Interview with a Postpartum Doula
So if you're reading my blog, by now you probably know all about birth doulas!
Did you know, however, that a postpartum doula was a thing? Don't worry if you didn't, it took me a while to learn it was a thing too.
Logically you could probably figure it out. 'Postpartum' meaning after birth, and 'doula' being a support person.
Wanna know more about what a postpartum doula does? From a postpartum doula herself?
Well have I got a treat for you!
Vicky did her postpartum doula training through CAPPA, the same organization that I did my labour doula training. We're both in a Facebook group for CAPPA trained doulas and that's where we connected.
I first contacted her back in January, as my client Nimira was looking for a postpartum doula to help after Rumi was born. The rest is history!
I thought, who better to interview for a post about postpartum doulas?
So without further ado, let's do this!
Postpartum Doula Interview
How did you discover that you wanted to be a doula?
As a youngster, I was very interested in pursuing a career that would allow me to work with pregnant women. I actually thought about becoming an Obstetrician. However, my science grades weren't high enough and I'm more of a people person. I completed a degree in the Arts and started working in a service environment where I could help others. It was around that time that I heard of doulas! I had started my own family by then and couldn't pursue the education and practical experience that I needed to complete my certification at that time. Now, many years later, my son is independent and I am creating a second career as a doula!
What are some of the duties expected of a postpartum doula?
Postpartum doulas certified with CAPPA are mandated to provide emotional, physical and practical support to the family. What that tends to look like in real life is providing a lot of breast-feeding support if the family is breast-feeding, fatigue relief - giving the grownups a chance to nap, answering questions about the new baby, and sometimes demonstrating how to do things like bathe the baby or tie a baby wrap.
Many new parents need help understanding what to do when baby is crying. I personally feel it's very important to keep a close eye on Mom to ensure that she is recovering emotionally and physically from the birth.
Moms and families need a lot of positive encouragement. It can all be overwhelming when a new baby comes home and it helps to let parents know that they are going to be able to manage. Not only will they manage, they are likely going to be fantastic parents because they have already started off on the right track by having a doula support them!
For how long do you assist families after you start working with them?
That depends on the family. Generally speaking postpartum support is for the first few weeks following birth. That gives families the time to settle into a bit of a routine and get comfortable with baby's feeding and sleeping needs. In some cases more support is needed because each family adapts to a new baby differently. A family may need more support if they have many children, or if they are a one-parent family and have little other family support.
Ultimately, I like to know when I have finished working with a family that everyone is doing well physically and emotionally and that I see a nice bond formed between everyone.
What's the best part about being a postpartum doula?
Watching families fall in love with their babies. :-)
What is your postpartum doula philosophy?
Having a new baby is usually both the most joyful thing a family will experience and the most stressful. As doulas, we help minimize the stress and encourage the joy.
I'd like to say a huge Thank You to Vicky for taking the time to educate everyone on postpartum doulas!
If you're in the Toronto area and are interested in hiring her as your postpartum doula you can email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org