There is something about a new baby that makes most of us want to shell out the big bucks. The makers of all the baby paraphernalia know this, and they market their products well. Our culture is very focused on material objects, and having all 'the right stuff.' In my opinion, we only NEED a few material things: clothing for the baby, diapers, a way to wear your baby, a car seat, and a safe place for baby to sleep. While a few other things are nice to have too (ex: a breast pump, swaddling blankets, burp cloths, etc), we are social animals going through the transformation into parenthood, and what we need is SUPPORT.
Support from friends, family, and doulas sets everyone up for success. We need people to really hear and see us, to know how we are doing. Having a baby is supposed to be joyous, a celebration for the entire community! The reality, however, is that far too many new moms are isolated at home with their infant(s), struggling to keep themselves and baby fed, clean and rested, AND keep up with all the other things that fill their lives with meaning. Sometimes our communities don't know HOW to support us, or even that we need support in this extra-ordinary time.
Lack of support can lead to weak bonds between mothers and babies; it can also lead to depression and anxiety, child abuse, and stress that overflows...affecting our entire society. I like to daydream about what our world would be like if everyone had support during pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. I think the world would be a radically better place if we were all honored as babies, our needs were met, and there was a whole network of support for our parents.
Enter the postpartum doula! She comes to your home a couple of times a week and gets your home in order; makes sure you are fed, hydrated, and have food easily accessible for the next couple of days; wears your baby while you rest/ shower/ go for a walk; helps you and baby learn the delicate dance of breastfeeding; listens to your story, hears your questions without judgement, and gives you evidence-based information so that you can make informed decisions. When she isn't there, you can call or text her when you have questions or need to talk. She supports your partner as s/he learns the ropes of a new role. She shares information on community resources - everything from massage to therapy to parent/baby activities- that would best support your family. She is the fairy godmother of support! Your friends and family far and wide don't need to buy you rattles, or more footed pjs (no matter how stinking cute they are) that will only fit for a month or two; they can contribute to SUPPORT!
You can put postpartum doula services on your baby registry (go to BabyList.com) or loved ones can get gift certificates for our services at laborwithlovedoulas.com.What is this service worth in dollars? A gazillion (that was my son's answer)! The postpartum period sets the stage for your child's life. Working with parents and babies is my heart's calling, and I see that the families I support are helping my daydream become reality.