I admit, the Royal Family fascinates me!  According to Life & Style Weekly, Kate is expecting baby #3 with Prince William.  If it's true, congratulations to the growing family!

Like many of us regular non-royal moms, Kate has had rough pregnancies dealing with hyperemesis and bed-rest.  I was sick through the entire duration of pregnancy #2.  It was horrible.

However, Kate is a future Queen.  She is provided unending support by nannies, midwives, Ladies Maids and chefs...(ahhhh Downton Abbey season 6 starts soon in the US!)   

While I may be Queen of my Castle here in Morganville NJ, the staffing is sadly inadequate. If this was a Vlog, I would pan the camera.  You would see, my maid sucks and the chef did not show up again today.

So how can we get the royal treatment for our pregnancy and early days after the baby arrives?  Here are my 3 quick suggestions:

1.  Plan ahead for time to rest.  Kate has planners and schedulers whose sole purpose is to plan her day.  I have my datebook.  It's sad we have to plan to rest, but we do, so learn to use the crock-pot, follow-our Menu Monday Blog and sign-up any older kids you have for some activity that takes them out of your space for an hour or two.  We all benefit from some child-free time and they benefit from some mommy-free time.

2.  Surround yourself with people who are positive support.  A good friend who just agrees because she know it's what you need to hear, and then gently nudges you in the better direction.  ie:  Me:  I am going to eat this entire box of Ghirardelli chocolates and follow them with a bottle of wine! Friend: Sounds AWESOME!  How about I take you for a milkshake and a pedi instead?

3.  Plan for "after birth support".  If you can afford a nanny, hire one.  If not, this is the time to put some cash aside for a postpartum doula.  Kate has them, we should all have them.  A Postpartum Doula comes to you and does all the things that Kate's staff does for her. She helps mom with self-care, she helps care for baby, she helps you spend time with older siblings, she makes sure you are eating and showering, she listens to you and makes sure you are healthy in body and mind!  She gets it.

Most importantly she treats you like a queen.  

Not in the creepy "smoking in the alley complaining about uppity nonsense" way.  In the "I will listen and support you without judgement" way.  It's time we all got treated like Kate.  
It takes a special kind of person with a great deal of patience and compassion and training to support a new mother.  And we have plenty of them!

Call us now at 732-754-9551 to see how we can treat you like a Royal.

Found this on social media today!  I could seriously watch him do this all day.  Thanks for the tip Dr. Bob....whoever you are.
And now we are seeing the follow-up videos.  From NJ 101.5 FM radio personality Jeff Deminski....OMG it works!
DoulaJill on Location - A visit to Peekslkill and conversation about certifying processes between doula organizations leads to a great video with the fabulous Debbie Aglietti!
First episode in our new video series "DoulaJill Dillner On Location".  Thanks to the Rock and Roll Doula Randy Patterson for being my first interviewee!
Since April is National Poetry Month, I’ve decided to share a poem for my first blog entry. Trying to tune into our inner wisdom and creativity is so difficult with little ones around, but the more we listen for that voice the more we will begin to hear it. This poem is dedicated to all the moms and moms-to-be out there who wish they had a bit more time to themselves.

A Poem for Mothers During Naptime

When the brain’s so full it’s empty
the clarity comes.

Thoughts tumbling like marbles from
overwhelmed hands,
landing on the sticky kitchen floor
and rolling under the table.
You crouch to save them
and notice the cracker crumbs
and dried puddles of watermelon
and then you consider cleaning the floor
but, no, it will take too long
and there’s too many
dishes in the sink.

So you might as well
fold that load of still damp towels
and maybe even take a quick nap
before the kid wakes up.

But the bed’s made and you don’t want to mess it
so you make a quick cup of coffee instead
and sort through the pile of magazines accumulating on top of the toilet,
tossing the old ones in the recycle bin, which is so full you need to empty it in the can outside.

And when you return to the kitchen and sit down with pen and paper and coffee
to write down that wisdom that struck you just minutes ago,
the dryer buzzes and you hear the short footsteps coming from down the hall.

It’s all so clear.

(K. Lauricella)

PictureDoulaTzipi's husband and their baby
Hindsight is always 20/20, right?

I am one year postpartum with our first child.  Looking back, here is what I realized.

My Husband Should Have Had A Postpartum Doula.

My husband undoubtedly has the most intimate connection with me and our baby. He has been my primary support, my champion and my co-parent. He is the person who got up with me in the middle of the night and brought me the baby to nurse. This is the person who ordered take out when I was too wiped out to prepare dinner. This is the person who I called at work, asking him to pick up “insert various items here”  on the way home.

Partners have an important job post-partum. Caring for mom and baby, but they also need bonding and self-care.  This person is adjusting to new parenthood too!

He got lost in the shuffle.

The non-birthing partner gets lost in the frenzy of newborn-hood. People ask about the state of the new mother and baby.  People joke about how tired everyone must be and poke fun at “daddy diaper duty”, but who is actually asking how our partner is holding up?

So here you are on this beautiful and challenging journey together, and the person who you turn to for EVERYTHING is also exhausted and may be even less grounded than you. It doesn’t mean that they are any less of a rock, it just means that they need support too.

Family and Friends Help For Awhile

Some people are blessed with friends and family that organize themselves as a meal train for you postpartum. They stop by laden with casseroles. These people are awesome, but eventually, they stop bringing casseroles.

I don’t know about you but I am not good at asking people I know for help. I will take whatever you offer me, but I wasn’t comfortable asking guests in my home to help me set up a sitz bath. I seriously felt like I had to hand the baby to every guest that walked in the door when what I really wanted was to hold her and watch Netflix.

Also remember that not everyone is willing (or will think to offer) to fold your laundry, help you set up nursing stations around the home with water, snacks and reading material, or even look at that clot you passed to help you determine if you should call the OB. There are limits.

Google and Facebook don’t actually have all of the answers

There’s nothing that you can’t find out from the internet these days. Thankfully we have amazing networks on Facebook where we can ask questions to other moms who have been there and if they don’t have the answers there is always Google. Just a sampling of some of the things that I Googled as a new mom

“What does normal breastfed baby poop look like?”
“How do I know that my baby is getting enough milk?”
“How to fold a cloth diaper.”
“How to swaddle a baby.”
“Why does my baby sleep all day and stay up all night?”
“Complete dinner meals in ten minutes or less”

Most of the time I got answers, but sometimes I didn’t feel confident in what I found and would end up Googling things ad nauseum in different combinations until I just gave up. A post-partum doula would have provided me with resources and information on the spot. My husband would have definitely preferred that over obsessive late night googling.

A really good doula will have local connections to professionals that work outside of her scope of practice. She should know a Certified Lactation Consultant that can come to your home on short notice. Answers from real life pros are always better than what you find on Google because the answers are personalized.

A Post-Partum Doula is an Investment in Your Family

If I could give one thing to each new mother it wouldn’t be a wipes warmer or a baby wrap or even a gift certificate for a massage. It would be a post-partum doula. A post-partum doula is an investment in parenthood. It is an investment in the health of the new family. A post-partum doula is a critical part of the family support system.

A good doula will help the non-birthing partner feel bonded to mom and baby.Your post-partum doula is a trained professional. She will provide unwavering and unbiased support to you and your partner as you adjust to parenthood. She brings knowledge and experience into your home to help you make parenting choices that you feel confident in. She is definitely not there to tell you how to take care of your baby, she is there to help you build a foundation for your growing family. She is an investment. Her experience in breastfeeding, infant care and calming, sibling integration and promoting self-care for the post-partum family will be an available resource to you as long as you employ her. She will make sure that you feel confident in your abilities as a parent and when she leaves your family, you will feel connected, strong and prepared.

3 thoughts on “My Husband Should Have Had A Postpartum Doula”
  1. Angela on March 20, 2015 at 1:31 am said:
    Very well written! I wish I had known about postpartum doulas years ago when my family would have benefited from the professional assistance. This is definitely more valuable than wipe warmers, or 15+ receiving blankets.

  2. Emily Merrell on May 5, 2015 at 6:58 pm said:
    Wow, I feel exactly the same way. A lot of people think that Google has all of the answers, but that isn’t always the case. Sometimes you have to get a little bit of extra training in order to care for a newborn baby. Thanks for posting this information.

    • DoulaJill on May 5, 2015 at 7:07 pm said:
      Thanks Emily. Postpartum doulas can alleviate so much anxiety and uncertainty. I hope more families make budgeting for postpartum care a priority.

PictureDoulaRenee and her beautiful babe!
My husband and I had our first son in September 2005 in a small hospital in Massachusetts.  With his birth also came postpartum depression.  I was finally able to admit that I felt awful, scared, stressed, and very lonely about four months after he was born.  My recovery took multiple therapists, prescription anti-depressants and relocation back to New Jersey where most of our family lived.   I spent over two years digging myself out of that fog.

I wanted to find anything I could to avoid that demon again.  In the course of raising our first child, and coming out of the depression, I became a birth doula.  I learned so much about pregnancy, birth and the postpartum time that I was able to prepare myself against the possibility of having the depression return.  When we decided to have another child, six years later, the fear of the depression returning was difficult to bear.  However this time I was going in prepared with new tools; and a different perspective on pregnancy, birth, and postpartum care.

When I became pregnant with my second child, I found the Midwives of New Jersey of Hackettstown NJ.  I chose them because I wanted a home birth and they were able to help me accomplish that wish.

In my prenatal visits to the midwives, I told them about my previous postpartum depression.  One of the midwives suggested placenta encapsulation. My first reaction was “ICK!”, followed quickly by curiosity and wonder.  I immediately beganresearching the benefits, found a Placenta Encapsulation Specialist (PES) close enough to my home, and decided that this would be the best thing for me.

Our second son was born in December 2011 and the fear of depression was strong and heavy in my head from the moment my water broke.  I contacted my PES the morning after he was born and she had my placenta pills delivered to me within 72 hours after the birth.  I began taking them immediately and quickly felt a difference in my state of mind.

Our new baby began to develop eczema serious enough to crack and bleed.  We learned it was due to food allergies.  He also wouldn’t sleep!  He didn’t sleep through the night until past two years of age.  He still does this occasionally at the age of 3! Mommy and Daddy were not getting much sleep.  If this baby had been my first, we would not have had any more children.

The placenta pills were my life saver and sanity keeper during those first few months.  Even though I wasn’t getting enough sleep, I was able to function and take care of myself and my family.  I truly believe if I hadn’t taken those placenta pills, I may have been committed in the first few months postpartum.  The difficulties that we went through trying to figure out his issues, (colic, silent reflux, multiple and severe food allergies, severe eczema) how to cope with them, and how to help him overcome them, should have sent me into depression. My family would be in a much different place right now, had I not taken advantage of the amazing organ that my body made for my baby.

The reason I wanted to have my placenta encapsulated was based solely on the fear of going through postpartum depression again. The rewards I got were that and so much more!  The amazing benefits that I experienced from placentophagy included improved mood, I felt no familiar signs of depression creeping back in.

I also saw a huge difference in my milk supply.  With my first son, he never seemed to be satisfied and I was never able to pump more than 2 ounces.  This time around, whew! What a difference!  I was able to pump an average of 5 ounces, and my son would actually pull off my breast because of what may have been over supply.

I had increased energy, shortened lochia, accelerated uterine recovery, weight loss, and a quicker return to well-being.  I did have one dose give me jitters and one dose gave me heartburn.  I only had those two days of discomfort, out of the two months that I took the pills.

In the middle of my sons first year, the woman who encapsulated my placenta offered a course to teach other women how to do the amazing work of Placenta Encapsulation. I jumped in and took the course.  Now I am pleased to be able to offer this gift to other moms.  I also have begun to offer classes to teach the process of encapsulation through Wise Birth Choices.

I hope that the practice of placentophagy increases, and that new mothers begin to realize that we have within us the power to heal ourselves.   All the nutrients and vitamins and minerals and hormones that went in to building and growing a beautiful baby should be given back to us! The one responsible for making it.

Women – we can give that gift back to ourselves!