Younique Postnatal

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Welcome to Younique Postnatal's blog

 

Follow the writings of Victoria Greenly, one of Younique Postnatal's founding members and course provider.  Here you will find musings on all things postnatal.  We look forward to publishing articles by the doulas we have trained and YP's other founding members.

By Victoria Greenly, Mar 8 2018 04:17PM

It’s International Women’s Day today and this got me thinking. It got me thinking about how we as women sometimes realise we can’t do everything – and that we might need a bit of help. But what I want to know is how do we ask for help?


Over the years I have tried to do a lot without much assistance. Raise a child, set up businesses, manage a house and finances. But what becomes a daily juggling act can spill into the region of being overwhelming. I think this can be said of the time straight after a woman has a baby too. Society is not geared up for understanding or supporting the multitude of tasks a woman may feel she has to complete in order to be perceived as a good mother. Naomi Stadlen gave a different perspective in ‘What Mothers Do’ about what it is new mothers actually spend their time doing – all of which is hugely important and should be given a much higher value than it is – comforting babies and meeting their needs, as well as understanding our value as we transition from women to mothers.

The reality of a looking after a baby is that it is incredibly time consuming without much room for other tasks. Breastfeeding a baby for hours on end (particularly if it isn’t going very well) doesn’t give you much time to whip up a gourmet meal, deepclean the house or arrange a new mortgage package. And rightly so - we are guaranteeing the health, happiness and wellbeing of future generations. Babies don’t come ready prepared out of a packet, they need time, input, observation and love. Women need to feel the job they are doing is really worthwhile and not at the bottom of society’s pecking order. To do that job well, they need some time, love and nurturing for themselves too.


We live in a society that is very task orientated and that spills over into all sections of our lives. We often measure ourselves against the targets we have reached and the goals we have achieved. But do we and indeed should we, particularly after a baby is born? Should we be trying do it all on our own with a newborn in tow? And if we don’t want to and perhaps shouldn’t, what is stopping us?


Maybe one thing – asking for help. It’s a hard thing to ask for. Maybe we don’t want to appear weak or put ourselves in a position of vulnerability. Others might think we aren’t coping or castigate us for being incapable.


But, in all honesty, how do these thoughts really help us or our baby? How beneficial is to us or our baby to do it all on our own? The saying ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ didn’t come into being without its reason. This is a proverb from African cultures that says ‘it takes an entire community of different people interacting with children in order for children to experience and grow in a safe environment’. It would be great if more indepth scientific studies were undertaken to show the benefits of shared support for both mother and baby outcomes. Studies of doula support have shown positive results for both mother and baby and anecdotally, we know that helping new mothers is a good thing.


More than not though, many women are raising children without much support.

How do we change this? Let’s break down the taboo of asking for help. Let’s change the dialogue to one where instead of feeling weak or incapable, a mother feels that by asking for help she is, in fact, asking for the best for herself and her family, knowing that it is not beneficial or enjoyable to raise a child without it. Let’s give new mothers the permission they need to reach out and the realisation that asking for help is, in fact, a positive action and will meet with a positive response.

I take this attitude and put it into practice so when a woman rings me to ask for postnatal support, I say to her with positivity ‘it is so great you are reaching out’. She needs to hear it.


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

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