Postpartum doulas are so incredibly awesome.
That is not an exaggeration.
Unfortunately for me, this is one of those things I did not figure out until my fourth and final baby. I decided to hire a postpartum doula for a couple reasons. First, my husband could not take off as much time from work as we had hoped. We, like many American families, just couldn’t afford it. Second, this baby was arriving after the stillbirth of my son, and I wanted to make sure that I had plenty of emotional support for myself and my family. Finally, I was entering the land of three young children to care for. Having someone scheduled to be there to help didn’t sound like such a bad idea.
Honestly, I was unsure and thought maybe it was too indulgent. Wouldn’t I be able to handle all of it by myself?
I’m so glad I ignored those feelings and went with my gut.
Amanda Casey with Welcome Baby KC was highly recommended to me. But I really didn’t “get” what a postpartum doula would provide my family until after she started. And then it was like a beautiful blend of Mary Poppins, fairy godmother, and modern-but-sage woman had entered my home.
From her first day with us, Amanda was checking in with me: asking how things were going, how I was doing emotionally and physically, or asking if I had anything specific that I needed. Often, I didn’t know or couldn’t actually bring myself to ask for something, and then she would look around and just begin to help. Sometimes she would gently guide me into tending to my own self care or getting some rest. She had meals ready to go in the oven at dinner time. She folded laundry. She straightened up toys and wiped down the kitchen table. She helped me figure out the perfect wash routine for cloth diapers, researching based on my washing machine and sending me a document with every step and suggestion.
We had conversations about motherhood, birth, newborns, and just being a woman that I didn’t even know I needed. These conversation helped breathe life back into me some days. She had an impactful, kind presence in my home.
She made me mason jar salads with homemade dressing and energy bites that I couldn’t get enough of. She did science kits and math workbooks with my older children while I had some quiet time with my newborn. She taught me how to properly use my new baby carrier and gave me recommendations on others. It felt amazing just to know I had this sort of help. I’m sure many fellow mothers can relate, but asking for help is not easy for me, despite how often I’m told to ask. Knowing I had Amanda’s support, and that someone was thinking of me and my needs, was such a relief.
We arrived home from a children’s art class one day to find lunch already on the table, waiting for us. One day, she wore my baby in a carrier, worked on meal prep and laughed with my older children, all while I took a long, hot shower. She grocery shopped, and meal planned, and listened to music while she cooked.
I was able to vent, cry, and share frustrations and concerns without judgment.
On a morning when I woke up with a nasty cold, I could have had a very rough day with my new baby and active kids. But Amanda showed up, made everyone pancakes, and played with my big kids while I rested. Real rest, the kind most of us moms usually only dream about.
My husband often remarked that he could tell a positive difference in our home on the days when Amanda had been there.
Amanda’s presence was a HUGE comfort for me. Not only because I felt so much less alone in my experience, but also because there she was, actively working in my home to create a calm and peaceful atmosphere. She was a neutral party, without any judgment, baggage, or stress. I felt cared for and understood.
Friends and family, this part is for you. What if instead of cutesy but mostly unused baby items from Target, we gifted mothers with so many hours of care from a local postpartum doula? Not sure if you could swing that by yourself? Why not go in with a group of friends or family? This is a gift that makes a difference and contributes to the health, happiness, and mental well-being of a postpartum mom, which then contributes to the health, happiness, and mental well-being of an entire family. That’s a pretty amazing gift.
Let’s take this one step further. When considering your next charitable donation, what about donating to an organization that helps provide postpartum doulas to families who otherwise could not afford one?
Mamas, if you’re expecting, remember that postpartum matters.
You deserve a healthy and even happy postpartum experience.
As you make your postpartum plans, I cannot recommend a postpartum doula enough.