1. When she came over today, I had just gotten up after a long night with the baby. I was still in my pajamas, the dishes from dinner were still in the sink, and there was baby paraphernalia scattered all over the living room. I hadn't brushed my teeth yet, or eaten breakfast. She came in, but didn't judge the state of the house or me. After checking in with me about how the night had gone, she made some suggestions for how I could get more sleep while still meeting all of my baby's needs during the night. I hadn't thought of those things before--they seem so simple and obvious, but my sleep-deprived brain didn't think of them. She suggested things like having water and snacks by the bed so I don't have to go the kitchen when I'm thirsty or hungry in the middle of the night from nursing, and using the dimmest light possible when changing the baby's diaper so my sleep isn't further interrupted by turning the overhead lights on. So glad she's here!
2. She made me a delicious smoothie for breakfast, and brought it to me while I was nursing the baby, along with a huge glass of water. I didn't even have to ask, she just knew I'd be really thirsty. Then she washed all the dishes afterwards while I finished up nursing and changing the baby. Nursing has been going really well, and I know having her around during the first few days to watch me and the baby while we nursed really helped me learn how to breastfeed. It did not come naturally to me like I thought it would. At first I had no idea what to do, how to hold the baby, or how to get over my fear that nursing was going to hurt. I kept scrunching up my shoulders and holding my breath, which seemed to make the baby upset. She gave me some tips, and helped me realize that I could relax and trust the baby to know what to do. And you know what? It worked! The baby latched right on when I became more relaxed and stopped fidgeting so much. I wouldn't have the confidence I do with nursing if she hadn't been there to encourage me and to reassure me that I was doing it right in the beginning.
3. My husband came back from the grocery store a little while later. Our doula was changing a load of laundry and I had just gotten out of the shower. My husband was going to unpack the groceries and then do another chore, but the doula said, "It's such a nice day outside. How about you and your wife enjoy a few minutes on the back porch. I'll put the groceries away and if the baby wakes up, I'll bring her out to you. I know you haven't really gotten to hold her yet today and she misses you." It was SO NICE to just have a few minutes to just sit with him outside in the fresh air. A few minutes later, she brought our baby out, and he got a chance to get a few snuggles in before she wanted to nurse. I love watching him snuggle the baby. I feel like having our doula here is helping my husband and me stay connected as a couple while we both adjust to this new member of our family. Her presence and expertise helps us have more time to just be together with the baby instead of one of us always having to do some sort of task around the house. She's not a maid or anything, but she just knows what would be helpful, and she just does it. It sure is nice to have an extra pair of capable hands around for a few hours to help stay on top of everything. But our doula does so much more for us than just housework. She is helping us adjust to parenthood emotionally, too. I used to feel like I had to keep the house spotless, and have everything in my life perfectly planned out, but my doula keeps reminding me to adjust my expectations and that it really is ok to not have things perfect. It's not a sign of personal failure. That's going to be one of the hardest things for me to adjust to about motherhood, I think, but having a baby is definitely forcing me to grow. I'm still working on accepting these changes, but I'm so grateful my doula is here to help me. She keeps encouraging me, and I feel really supported, like it's all going to be ok. I don't know if I would be able to deal with all of this if it was just me and my husband trying to do it all ourselves.
4. While I napped with the baby, our doula washed and cut up the veggies that my husband brought home. When I woke up she showed me where they were in the fridge, some ready to eat for snacks and some ready to toss in the pan for dinner tonight. I definitely don't have the energy to stand around prepping food, so if we didn't have our doula here, I doubt I'd be eating many vegetables. She's also made little stock piles in the fridge and the cupboard of healthy food we can eat with just one hand so that we can still find something to eat when we're holding the baby. I'm healing faster and have more energy because of the way our doula takes care of us. My husband and I both look forward to the days she comes over and I know we're less stressed when she's here. I know her time with us will come to an end soon, but I feel so much more prepared as a parent because of her. I'd hire a postpartum doula again in a heart beat!
*These are just some examples of the ways I can help make your postpartum life easier and more joyful. Ready to learn more? Give me a call!