In explaining what a postpartum doula does, I often hear one of two responses.
1) "You do what?" -- see my blog post here
2) "I wish I had known about you when I had my babies!".
[insert overused "hindsight is 20/20" cliche here]
But in all seriousness, here's the take-away message:
Experienced parents know the value of good help.
They know how much they can learn from someone who knows a lot about babies, postpartum care and new parent life.
They know how reassuring it is to have someone around in whom they can confide.
They know how their confidence is boosted by hearing someone say "You've got this!".
They know how restful naps can be when they know their baby is being looked after safely.
They know how they can focus on their baby by delegating household tasks to others.
They know the value of companionship, validation, education and support.
For expectant parents, you've likely spent a lot of time thinking about birth. Perhaps you've made a birth plan, gone to birthing classes, selected an OB or midwife, toured your hospital or birthing center or have made plans for a home birth. You've likely made registry or have thought about baby gear. But how much planning have you done for after the baby is born?
Do some research ahead of time. Find the names of local postpartum doulas and lactation consultants. Surround yourself with people who will support you during this vulnerable time. If you find you need support, you'll have it right at your fingertips.
Hindsight is often 20/20, but you can look forward with a clear vision too.