It is unfortunate that so many birthing people feel that hiring a postpartum doula is an unnecessary luxury reserved for the elite. It's just not true, and with more families feeling depressed, depleted, run-down and isolated I look forward to the day when most have a postpartum doula the same as most write up a birth plan.
The long-term benefits of having a postpartum doula are immeasurable. The immediate benefits can be seen by the relief on a birthing person's face when they know their doula is showing up on Friday and they will be getting a much needed break and a massage.
If you are unclear about what a postpartum doula is, you can imagine that the same as your birth doula supports and encourages you during labor, a postpartum doula encourages and supports every area of your new life after baby is born. This can look like cooking, cleaning, offering breastfeeding or bottle-feeding support, massage for achy muscles, listening and processing your birth story, brewing supportive herbal teas, filling the bath and holding baby while you soak...
Sound amazing? It's because it is!
I could go on and on writing out the benefits of postpartum doulas and support during the fourth trimester, but I think Kimberly Johnson did an incredible job covering all of the bases in a recent podcast interview with The Birthful Podcast. You can give it a listen here~
I myself did not have a postpartum doula, mostly because I did not know that it was a thing that is available. I heard about these unicorn doulas after my youngest was born, and although I'd had a beautiful and healing birth with Isabelle, I knew there was a lot of room for improvement in the way I cared for myself postpartum. Now postpartum work is some of my favorite work I do! I try to provide everything for my families that I didn't have but wish I did after my own kids were born.
After I had Surro-baby I set myself up for the ultimate stay-cation and fourth trimester laying around to restore my health and well-being. Armed with better knowledge and resources, I knew it would be important for my recovery and that I'd come back healthier and more radiant than ever if I could only take exceptional care of myself in those first weeks after birth. But still, I didn't hire a postpartum doula. I wrongly assumed that because I wouldn't be coming home with a newborn that I wouldn't need one, but looking back and even in the moment, I knew that no mother or family, no matter what their birth or postpartum experience, could ever have too much help. I absolutely would have benefited from a postpartum doula in many ways.
I hope that you are able to invest in your health and long term vitality by hiring a postpartum doula, and when you do, you may want to consider having her do these 3 things~
1. Clean Your Bath Tub
Many postpartum doulas are happy to run you a bath, and will even go the extra mile to fill the tub with herbal brews for healing. I took a bath every night after having my kids because it just felt so good! But I was careful to clean my tub really well before soaking. I didn't want to soak in a dirty bathtub obviously, but there is also the thought that a dirty tub can cause an infection in your very open body. I would rather err on the side of caution and keep it clean~ but who wants to scrub a tub when you are supposed to be relaxing? Even if you aren't planning to take a bath during your postpartum doula's shift, ask her to give it a good cleaning so you can enjoy later.
2. Prep Healthy Snacks
One of my favorite things in the world is receiving love from others through food. Even having a friend drop off take-out makes me feel warm and fuzzy, and as more and more communities create meal trains for their newborn families, I am happy to see that dinner is very often covered by caring friends and neighbors after having a baby. But have you ever noticed that there is never anything in the fridge to just munch on? Sometimes you want to snack, and as well know, you will reach for what is available. Have a friend or your partner shop for some healthy snack ingredients, and your postpartum doula can prep them for later munching. Think chopped fruits and veggies, protein balls, broths, wraps, etc.
3. Create Your Happy Spot
Most likely you will find yourself gravitating to one particular spot in the house after baby is born for feedings, reading, snuggling and just overall comfort. This might be your bed, a cozy corner of the couch, a special chair, or even a little spot on the floor. You might have no anticipated this before the birth, but now it's your throne. You deserve to be surrounded by beauty and it can do wonderful things for your emotional and spiritual well-being to have this space reflect this serene and sacred time you are currently in. Ask your postpartum doula to clean and arrange this space. Set you up with a basket or two of supplies for yourself and baby. Think snacks, drinks, reading material, books, etc. for you and diapers, creams, feeding supplies, etc. for baby. She can arrange flowers, candles, hand lotion and others things nearby to give you something lovely to look at it. This kind of cozy corner is wonderful for everyone, and I find it to be especially comforting for those who are pumping breastmilk. Even if the rest of the house is not as clean or tidy as you like it, it will be okay because this happy spot will be clean and organized just for you.
Curious to learn more about hiring a postpartum doula? You can leave a comment below or contact me here! Did your postpartum doula do something for you that you really loved? Tell us below or share with me on Instagram: @jasmine.rose.doula