I had a doula for my first birth. I watched “The Business of Being Born” and completely changed my mind from wanting a medicated to a natural birth with a hired doula and a midwife.
Both my husband and I feel that doulas should be a part of mainstream birth. We can’t imagine having a birth without a doula. It is important to know when to ask for help – and with a great doula you only need to ask once, and then they take initiative and pick up the slack wherever it’s needed. Never underestimate the power of having another strong woman around to help out.
I was feeling very overwhelmed at the idea of having a newborn, a 2 year old, and no family or close friends around to support me. I try to be realistic and foresee problems and solutions, and having a strong, capable woman here to help me made me feel much less stressed out.
Stephanie has a very calm nature which balances my slightly anxious personality – especially at a time when I was most anxious. She listened to me, which is so important when you don’t have any other adult around and you are going through a big transition. After you give birth you kind of feel like you disappear – because you’re at home a lot, and the focus has shifted completely from you (the pregnant woman) to the new baby and all of the things in your life that you haven’t taken care of in a while (cooking, cleaning, animals and whatever jobs you stopped doing near the end of your pregnancy). Steph is completely non-judgemental which is a very rare quality, and this makes it very easy to talk to her and to be around her and welcome her into your home and life.
Steph helped me with every outing – going to daycare to drop off my older son, she helped to get everyone ready, and then get everyone into the car, and out of the car etc. She helped with the grocery shopping, and any other errands I wanted to run. She was here for me – and didn’t mind waiting in the car with the baby so I could run in somewhere more easily (this made things easier on my body and gave me a break too). She always picked up the car seat, or whatever was to heavy for me to lift post partpartum, but she did so in an easy manner – she didn’t do everything and make me feel helpless, she could tell when her help was needed and intuitively stepped in.
She did a lot of cooking which was amazing. We did some of it together because I wanted to learn some new skills, but she did a lot of it on her own because I was nursing the baby, or wanted to spend some time with my older son, or just because she wanted to make extra food. She helped me to stock up my freezer with yummy and healthy leftovers – that really made me feel less nervous about her leaving because I had some really easy healthy meals for busy nights.
I think that even if you have lots of family or friends around who can help you out, you should still consider hiring a postnatal doula. Friends and family are great – but being with them can be exhausting and they want to hold the baby. A postnatal doula can hold the baby (mine did during his fussy time of day and that was a huge relief) but during these first few weeks the parents should be holding that baby the most – and the postnatal doula knows this and supports this by helping with other things such as older kids, pets, cooking etc. It’s also great to have them with you while you sort out your new routine while your body is still recovering. It’s like having a specialized personal trainer who already understands what you need and how to help you in all areas.
Stephanie is an incredibly capable person who has years of experience in helping families. I was so happy to hear that she was becoming a doula, because it put a title to who she already was. She has supported parents and taken great care of children physically and emotionally – she is always there to listen, and to play, and adapts to every child’s needs based on their age and personality. My older son fell in love with her and I loved knowing that when I couldn’t hold my [first] baby, he was in her arm. She is a wonderful listener and always maintains a very calm attitude which is healthy for everyone involved. I missed her as soon as she left – which is saying a lot – usually you are relieved when visitors leave while you have a new baby.