It was sometime in the wee hours of the morning that I sat in the living room of the quiet house of my friend’s. There I was a young girl in my high teens rocking a newborn blissfully in the middle of the night. To me, it was the biggest treat to have this privilege. For the new mama to bring me her snuggly infant after his feeding and let me take over the loving of this little life for a short time was precious. Now as a mama of 8 I can imagine the grateful sigh my friend probably breathed as she crept back between her sheets and gave way to much-needed slumber. Little did I realize at the time I was actually acting as a postpartum doula. I actually at the time thought one day that I would be a midwife but years and yes decades later, I would realize it was being a doula that was actually my calling. Now as a much older woman with grown children of my own, I still find it the biggest privilege to get to snuggle those newborns no matter what time of day or night it is.
Many people when they think of a doula have a preconceived notion of what a doula really is. The roles of a Doula vary as much as each individuals pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum does. The roles of a doula during pregnancy and labor are for another post but today I would like to highlight the postpartum doula. What exactly IS a postpartum doula?
My answer to that simply would be: whatever you need her to be. You see, the word for Doula means a servant and as servants to new mamas we are available for so many different things. As part of your normal birth package with Cradled in Love you have the option of 1 or 2 postpartum visits from your doula. Here is a list of just some the things we can and love to do for you. The choice is yours!
- Making you a cup of tea and sitting and talking through the events of your labor and delivery. Answering any questions, listening to your emotions, offering suggestions for feelings you might be experiencing. Going over the things that you loved about your birth, the things that you did not like about your birth could be discussed. And in general, a heart to heart talk about where you are at as a new mama would you one of the things we would love to do.
- Holding your baby while you take a shower or a much-needed nap
- Catching up on housework that you may have to help tidy your home, doing dishes or vacuuming
- Giving suggestions for breastfeeding or infant care
- Spending time with other children to free mama up
- Offering suggestions for sibling bonding
- Meal preparation
- Giving mama a relaxing massage
- and so much more…
Cradled in Love also offers extended postpartum services and packages that can be tailored just for your needs. Mothers have found great value in hiring doulas for overnight packages even weekly packages so that they are able to get the much-needed recovery sleep. Sometimes a mother is needing to return to work and needs more help and care for her baby and prefer a professional vs. hiring a babysitting for their infant. Our 24-hour services make sure that we are available to serve you with as much or as little as you need.
In “the good ole’ days” the community would surround a new mother, the older women taking care of the younger women. The grandmothers and young girls in the community would be surrounding the new family with love and care. Doulas can fill that gap in a very busy society, granting refreshment, attention, and service to you and your precious little one.
Jenny has been the happy wife to Steve for 23 years and is a mama of 8 children. She has a passion for all things birth and babies and serves as a doula for Cradled in Love Birth Services. She also blogs over at amothersheritage.com.