More and more millennials are finding that hiring a postpartum doula is the right decision for them.
Becoming a parent is scary. Becoming a parent of twins? Twice the scary. A recent client was just in that situation. When Janna Wilson discovered she was having twins, her first thought was: “I need to get some help.” And she was right. While the babies were born without difficulty, one of the two was prone to colic; dealing with him alone a lot of the time, as her husband travels for work, would have wrecked her. She planned ahead and put in place the resources she needed to be the parent she wanted to be, from day one.
The latest generation of parents is more aware, more educated about parenting, mental health and more in tune to the idea that it’s okay to outsource. Whereas previous generations would have kept it all in the family, the younger set are open to seeking help from different sources.
After all, many young people don’t live anywhere near their families anymore. The idea of getting married and buying a house up the street from Mom and Dad is just not the way of the world.
The notion that you have failed as a parent if you can’t do it all yourself is going the way of the dodo bird too, replaced by the idea that help is good. This change in thinking has started to come about in part because of the way childbirth occurs in the US now. If you have a normal, relatively uncomplicated birth, you could be discharged the same day. This quick turn around doesn’t allow parents the time to adapt to their new reality before leaving the relative safety of the hospital. Safety in the sense that there are people around who have seen it and done and can provide sage advice in a time of sleeplessness and worry.
Feelings of isolation pave the way to postpartum depression and anxiety disorders. In study after study, it’s been proven that new mothers who are properly supported in the days and weeks after birth, have a much lower incidence of postpartum depression. If the new parents don’t have immediate family close by, they can quickly become very isolated with a squalling infant and so many questions and worries.
This is one area where the US and other countries should learn from the Netherlands. In Holland, all new mothers are assigned a ‘professional maternity nurse’, or kraamvergozer, in Dutch. This nurse is available for the first eight to ten days postpartum to help not only with the baby, but with mom’s recovery too. She performs similar services to a postpartum doula, covering everything from breastfeeding and bathing to household chores. The whole point however is to ensure that Mom gets some rest, is able to recover and is supported through those first difficult days.
Hiring a postpartum doula, the North American version of a kraamvergozer, can help take so much of that worry away. Along with getting some tasks done around the house and with baby, so parents can get some sleep, a doula can be a tremendous source of information and comfort. They have seen and done it too, so while they aren’t medical professionals, they can certainly make suggestions or share their past experiences.
Since many postpartum doulas have training in CPR, sleep training and breastfeeding support, they can be invaluable to get the new family started on the right path and into a schedule that works for them. If you have any questions about hiring a postpartum doula, as us. We’re here to help!