Tuesday
Jul262011

The First 6 Weeks 

You had an amazing birth!

You are holding your beautiful baby!

Now what?

If you have a midwife you are gifted twice as many postpartum visits than if you have a doctor. Your babe has a few pediatrician visits and other than that you are kinda left hanging until 6 weeks postpartum. So what are you suppose to do to adjust to this new role and new being in your life?

In traditional cultures the women band together and help the new momma and baby. The United States is pretty far from that and unless you have family near by (and sometimes even when you do!) this is an interesting time that can feel slightly isolating and overwhelming. You may be flooded with questions about how to care for your baby. You may feel inadequate because of slacking on housework or because you have questions and aren't a "natural." (There are many other things you may be feeling). And if you are on the flip side, you may be feeling Great! You may want to be rejoicing and have another person that is as excited as you to share this joy; someone to bond with that has walked in these shoes before. And you may be feeling good and simply want a helping hand because you do have your time dedicated to the new little life in front of you!

No matter what you are feeling, as a postpartum doula, I give you the space to feel everything you feel and to express all that you desire to express! I enjoy holding space for new parents to allow all emotions to flow (versus be bottled up), the super joyful, the unpleasant, and everything in between.

I bring women a sense of sisterhood; a supportive presence that brings a sense of a more traditional culture.

I can help give a partner time to bond with his/her family, relieve any pressure to take on more than they anticipated in tasks, and the same space to talk about their birth experience.  (Despite being bonded with love and being in the same room experiencing the same event, we all are individuals and have different experiences; particularly if your experience was different than your partner's you may have some internal stuff to clear out).

What other services do I provide as a postpartum doula?

* newborn care

* lactation support/guidance

* time to: take a shower, breathe, spend time with other children, or whatever your heart desires

* nutrition guidance

* meal preparation

* errand running

* light housework (dishes, cleaning off counters, picking up etc.)

 

What I DO NOT do as a doula:

* babysit (I will some watching of children so that things can get done and parent(s) can have time for themselves or to spend with other children, but would be an expensive babysitter).

* deep house cleaning (I will clean a tub here and there if it is needed but not on a regular basis. I will not scrub floors, organize files/cabinets, shampoo carpets etc)

* replace a lactation consultant or doctor of any sort. (I can look at situations and give my opinion but will definitely refer a person out when things are beyond my scope of practice).

Friday
Jul222011

Postpartum Doula....Ahhh :)

For those of you that have experienced the amazing benefits of having a birth doula or postpartum doula you may want to skip down for other information.

When I tell people I am a postpartum doula I often hear, "What?" at which point I repeate myself and then hear "Umm what's a doula?" The Greek translation is "female slave for the child-bearing woman." In modern times it would be viewed a little bit differently than that however I think that gives a nice In Your Face definition.

So, what is a doula to me? Well most often another woman that supports birthing women, during the birth process and/or during the postpartum period. This support includes an array of services.

As a postpartum doula, here are some things that I offer:

--Relief....becoming a mother (or adding another child (or children) to the mix is a Huge Transition that benefits greatly from a giving hand. I am there to give the momma a moment to breathe, to rest, to take a shower, to be by herself for a moment, to do and be whatever it is she needs to have relief from her new (or not so new) role.

-other relief components that are very important:

helping with lactation; sometimes learning a good latch can bring an emmense amount of relief

learning new positions for nursing, or sitting or laying to help with tears or bottom soreness, or with cesarean surgery tenderness.

light massage for forearms, feet, shoulders etc. Potential massage instruction or demonstration for lactation issues.

household help: this is a common postpartum doula task. The household chores must be put on hold so the mother can heal, as well as the parents to have bonding time with the baby. I will do dishes/light kitchen cleaning, pick-up other rooms, throw in laundry, etc. This does Not include deep cleaning. I am not opposed to cleaning a tub or sink here and there but I will not scrub floors, windows, etc.

mental relief: I love to hear all of the stories! I am an open, listening ear that will hear all of the joys or traumas or everything inbetween. I love birth stories and will listen to them over and over again if a woman wants to tell them. I also can listen to any worries or concerns about being a parent, as well as all of the exciting things that happen in those first six weeks. I also have ideas to help a person document their birth, or clear components they wished were different. I am not a trained counselor, however I do have education in psychology and I also have a background in alternative healing where I do clear emotions (this is an extra/different service if a person is interested).

I also assist with mental relief by checking things out. I give newborn care guidance. I can look at the body or situations and say if things look normal or if a person should seek out further care/assistance.

--Nutrition...I want to make sure Momma is fed, and I will help with meal preparation and nutrition guidance.

--Gifts....I come bearing gifts. I have a few staple goodies that I give to mothers after their birthing day. A nutritious, boosting soup. Sitz bath herbs. And other good good stuff :)

I am here to help the new parent(s) adapt and make this transition to parenthood as enjoyable as possible!!