This blog post is part of the 2016 World Doula Week blog challenge, hosted right here by Louisville Area Doulas. Make sure you check out the other entertaining, eye opening, and informational blogs by doulas around the world here.
We talk about postpartum doulas a lot on this blog, and for good reason. Two in particular: 1) Not many people know what they are, especially in this area. Most people think of homebirth and hippies when they think of “doulas” There are very few practicing postpartum doulas in Louisville and Southern Indiana, which doesn't do much for word of mouth. Plus, 2) The work that postpartum doulas do is so important. We have a serious problem with supporting new parents in today's day and age, and postpartum doulas help fill that void.
But what do postpartum doulas really do?
For a peek inside the life of a postpartum doula and what we do for the out clients, take a peak at the hashtag #postpartumdoulasdothat on your favorite social networking site. It was coined by Devon Clement, aka baby whisperer extraordinaire and owner of Mama’s Best Friend. You’ll see Louisville Area Doula’s instagram pop up among the other doula accounts around the world, and you’ll get a good idea about what postpartum doulas really do on a day to day basis.
Now that we covered that, let’s talk about the opposite.
What don’t postpartum doulas do?
1. Postpartum doulas don’t tell you how to parent or judge you for your choices
How many times have you been told, in person or online, subtly or in big bold letters, that your parenting choices are “wrong”? Sometimes it’s a “that’s not how I did it” or “yeah, I said that when I was pregnant, too” (with the implication that you’ll change your mind, too). Sometimes it’s a disapproving look or a passive aggressive facebook post.
However it’s handed to you, judgement sucks. The good news is, you will never feel judged by your postpartum doula.
Postpartum doulas recognize that you are the authority on what’s best for your family and support you as you work toward your parenting goals, whatever those may be.
We care for your baby the way that you want your baby to be cared for with no convincing, questioning, or sideways glances.
Breastfeeding or bottle feeding. Attachment parenting or scheduled parenting. Cloth diapering or disposable diapers. Postpartum doulas support you and your choices, full stop.
2. Postpartum doulas provide evidence based advice--the right way
Speaking of judgement, there’s a very specific kind of judgment, often handed down by “experts”, whether rogue doulas or [insert cause here] activists. It comes under the guise of “evidence based information”.
Here’s the thing. Information is great. Scientific evidence supporting said information is great. What isn’t great is forcing unsolicited information on someone and expecting that they will make a specific choice based on this information.
To be frank, this comes up most frequently with divisive subjects such as breastfeeding, circumcision, vaccines, and sleep training/cry-it-out.
A well trained, professional doula is an expert on postpartum recovery and newborn care, but they will not offer you studies or information or advice that you don’t ask for. Their support isn’t defined by whether you have all the information that they think you need. While they’re available to share what they know, they will never shove information down your throat with an agenda mindset.
Make choices for your family your way, whether that’s reading every article and academic study, asking for advice from an expert, following family tradition, or listening to your gut. Your postpartum doula will support your family no matter what.
3. Postpartum doulas don’t have expectations for what you need
It’s not just how you’ll react to research that postpartum doulas don’t have expectations about.
Postpartum doulas don’t have expectations at all. They don’t come into your home, expecting to already know what you need. They take the time to get to know you, your family, you needs, and your parenting goals. Then, and only then, do they act.
A good postpartum doula also doesn’t have expectations for how long you’ll need support. There’s a prevalent idea that postpartum doulas should be trying to “work themselves out of the job”. While I get the intent behind it---that postpartum doulas should help you build your confidence instead of making you reliant on their support--- I think it disempowers the parents.
Only you know when you’re comfortable doing without your doula. Louisville Area Doulas supports families during the 4th trimester and beyond. We’ll be by your side until you decide otherwise.
4. Postpartum doulas don’t take the place of your loved ones
This is a common concern that people have when considering hiring a doula. When you have a loving spouse, family that’s coming to visit, and friends that promise to drop by, why would you even need a postpartum doula?
Postpartum doulas don’t just support mom and baby, but the whole family. We fill in the gaps of what you need to feel rested and relaxed, while allowing your loved ones the time and space to enjoy the experience with you.
When your mother-in-law is in town, your postpartum can take care of sterilizing the bottles and pump parts so that she can catch up and enjoy time with her new grandchild.
When your friend drops with a frozen meal, we can take care of making the dinner that she brought you so that she can hear your birth story.
When you’re mom wants to cook your favorite comfort food, we can take care of baby so that she can focus on cooking and you and your partner can relax while eating.
Postpartum doulas don’t take the place of your loved ones at all. We simply allow you all to enjoy the things that you want to do together, while taking care of the other necessities in the background.
Now that you know what postpartum doulas don’t do, check out the hashtag #postpartumdoulasdothat and head over to the World Doula Week blog challenge link up to see more examples of what postpartum doulas can and will do.
Louisville area doulas is proud to offer postpartum doula support in louisville, southern indiana, and the surrounding area provided by the best doulas you could ask for. to find out more or to schedule a postpartum planning session, contact us today.