What does a Postpartum Doula do?
Provides informational, physical, and emotional support to the birthing person following childbirth
Attends to whatever the postpartum persons’ needs are, including but not limited to: completing household tasks, caring for baby, making nutritionally-dense meals, assist with baby wearing and lactation, provide insight regarding typical postpartum healing and early newborn developments, and refer to appropriate community resources.
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When many people get pregnant, they prioritize preparing for the baby and preparing for birth, but most do not adequately prepare for the postpartum period. Typically, when referring to the “postpartum period”, you hear some say that it is the first 40 days after birth. In reality, postpartum is the duration of your life following childbirth! You are a postpartum being from your first birth, onwards.
(Disclaimer: When I say birth, I also include miscarriage, abortion, stillbirth, and all kinds of birth. Truthfully, this is an idea that was introduced to me relatively recently. The idea that all of these falling under the reproductive umbrella should be considered with the same weight as live birth. This sentiment was like a lightning bolt to my chest. We all deserve to be honored in this space. With that, to all of those who have experienced these kinds of “invisible” birth, I see you, I feel you, I am one of you.)
It is so important to honor your postpartum self. You can do this by prioritizing preparation during your pregnancy! There are many things you can do support yourself during the transition to parenthood following the birth of your baby. One of the most impactful things you can do for yourself is hire a postpartum doula. A postpartum doula is there to help hold space for you during this immense shift, and provide education and resources to envelop you in support. As a postpartum doula, the roles and responsibilities vary from family to family, but there is always so much room for added care and guidance! Whether it’s fixing up a delicious, nutrient- and flavor-dense meal, lending an attentive listening ear, caring for baby so you can get some much-needed rest, or answering questions surrounding your birth and postpartum experiences, a doula is there to be your safety net.
In a world where we are encouraged to move, produce, and live in such a rushed and haphazard way, allow yourself to surrender to the sweet slowness of postpartum. If you have the means to take maternity/paternity leave, try to take off for as much time as you can to adjust to your new life. If you have people close to you in your life, do not be afraid to ask them for help (they say “it takes a village” for a reason!) If you have a few moments in your day to pause and do some deep breathing, do it! Birthing is an incredible feat and requires incredible healing. Give yourself the gift of patience and understanding, you are doing the best you can. I honor you and I see you.