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!