Why Might I Need A Postnatal Doula - Lucy Baena, postnatal doula in Brighton
By Victoria Greenly, Nov 23 2017 12:23PM
Why might I need a Postnatal Doula?
In my experience it is hard to make the decision to pre-book a Postnatal Doula. It is hard to
imagine exactly what sort of support, if any, you might want or need after the birth of a baby.
So much time in pregnancy is spent preparing for birth that it becomes a challenge to see that
birth is only the beginning.
In all other cultures around the world following a birth families, and in particular the birth
mother, are encouraged to have an intense period of rest and recuperation as they adjust to
their new post-birth life. During this time mothers are supported so they can bond with their
new babies and heal from birth. Over a period of roughly 40 days women in traditional
communities may be given special foods, massages and looked after by close family and
friends and are expected to temporarily stop their chores. Those societies recognise that in life
there is no ‘back’ only forward and to move forward as positively and healthily as possible
after birth, human beings need support. In Western society we have lost our traditions and
now the focus is on ‘bouncing-back’, leaving new mothers to heal and learn about parenting
totally on their own.
The emotional and physiological changes a woman goes through when she has a baby are
immense and should not be underestimated. Everyone’s journey is unique and uncharted and
therefore demands unique support. And yes, in the UK a midwife will pop in to see you for a
couple of weeks and there’s a six week check up at the GP. But how many people really want
to go into how they are really doing with a GP, in 5 minutes, who they have never met
before? Or a rushed midwife who you know is doing her best but has a list of other mums to
visit today and you’re sure they all need her more than you do….
I hope that this blog may give a little insight into what a day with a Postnatal Doula might
look like and why finding Postnatal Doula support might be the best decision you ever make!
I met my last client over a cuppa at her house one evening when she was around seven
months pregnant, we connected straight away and I was thrilled she asked me to support her
and her partner postnatally. Initially they booked 8 postnatal visits. The following month we
met up for their ‘4th trimester planning session’ where we went through all their hopes and
dreams for what the first few months with their new baby might look like. We discussed
everything from baby essentials to local postnatal support services. I also held her Mothers
Blessing. Afterwards we kept in touch over text and email and she let me know when the
baby arrived. For the first two weeks her partner was on paternity leave and her family were
around, but after that her partner had to go back to work and her family headed home, so we
arranged my first visit.
I arrived at 10am to find a very tired looking Mama still in her PJs with a fresh baby in the
crook of her arm. She showed me in and I made her a cuppa and we chatted. She told me her
birth story, and how the first two weeks had been. I tidied her kitchen whilst we chatted more.
While she had a shower, I watched the baby and unpacked the lunch I’d brought for her. After
her shower, she fed the baby and we chatted about some breastfeeding challenges she’d been
having. I suggested that she might like to go to a local breastfeeding support group, but she
was understandably nervous, so we arranged to go to the next one together. I left her eating
lunch, dressed, with a sleeping baby and plan to go to the breastfeeding group.
As the visits went on and we became more relaxed with each other we chatted about
everything from breastfeeding to bottles, from stiches to parent groups. Normally I’d stay
around 3 hours at her house and a few times we met out. A couple of times she opened the
door looking so tired, I simply held the baby while she napped. I accompanied her on their
first solo trip to the supermarket and a trip to the GP. We also did a tour of local breastfeeding
friendly cafes and I introduced her to a nearby Postnatal group which she began to go to
independently. After a while I noticed that she seemed much more confident, she no longer
opened the door in her Pyjamas and our chats where full of all the things she was doing with
her baby and who she was meeting. I knew it was time for me to move on. Her baby was by
now 3 months old and we arranged our last meeting. I brought extra cake and left her with
my number and my sincerest hope that she would feel free to contact me if she needed
anything. I caught up with her a few months later and was so happy to see how the family
was and how confident they now were, finding their own path through all the challenges and
joys of parenthood.
I hope that this serves to give some idea of what employing a Postnatal Doula might be like.
No one knows what support you might need better than you do, but finding, staying in touch
with and booking a Postnatal Doula will guarantee you as many support options as possible.
For more information about Lucy's services, please take a look at lucybaenadoula.co.uk