I can't help it. I see the need for doulas everywhere. The anxiety of selling a house, fears about going to the dentist, the grief of losing a loved one. The impact of having a doula's support can be felt in so many arenas even though our primary role is support for new parents and their babies.
So when I saw this photo that my husband took on beautiful Whidbey Island, I said, "THAT IS OUR WORK AS POSTPARTUM DOULAS!"
We are that dock.
I know, I know. It doesn't look that choppy, right? It is only a bit rough. No problem on a big ship with lots of hands on deck. No worries when you are able-bodied, strong and decisive about your direction and have all the tools you need to power through your course.
But what if you are on a canoe or kayak alone? With a sore bottom or tender cesarean incision? Not feeling strong or decisive? And you don't have a lot of hands around to support you. In fact, you are more isolated than you have every been, and you had no idea it would be like this.
I see moms all the time who didn't expect that motherhood would be rough. They might have been worried about the birth, and hired a birth doula to ease that experience (and they do! Great choice!) but maybe they just didn't expect to have a fussy baby who was up at night.
Or a set of twins with reflux.
Or postpartum depression.
Or a sick grandma who wasn't able to help like she had originally planned.
Or maybe they are just not adjusting to motherhood as smoothly as they expected. It is HARD to put your needs aside 24/7 and attend to every whim of your baby. It is HARD to not sleep at night, night after night, and get up every morning anyway, ready to nurture your baby. You ask yourself, "Will I ever sleep again?" and "When will this get easier?"
Of course time helps both our struggles and our ability to see beyond what we are stuck in, but I can't tell you how many people I have met who kick themselves for not hiring a postpartum doula when they reflect back about the newborn period. "Why didn't I have more doula support?" is a question I get frequently, as well as "Why did I tough it out? I barely remember my baby when he was tiny."
I have been working for 15 years to spread the word on postpartum doula care. People are definitely starting to listen. Doulas are getting trained all over the US, and places that never heard about care AFTER the baby comes are hearing what an impact it makes and getting on board. Postpartum doulas are becoming something people recognize as a real job...finally!
This summer we are spending time with our family on Whidbey Island, and it is a great reminder to me that everywhere I go there are moms who are struggling, looking for support, wanting breastfeeding help, and needing practical assistance. I get the calls no matter where I go. Doulas do all this, and really have the ability to smooth the waters of new motherhood. Even when you only need a tiny bit of support because things feel rough.
When people here ask me what I do, I tell them I make life better with babies. Not better FOR babies, as parents usually do that really well even without support. Better WITH babies, as what doulas do is make the job easier on parents, and help them to be great with their own babies. And that makes parenthood feel a lot smoother.
Don't tough it out. People want to help you. Doulas are professional helpers and really can make your life better with your baby. Just ask around. We have over twelve hundred happy clients that would love to tell you about the value of their doula's support.
Want someone to help make you great? We are only a call or click away at www.abcdoula.com. And if you think you have what it takes to make life better with babies for other families, check into the doula trainings we offer to equip you for a career that might be a dream job for you.