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Postpartum Doula Support: Filling the Gaps in Healing After Birth

In January I began studying for a postpartum doula certification with Birth Arts International. This would allow me to continue supporting my clients as they transition to the next part of their journey. As expecting parents we tend to focus our time and energy on the pregnancy and birth process.  As a result, postpartum plans often get the short end of the stick. After coming home with their babies, many parents may feel as though they don’t have the support or resources to feel confident in what they are doing. We are questioning ourselves while trying to learn how to make our newborns happy and healthy, all while sleep deprived and often times neglecting our own needs. Frequently too, we have older children at home that are adjusting to the new baby and the change in household. We still have laundry. We still have to eat. We desperately need sleep, a real shower, and maybe a moment or two just for ourselves.

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That's where I come in.

Postpartum doula support fills in the gaps of what the family might need. These services include light errands, light house cleaning, meal prep, infant and sibling care, breast feeding support, postpartum healing guidance, debriefing support of your birth experience, and connecting families to local resources. Best of all is the emotional and mental support of another person who understands exactly where you are and what you are going through. This is someone who listens, knows birth intimately, and can help you process your experience of birth and new motherhood. When we are able to feel whole and have the details of our home taken care of, we have opportunities to heal faster, have improved breastfeeding success rates, and decreased severity of postpartum mood disorders.

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1 in 5 mothers experience a postpartum mood disorder, including anxiety and depression. 1 in 10 fathers will experience anxiety and depression as well. These feelings not only impact the individuals health, but the health of the family and community. Currently suicide is the second leading cause of death in perinatal women, with a rate of 1 in 5 postpartum deaths being contributed to suicide. The risk is increased through the first postpartum year. These statistics are a heart wrenching wake up call in how we treat parents, our postpartum care, mental health support, and often the ability of our village to see a struggling parent and know what to do. Having a knowledgeable professional help take off the weight of some of the daily burdens can create space for that family to heal.

It’s not about luxury.

It’s not about being demanding.

Postpartum doula support is about giving families and communities what they need to feel like better confident versions of themselves.

To learn more about how postpartum doula support, please contact me for a consultation at Living Heart Doula.

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You Got This: What it should mean

“You’ve got this. Deep breath Mama!”

If you’ve ever been one of my clients, you’ve probably heard me say this. It’s something I say to remind my moms when labor begins to get tough, and it’s a matter of getting through one contraction at a time.

You got this. Now here are all the things I want to say... 

You got this. Now here are all the things I want to say... 

A simple phrase, a warm touch of reassurance, but it means a lot more to me when I really dig in to why I say it. When I'm trying to convey something stronger I often stumble over my words, trying to verbalize all the emotions that I cannot always express without getting tripped up and choked up.

All too often this phrase is getting used as a trite comforting gesture. It's become the proverbial knock on the shoulder, and "You stay chipper!" 

"You got this!" really means: 

  •        Let go of the nagging fears that are no longing serving you.
  •       You are so strong. I see it, and want you to feel it in your core.  
  •       This birthing thing… you’re rocking it!
  •       Dad, who is so unsure of what to do and think right now? Let her hold on to you. You’re a rock for her.
  •       Breastfeeding is hard sometimes, and it feels like you have a million new questions everyday. Ask them. Trust your gut if something feels off and you want another opinion.
  •       Parenthood is wild and hard. Don’t doubt your abilities to raise these little people. If you do, call a friend. Guaranteed they feel the same. Try again tomorrow.
  •        You may have only had two hours of sleep, and there’s a long day ahead of you. One step, one minute at a time.
  •       Sometimes postpartum hormones are really mean, and anxiety is a dirty rotten liar. Let's talk about how you're feeling. 
  • Going back to work after maternity/paternity leave is so hard. How are things going to be for our routine? How am I going to feel? Take it one day at a time, and bend when the wind blows. Be flexible where you can, and give yourself and your family all the grace you need during this season. 
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Deep breath.

 

You got this.

 

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