new mom, postpartum

Postpartum Doula Vs. Postpartum Depression – Do YOU Know the Difference?

I am a birth and postpartum doula. Usually, people have some idea what a birth doula or labor doula is. But a lot of people are not as clear on what a postpartum doula is. I get it all the time.

Acquaintance: “You’re a doula? Oh, that’s so cool! Don’t you just LOVE babies? Do you go to lots of births?”

Me: “Yes, I do births, but I also do lots of postpartum work.”

Acquaintance: “Oh… so like working with depressed people?”

Me: “Well, sometimes… but that’s not actually what ‘postpartum’ means…”

Oftentimes, people are confused because sometimes postpartum depression is simply referred to as “postpartum”. Like: “I had really bad postpartum after my son was born”.

But the word “Postpartum” actually just refers to the period immediately following childbirth. This word on it’s own does not signify a postpartum mood disorder such as Postpartum Anxiety or Postpartum Depression.

Don’t get me wrong, even when you aren’t dealing with a mood disorder, the postpartum period can be a very challenging, vulnerable, and emotional time! However, it is important to remember that Postpartum Depression is a medical condition that warrants a visit to your provider. A postpartum doula, on the other hand is an amazing asset that can be useful to ANYONE in the immediate postpartum period!

Fun fact: doulas ARE trained to help recognize the symptoms of postpartum mood disorders and will refer clients to their provider if it seems like the client might benefit from a medical assessment or some extra support. And we DO support clients dealing with these very real issues – just as we support any other client!

What my job as a postpartum doula looks like in a nutshell: I help new parents in any and every way they need it! My job includes (but is not limited to):

  • Supporting parents with feeding
  • Helping out with household chores
  • Caring for the baby (or babies) so parents can get some rest, shower, brush their teeth – all those little things that suddenly seem so hard when there’s someone crying at you the whole time!
  • Laundry, laundry, laundry
  • Working with parents to figure out all the complicated baby gear (breast pumps, swings, figuring out that bottle sanitizing routine, etc. etc.)
  • Emotional support
  • Sibling support
  • Overnight care
  • And SO much more!

I think I have the best job in the world. I never do the exact same thing twice. At every shift, I work with parents to figure out how they can best utilize me and we come up with a plan to meet their needs.

My favorite part of my job is the relieved and rested look on parents faces when I wake them up after a full night’s sleep when it is time for me to go home at the end of an overnight shift. A postpartum doula is an invaluable resource for anyone in the postpartum period, whether or not they are dealing with a postpartum mood disorder!

Learn more about our Postpartum Doula Services here!

 

Busy Mom, new mom, postpartum, Time-Saver, Working Mom

Busy Moms! Check Out This Amazing Time-Saver: Hannaford To Go.

Our family recently tried out a new amazing time-saver: Hannaford To Go. And here’s what happened: *angel choir singing*. It was awesome! Hannaford To Go is a grocery service offered at many local Hannaford locations where you order your groceries ahead, and pick them up at the store. It is an unbelievable blessing for busy moms. It saved me time (no going into the store!), money (no impulse buys!), and the headache of having to unstrap the kids from their carseats and tell them to stop complaining 38493247 times while we did our shopping. Literally the only down-side to this service is that you have to plan ahead (easier said than done…)

Here’s how it works:

1. Select your store.

You go online and select a store here. The Portsmouth Hannaford does not currently offer this service but it is worth the drive to another local store! As of today, can find it locally at: York Hannaford, 2 locations in Dover as well as Exeter Hannaford.

2. Pick a delivery time.

You do this waaaay up at the top of the page where it says “reserve a pick up”. Don’t forget to reserve a delivery time! Especially if you are shopping at a busy time (like Monday morning). You can reserve your time before you even start making a shopping list. Once you pick a time, you have 2 hours to finish your list and confirm.

I missed this step and by the time I finished making the list availability had moved from as early at 2pm to nothing until 7pm! It ended up being no big deal, because I scheduled my pick up time for the next day when I knew I’d be out in that area anyway. But if you have limited availability you will want to make sure you pick your time fairly early in order to ensure availability.

3. Shop for your groceries.

You can stop using the search function for specific items (“bananas”) or brands (“polar”). You can also browse different categories or departments here. Another option is to shop the weekly flyer where you can add items directly to your card by hovering over them. You can save things to your shopping list so that you can use them again next time or just add them to your cart.

For me, this was the hardest part. I had to plan out what I wanted to eat ahead of time. But I also think that doing this helped save our family money because I didn’t make any impulse buys. Plus, I love the fact that once you’d made an order, you can always go back to it and add those items to your future order. You only have to start from scratch once.

4. Place your order.

All you have to do is set up an account and confirm your order. You pay when you pick it up!

5. Pick it up!

I was also a little nervous about this part. I wasn’t sure what to expect or how long it would take. I was very pleasantly surprised about how easy a quick it was. I was out of there in under 5 minutes!

All you have to do is park in one of the designated “Hannaford To Go” spaces. Then, you dial the phone number posted on the sign. An employee comes out and informs you if they had to omit anything or make any substitutions on your order (there was 1 on mine out of $150 worth of groceries). Then, they take your payment and bring it inside the store for you. The employee processes your payment and returns to your car with your groceries and receipt. While you’re signing, they load everything up.

When I got home and unpacked the groceries, I was very happy. Everything looked really nice, fresh, and was exactly what I had selected. The produce was beautiful (they even gave me green bananas as I requested in my order). All in all the results were much better than if I had sent my husband to do the shopping (hehe… kidding… kind of…).

In conclusion, Hannaford to go is fast, simple, easy, and perfect for new moms with a sleeping baby in the car! I’m not sure why I was reluctant to try Hannaford To Go, but I am sure glad that I did! I have been converted to a loyal customer and will be recommending this service to all of my clients (no, this is not a sponsored post, I really just think it is amazing). I can’t tell you how many times I have arrived at the store (20 minutes from my house) only to abort the mission because I had a sleeping kiddo (or 2) in the car. Here’s to Hannaford To Go for helping me avoid this issue in the future, saving me time, money, and my sanity!

loneliness, new mom, postpartum

Be Brave: Ask For Help

I remember it like it was yesterday: my youngest was just a few weeks old. We were in the thick of it. Still getting to know each other, figuring out nursing through a haze of sleepless nights and painful latch. She wouldn’t sleep unless she was attached to me. My husband worked in Boston and was away from home over 14 hours a day. That meant I was alone and without help for over 14 hours a day.

We had no help.

Me and this tiny, angry creature I didn’t understand, and still didn’t quite feel belonged to me. Suffering from Postpartum Depression I didn’t want to admit was there, I was afraid to leave the house. We stayed home, together but alone, all day long. Help could have meant someone to help us figure out how to get out of the house or even suggest a call to the doctor about the depression.

We had no help.

Friends didn’t come by much. Most of my friends were like me, fresh out of college. Only they were off pursing graduate degrees or “taking some time off” or starting their career. People weren’t having babies yet. It was more comfortable for everyone to pretend that it wasn’t happening. I still feel this loneliness palpably as I write this post, years later. Help could have meant someone to talk to.

We had no help.

I didn’t know what I was doing. A lifelong student, I didn’t know how to take care of a home, let alone a home and a baby! I felt like I was drowning. The place was a mess, cleaning was out of the question when you couldn’t put the kid down! Dishes piled up all day long, although I didn’t often have time to feed myself. It’s hard to eat when you’re “stuck” holding that little baby, lest she wake up. Help could have meant someone to hold her so I could eat a few bites or even take a shower.

We had no help.

And you know what the worst part is? We could have! All I would have had to do is ask! When people came over or checked in to see how we were doing, they always asked if I needed them to pick anything up, or told me to let them know if I needed anything. And I always said NO! New moms are supposed to have it all together right? When someone asks how we’re doing, we’re supposed to smile and say “I’m well, thank you”. Well I am calling BS on that! I’m saying that the brave thing to do would have been to ASK FOR HELP.

Ask that friend to hold your baby so you can take a shower. Tell your visitor to bring you take out for lunch. Let your mother in law fold your laundry or your dad cook you dinner! Or even better, hire that postpartum doula! Needing help is not something that new moms should be ashamed of or feel like they have to hide! Asking for help during the postpartum period is brave, wise, and just plain smart!

At Portsmouth Birth Services, we are so proud and honored to be able to support new parents during the postpartum period. If you are planning for a smooth transition to becoming a parent, we would be honored to take this journey by your side! The best part is, once you hire us, you don’t even have to ASK. We’ll be there to help every step of the way, and that is something that is invaluable.

Who helped during your postpartum period? If you’re currently pregnant or TTC, who do you hope will be there to help?