It has been just over six months since my second daughter was born, so it was high time I polished my birth story and published it under the ‘Birth stories’ section of my website! You will find it there, along with the birth story of one of my recent clients. Another one will follow shortly – the story of the birth I attended as a doula mid-May.
Katie Moore contacted me through my website yesterday and was interested in submitting one of her articles on postnatal doulas, the unique role they perform to help new mums and their families, as well as the benefits of hiring one. Katie is American but all she says here is valid in the UK. She is an active blogger who discusses the topics of motherhood, children, fitness, health and all other things ‘mummy’. She enjoys writing, blogging and meeting new people. To connect with Katie, contact her via her blog at www.moorefromkatie.blogspot.com or her twitter: @moorekm26.
Doulas reduce stress in the postpartum period
In past generations, expectant women were surrounded by women who helped them understand the changes of pregnancy. These women supported the mother during childbirth and helped her with the transitions that a new baby brings. When women had questions about breastfeeding, newborn health or anything else, women of other generations were there to step in with advice and assistance.
Most modern American women have access to amazing medical assistance during pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum period. However, despite these advances, many of these women do not have the emotional and physical support that women of past generations had. Families are scattered across the country, leaving women without familial support in many situations. Despite numerous doctor’s appointments and childbirth classes, many expectant mothers feel overwhelmed at the idea of being solely responsible for the well-being of a new baby. Often new mothers have never even held a newborn or seen a woman breastfeed a baby. Mothers frequently leave the hospital just a few days after giving birth with a sense of panic that is matched only by their incredible fatigue.
Doulas are support professionals who hope to fill this void for new moms. By hiring a doula, an expectant mother can have someone to accompany her to prenatal doctor’s appointments, help her stay as comfortable as possible in labor and answer her many questions about newborn care. Often women are hesitant to bother their doctors with what they perceive to be silly questions. A woman can keep in touch with her doula by e-mail and telephone and ask all of the questions she may be embarrassed to ask her doctor. A doula can educate a woman on all the choices available to her during delivery and after, such as pain management choices, immunizations available and options like umbilical cord blood banking.
Many doulas provide support during labor, childbirth and recovery. These women feel that the job is done once the mother has settled in with the baby at the hospital. However, other doulas provide support to mothers when they come home from the hospital. Hiring a postpartum doula is just like having a favorite grandmother come to stay for a few weeks after the baby is born. These women do light housekeeping, prepare meals and help the family adjust to the realities of life with a newborn.
Many mothers are overwhelmed when they first come home from the hospital with a new baby. A postpartum doula can help the mother feel that she has the support to manage this change. Women who have never cared for a newborn before may be worried about their ability to cope with the demands of their babies. A doula is always on the lookout for signs of postpartum depression and can assist with helping a mother avoid or overcome those feelings. A postpartum doula is educated in newborn care and will assist the mother until she feels confident enough to care for the baby on her own.
By hiring a doula, women will feel more comfortable with the idea of becoming a mom. Knowing that a trusted woman will be there to manage things that are too much for them allows many mothers recover more quickly from childbirth. Women should not try to do it all in the postpartum period. Having a doula can bridge the gap of what a woman needs to do versus what she has the energy to do. Doulas can reduce postpartum depression and ease the transition of adding a new baby to a household.