When we hear the term “postpartum” we often associate it with postpartum depression. It is common that the first time we hear about postpartum anything is when someone is referencing their experience with postpartum difficulties, including depression and anxiety. It makes sense then, that when someone hears about a postpartum doula, they instantly assume the doula is present because the client has postpartum depression. The truth is, it is normally the opposite.
Postpartum refers to the time after a woman has a baby. The postpartum period, or 4th trimester as many say, is 6-8 weeks after birth. It is true that this time can bring on lots of difficulties for a woman; Hormonal changes, physical and emotional transformations, and feeding issues to name a few.
Some women decide to hire a postpartum doula to help them ease the transition into motherhood. As a postpartum doula for Paradise Coast Doulas, my clients are first time moms and moms that have multiple children. Their ages vary, as well as their backgrounds. Some get postpartum depression, and some do not. There is not a magic algorithm to determine who will have a difficult time in those first few weeks after having a baby. And when they do, that’s where we come in.
What does a postpartum doula do?
When we enter into a client’s home, it is likely we have been there before. Many couples decide before the birth of their child that they would like an expert set of hands to guide them through those first weeks and new challenges. Other times, we are called in at a desperate hour from an exhausted mother or father that just needs a hot meal and some sleep. The beautiful thing about what we do is that we meet you where you are, when you need us most. The first day may be us getting accustomed to your family dynamics, learning your home and your routines. This can overwhelm some, especially those that feel they need to entertain anyone that comes into their home. Rest assured that we are there for you. This is our job. In fact, one of my favorite things about my job as a postpartum doula is that I get to ‘mother the mother’.
We come into your life and learn about you. Your favorite snacks, how you met your partner, why you chose to name the baby after your great-uncle– we are genuinely interested in you. We help you figure out your priorities in those first few weeks. What do you need the most help with? Is breastfeeding going great and you only need help with the household duties? Gotcha! Do you have older children that need an extra hand during the day? We’ve got that too! Are you looking for simple Mom-life-hacks to make things so much easier? We can do that, too! It really all depends on what you need when we get there. From meal prep to breastfeeding or pumping help, and from grocery shopping to baby gear recommendations, and everything in between– we are there for what your family needs on that day. We can be the behind-the-scenes crew while you get to focus on what is most important: rest and relaxation with your newest family member!
But what about postpartum depression?
While experience has shown that women that have the access to support during the first few weeks after birth have a lower occurrence of postpartum depression and anxiety. We can’t exactly predict who will be affected, the severity, or how long it may last. But, we do have risk factors that we take into account. It is common that we are hired by someone who has a past with anxiety or depression and wants to keep the power in their hands by reducing possible triggers or recognizing early warning signs. Part of my job as your postpartum doula is to notice when things are outside of the scope of normal, and know where and how to get help when the situation is out of our hands. We have a wealth of professional connections in Naples and Fort Myers and we are confident when we need to direct our clients for outside help.
Now that you know that hiring a postpartum doula does not mean you have postpartum depression, we hope that you will take this information into consideration when planning your first few weeks as a new parent. Having that support in place can make a world of difference in the way you will view this transitional time for years to come. Even if your partner is able to be home with you, our postpartum doulas can be the perfect addition to your life in the 4th trimester. See the difference for yourself!