Why a postpartum doula is essential for new mums
What is a postpartum doula?
Are you someone who’s prone to a little anxiety? Do you live far away from your family or does your partner travel a lot? Well Mummas, let me introduce to you the wonderful, soul-saving world of postpartum doulas…
Coming home with your newborn is one of the most precious times in your life. It can also be one of the most overwhelming and exhausting times you will ever experience. Selena Van Loon calls it ‘The Golden Month’. She believes we should come back to the traditional notion of celebrating the first 40 days of being a new mumma by being at home and being cared for.
The idea that a new mother and her baby are cared for by the women around her in a protective ‘cocoon’, away from visitors, diseases and stress, is one derived from various cultures throughout history. In fact, a postpartum resting period is still observed in many countries in Asia, Africa and India to this day. However, in Australia, the US and the UK, this traditional resting period seems to have vanished, replaced with the idea of getting ‘back to normal’ as quickly as possible.
Selena believes that a slow recuperation after birth is essential for new mummas. This is where a postpartum doula can help. They can provide you the space and assistance to stay at home and focus on healing, resting and getting to know the new edition to your tribe.
Also known as non-medical support carer (which isn’t as catchy), their primary goal is to support the mumma and her family by giving them the time and education to raise a baby without the stress of everything else.
What does a Postpartum Doula do?
Once you get home from birthing your baby, your environment is no longer surrounded by medical professionals. This can be daunting for any first-time mumma and in some ways, you can become quite isolated as you adapt to motherhood. As each day brings new uncertainties, you often don’t realise you need help until it’s overwhelming.
One of the greatest benefits of a postpartum doula is they keep you connected to people. They understand what you are going through and can assist in encouraging you, giving you confidence, educating you and simply keeping you company in the comfort of your own home. Some ways they can help are by preparing meals, assisting in light housework, watching and feeding the baby while you have a shower or sleep, breastfeeding and lactation support, helping you find professional medical resources (such as lactation consultants, nutritionists, psychologists), helping you understand your postpartum recovery and answering any questions you might have.
Why should you consider a postpartum doula?
Postpartum support is essential to your physical and emotional wellbeing. During this ‘fourth trimester’, without adequate support, new mummas can experience symptoms of depression, anxiousness and in some cases postnatal depression and anxiety.
Having a newborn can be confronting and can create extra stress in your life. A postpartum doula is able to ease some of that stress for you, especially if you are away from friends or family.
Babies do not come with a manual, and once you get home, it can be very isolating and overwhelming. A postpartum doula can support your transition to motherhood and can lend a helping hand. Whether that’s with the baby, with chores around the house, or by providing you with guidance and relief (and sometimes sleep!), she can be your lifesaver so you can be present and stress free during these precious moments.
If you’d like to find a postpartum doula to support you and your family, check out a comprehensive online service called ‘Find a Doula’, which offers you choices in your childbirth support. And if you would like to reach out to Selena during your crazy beautiful time as a new mumma, you can contact her via email firstname.lastname@example.org; she is based in Sydney NSW.
Image by @sheis.elle
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