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”
- 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.
- 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.