do you need a doula

It's okay to take a time out.

The world feels really scary for so many people right now. The news, social media, they're reporting things that can be hard to read, especially when you have a new baby or are expecting to bring one into the world soon. When we are carrying a baby, if we're already parents, we all eventually have the realization that the world's children are our children. We uncover new depths of empathy. This can make the news very hard to watch. It's totally normal for new parents to experience grief and feelings of anxiety during times like these. 

It's okay to take a minute to just breathe. Find serenity and peace where you can. Please don't forget to take time for self care right now. It's okay to do that for yourself and for your baby. The world will be here when you get back.

Doula support for Burbank, Glendale, Pasadena and Los Angeles parents, helping with stress relief and support during your pregnancy. 

You have an all inclusive pass, new parents. It's okay.

I was horrified this morning when a business, one that supposedly helps and supports new families, posted this on social media:

“Just because you're a mom with little ones doesn't mean that it's OK to walk around with wrinkled clothes on being all frumpy looking…. Having children doesn't give you a "look like I just rolled out of bed pass."

Really?

How about, no. Thank you. 


It's no secret, we live in a culture that tries to make women, their bodies, their needs, and their lived experience, invisible.

I’ve lost track of how many magazine articles I’ve seen, lauding this celebrity parent or that for “getting their body back in just 6 weeks” or “being bikini ready after having a baby.”  The problem is, and anyone who has given birth to a baby will tell you this, is that you don’t, actually, get your pre-baby body back. Ever. Your body is irrevocably changed by the process of pregnancy and the forces of giving birth, whether that's vaginally or surgically. You might have plastic surgery, exercise the pounds away, and hide most of the external markers of motherhood, but your body, your mind, and your spirit are all, still, forever, changed. That means your life is forever changed. You shouldn’t have to hide that, and you shouldn’t have to feel ashamed of the changes. Yet our culture sets these unreal expectations up and berates new parents for not meeting them, all when they are at their most vulnerable.  

Getting comfortable with your post-baby body and your post-baby life is a big deal! 


As a birth and postpartum doula, a professional who works with new parents and young families, what I care about is this.  Has the person I'm talking to had something nourishing to eat yet, today? Are they getting any sleep (notice I don't say enough sleep, just any sleep) and are they getting any support from their family, friends and community? 

It's the first thing I ask them.  9 times out of 10, the answer is, “I grabbed half a stale bagel which I ate standing up over the sink/over my child’s head while they were nursing/on the way to work. I haven’t had more than 2 consecutive hours of sleep a night, my partner is working double shifts/overtime/7 days a week, my parents live 3000 miles away and had to go home last week, and I feel exhausted.”

The last thing you want, when you are stretched that thin, is for someone to give you a hard time over what you’re wearing or whether or not you managed to pull a brush through your hair.

Don’t let celebrity and pop culture gas-light you or shame you for your experience. Or parenting "experts" either! Believe me when I tell you, it IS a big change and it’s okay for your priorities to shift after you have kids. Practicing good self care is a challenge when you have children. Yes, it’s necessary and it is worth doing for yourself, but you get to define what that looks like and you get to define how that works for your family. And sometimes meeting those needs means asking for help, when you’re in over your head.


The very last person who should be judging you is the person you are paying to help you. 
 

New parents, parents of small children, I salute your yoga pants, your pj’s, your leggings. You have a pass to wear whatever the hell you want to wear, and I really only have one question for you. Well, two. Are you getting enough to eat? Did you get some sleep last night? 


How can I help? 

Whale Song or Whitesnake... You Lead, Let's Dance.

Not every doula likes patchouli on their pillows! 

Not every doula likes patchouli on their pillows! 

I recently read an article in the Washington Post and I loved it! I loved that with her doula's support,  she had an empowered, supported birth experience. That's the goal! 

But I am not that kind of doula and that's okay. We're a pretty diverse group of people with a wide range of philosophies regarding birth. 

If I'm your doula, I will not throw away your tv dinners unless you specifically say, "Get those tv dinners out of my fridge and into a dumpster."  If dietary changes are what you want, I will work with you as you find your way. And, if you want me to warm up some frozen macaroni and cheese, I'm going to do that without an extra helping of side-eye. It's your call. 

I also won't give you a vaccination book unless you ask for it, I'm sorry.  I trust you to explore that topic yourself, with your physician and your child's pediatrician and my plan as your doula is to respectfully support all the parenting choices you make for your family. 

Not every doula uses a boot camp approach when it comes to being a birth partner.

I focus on empowering you to direct your own experience. My goal is to help you find your own happy place in the process. You may need me to take a more assertive role for a minute. You may need me to back off an hour later because you found your rhythm. It's a dance. We're birth partners. I will play you the Hamilton soundtrack, whale songs, the nae nae song or even your old Whitesnake CDs during labor if you want them.

The right support at the right time can make a profound difference and what is needed is unique and different for every birth, every mother, every baby. 

We are vulnerable when we're pregnant and birthing, not to mention afterwards. Support is imperative and you deserve to have abundant support during your birthing year and beyond. But you get to say what that looks like for you.  You may not like patchouli. You may want a cheeseburger. You may not want to throw away the tv dinners. And that's ok. Meeting you where you are is the point. 

Whether patchouli pillows are involved or not, it's my wish that every birthing parent can feel national news happy with their birth experience and the supportive care that they receive from every member of their birth team.