Give a Postpartum Doula as a Baby Gift!
Put a Postpartum Doula on Your Baby Registry
Birth is a moment. Postpartum is forever. Over the last few years, I’ve been sharing this phrase with families I work with. We do so much planning for the baby; we create Pinterest-inspired nurseries, research the best breast pumps, find the cutest clothes and stimulating toys, and that’s before labor starts!
When I began my career as a birth doula 7 years ago, I worked hard with my clients on creating a birth plan, learning coping mechanisms and teaching them how to advocate for themselves in birth. Over time, I came to understand that we cannot plan for birth. It just happens (I do believe we can prepare for all birth outcomes through education). Yet, for many people when we plan only for labor, when they’re sent home from the hospital or the midwives leave after a home birth, they’re left with a baby and sometimes only a vague idea of what to do next. This feeling can be incredibly overwhelming for a lot of new parents.
As a society, we do a disservice to new parents by focusing more on the baby and not on the person who just gave birth. We tell women to create birth plans, but don’t prepare them for what happens after they give birth. Thankfully, there is a growing movement of families hiring postpartum doulas to assist in the 4th Trimester--the three months after birth.
As a postpartum doula, our work begins before the baby even arrives. I help clients with logistical things like meal planning and preparation, help with hiring a lactation consultant, and help families identify the family and friends in their life that will be the best to support them postpartum. We also spend a considerable amount of time talking about the adjustment to parenthood and the shift in identity that comes along with that. I give my family space to consider this loss of identity and in some cases encourage them to mourn and celebrate their lives as they know it because after-baby life is never the same.
After the baby arrives, I spend time talking and processing with new mothers and birthing people about their birth experiences. I also help with newborn care and help them understand newborn cues. In addition to this (and more), I do more practical things like bringing warm meals, helping with laundry and dishes, and giving space for new parents to get some sleep. Who doesn’t need this?!
So, if you’re creating a registry for your baby, I would suggest adding a postpartum doula fund to it. There is a doula for every family and budget. You can hire a postpartum doula for one visit or for your entire 4th trimester. You don’t have to do it alone. Get the support you need!
Hi there! My name is Erika Davis. I’m a birth and postpartum doula, childbirth educator and prenatal and postpartum yoga instructor. I live and work in Tacoma and see clients in South King and all of Pierce County. I’ve been a client of Stephanie’s for almost 5 years and am honored she asked me to write this short piece about the importance of doula support.
You can find me online at wholebodypregnancy.com (after 2020) and @_wholebodypregnancy_ on Instagram