If you’re anything like I was less than a year ago, you’re wondering what a postpartum doula even is. You’ve likely heard the term “doula” in reference to the women (and sometimes men) who will come alongside you during the birth of your baby and support your decisions in the delivery room. This doula focuses on the pregnancy, and birth of your baby. She or he will be super knowledgeable and educate you on basically anything you wonder about. She will help you write your birth plan and stand beside you during the birth to ensure that your birth plan is honored (example: “do you consent to that episiotomy the doctor is prepping for?)
So a postpartum doula is similar, she (can we just say the ‘or he’ is implied from here on out?) will educate you on all the things you need to know, or wonder about AFTER your baby is born. She is knowledgeable in things like baby wearing, lactation and cloth diapering. She will come to your home, help you perfect the swaddling that you are struggling with. She will make sure you are eating enough, staying hydrated and even let you take a nap while she’s there. A postpartum doula is that awesome neighbor you wish you had. She does all the things, organizes meals, tidies up, folds laundry, walks the dog…. she will even pick up your dry cleaning and a loaf of bread on her way over!
She supports you emotionally, as well. She will help you process the feelings you may be sitting on from your delivery. Even in a perfectly normal delivery, something may be surprising or confusing to you and a doula can help you talk through it. A doula has connections, too. She can refer you to therapists, doctors, support groups, and more as the need pops up. She works with the whole family unit, including your parenting partner(s) and siblings.
A postpartum doula has so many talents, and although the expertise varies from person to person, you should definitely consider including this in your baby budget. You will not regret hiring a postpartum support doula to walk alongside you in your most vulnerable, and life altering transition into new parenthood.