We've talked lately about our love for doulas, today we wanted to let you know about a special kind of doula.
In short: they are awesome!
In the USA, families tend to spend more time preparing for the birth and collecting baby items, that often our fourth trimester (as I like to refer to the postpartum period) gets forgotten. Looking back, did anyone talk to you about a postpartum plan? I'm not just talking about stocking the freezer and having plenty of diapers, but a real plan. Who's going to feed you, help with chores, and walk the dog? Do you have someone to get your older kids to and from school? You may be thinking we'll my partner can do x,y, and z, but who's going to be there for your partner? Who is going to give you an objective ear when you need to voice your concerns and feelings?
Taking care of your new baby is around the clock job, so is taking care of the new mother. One of our major concerns is the mental health of mothers, after all at no other time will a mother's mental health affect her child more than in the first year of life.
Enter one of the best and most valuable professionals you can hire. Your postpartum doula is an asset like no other.
In case you are not familiar, allow me to explain just what a postpartum doula does. I postpartum doula can help with baby care, ensure you get a shower, do light household chores, ensure you get some much needed sleep, and offer gentle encouragement in your early days as a new mother. Not only does having a trusted professional in the home make the adjustment smoother, it can really help with postpartum distress. Well trained professional doulas are knowledgeable about perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. They can see signs that you or your partner may not notice. They can be a trusted confidant when you have concerns about your mental health and can help you seek treatment when appropriate.
Some offer additional services that may interest you like belly binding or placenta arts. Even more helpful, many of the postpartum doulas in the Tampa Bay area are also well versed in breastfeeding support with a great number being Certified Lactation Counselors. Talk about the best new family support money can buy. Maybe you just had a baby and are realizing you need extra help. Perhaps you are experiencing a postpartum mood disorder and are beginning treatment. Go ahead and consult with a postpartum doula, sometimes they take clients who've already given birth. Having someone else who can remain objective while helping you take care of yourself may actually improve treatment outcomes and shorten the length of time it takes to recover.
Since we're celebrating World Doula Week, we thought it would be fun to highlight a couple of our highly recommended professionals working in the community.
Our friend and fellow seventh mom, Gaetane Joseph-Rhodd, owner of Seeds of Mommy Soul Birth Services is a postpartum doula and CLC working with Tampa families to improve the care for new moms. Here's a few words from Gaetane;
"After the birth of my son in 2008, I began to research other birthing options for women. His birth ended in an unnecessary cesarean and left me mourning the birth I deserved. The home birth of my daughter triggered a drive to provide other mothers with the support they need to have their desired birth. In 2015, I decided to focus my business on postpartum care. When a family finds out they are expecting, a lot of effort and attention is placed on their birth. Researching the best doctors, hire the best birth team, and finalizing your birth plan. The emphasis for postpartum support is not placed on the list of important aspects of pregnancy which can cause a difficult start to a family's parenting journey.
Postpartum care in this society isn't as sacred as it is in other cultures. For example, in Haitian culture a mother who has had a baby should remain in bed with baby. Her meals are in bed, she feeds her baby in bed, and is tucked in by the elder women in her family. Belly binding after her herbal baths are a traditional custom that helps with her postpartum progression. These customary traditions may not be for everyone but it's important to know that postpartum care is important for a woman's overall health. After the birth of your child, healing physically is not the only aspect of postpartum support. Knowing that your emotional and psychological health is also at its healthiest is one of the most important factors of postpartum care."
We wholeheartedly agree. Mom is taking care of baby, someone has got to take care of her. Which brings us to our pal Shary Lopez, founder of Mothercraft Postpartum Services.
Shary, is another great asset to any new mothers team. With lots breastfeeding experience and holistic postpartum care training, Shary brings a sense of love and honor to new mothers. A lost art in our culture today, Shary values the importance of the postpartum period and seeks to help families "...I noticed an extreme lack of community support for postpartum mothers. I am happy to mother new moms on their personal journeys in the fourth trimester."
Both of these amazing women are also DONA trained and have taken additional training in postpartum care and services. Not to mention they are both moms themselves and supporter of the seventh mom's mission to strengthen families struggling with perinatal distress disorders through community education, collaboration with medical professionals, and establishing a network of peer-to-peer support.
When you are interviewing perinatal professionals, feel free to ask them about their knowledge of maternal mental health. Ask about their training and experience, ask about their professional memberships and affiliations, even ask about postpartum books and blogs they might recommend. After all you wrote out the perfect birth plan, made those pretty affirmation cards, now it is time to write your postpartum plan too. If you're not certain about your postpartum care plan feel free to contact us, we'll be glad to help you prepare. We know many great professionals and are glad to connect you.
With Doula love and rainy day hugs,
Rebecca & Elizabeth
Each walk is different, but we walk together, and that makes all the