAD), and more.
Having the non-judgemental unbiased mental and emotional support of a postpartum doula has been statistically proven to decrease instances of PMADS, increase breastfeeding successes, and build confidence.
The postpartum period can be a roller coaster ride of feelings and emotions. Having someone who can attune and attend to emotions at any given time naturally empowers an individual.
Holding space during birth means being present in the moment and in the emotions presented; not fixing, advising or doing. This isn’t only for the birthing room. It also pertains to feeling safe and confident at home with this tiny person for which you’re responsible.
Communicating the highs and lows of new parenthood is not always easy to express to family and friends — without feeling judged or being told “that’s just how it is.” With a confidant by your side, you won’t be bothered with advice like, “suck it up,” “it’s not that bad,” or “you should do this or that.” Instilling confidence in each parent is what a postpartum doula does.
Imagine having a “Mary Poppins” that guides you through the day, through the 4th trimester, through baby’s first year of life. A postpartum doula is as close to a Mary Poppins as you’ll find. When your doula isn’t there in person, she’s available via texts, emails or phone calls with information and education. The doula is your toolkit for baby, body, and parenting.
A doula follows recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and medical-care providers, breaking down complex jargon into understandable bites. This is especially helpful when Dr. Google, social media, and peers are sharing information and biases that do more hurt than help.
WHAT A POSTPARTUM DOULA IS NOT
While a postpartum doula provides a variety of support services, skills, and serenity for a family, there are some clear lines of what a postpartum doula does NOT provide.
A postpartum doula does NOT:
– Provide medical advice or perform medical procedures.
– Pickup or clean up after animals.
– Deep clean, clean bathrooms, dust.
A postpartum doula should not:
– Bring their own preferences and philosophies to influence the family.
– Show bias to the choices a family makes.
The unbiased, non-judgemental support of a certified, professional postpartum doula brings comfort, confidence, and companionship to a new family. Knowing that you’ve got “a person” in your camp to guide you every step of the way throughout the postpartum period is something to cheer about.
A postpartum doula sound AH-MAZING, right? We know! That’s one reason we, at Vegas Family Doulas, LOVE what we get to do! We are a full-service doula agency providing professional certified doula support to the entire Las Vegas Valley. Our doulas have provided support services to Las Vegas families for 4 years, and with our team model, we’ve got you covered!
Give us a call or visit vegasfamilydoulas.com/contact and we’ll be in touch!
Vegas Family Doulas believes in the power of the parent, and that’s ‘Always a Safe Bet!’
By Aisha Fanning / CEO / Vegas Family Doulas
*This article is not a paid or sponsored contribution