How is Postpartum Doula Care Different From Friend & Family Help?

You might have heard of postpartum doulas and thought, “I’ve got family nearby and friends who will probably visit, so I don’t have the need.”

It’s true that relatives and friends are tremendous assets to the postpartum support network. But here’s the thing: sometimes we may feel obligated to entertain or host guests who arrive in the postpartum weeks, even with the visitor’s good intention to help with everyday functions.

Also, we may feel more self-conscious around people we know well, as their opinions matter to us and reacting in an unpopular way might have lasting consequences.

Then of course, the logistics: it may not be feasible for friends and family to be present when you need them most, and this is when a postpartum doula care fills in the gaps.

Many new parents have an individual or two in mind who nitpicks about the cleanliness of their home, comments on their appearance, questions their parenting choices, or shares privately discussed information with others. If at all possible, these people should not be given responsibilities within the impressionable postpartum healing space! Just say, “Thanks, but my postpartum doula has that covered. Let’s meet on neutral territory in about 40 days!” (Or something like that :-P).

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A few more reasons why hiring a postpartum doula can be a gift incomparable to the value of unpaid friend & family support:

  • For the especially lucky, friend and family helpers may at first show up in droves to help — but this enthusiasm is likely to wane as the days or weeks pass and the birth high fades. As a postpartum doula, it matters not when you need me. I will feel as enthusiastic to care for you & your baby on day 1 as on day 40 & beyond.
  • Friends/family often default to: “I’ll hold the baby so you can finish chores.” Contrarily, my approach is: “I’ll take care of chores so you can bond with baby.”
  • You are in control! You will have approved me to serve you in your home and I will listen to what YOU want.
  • I promptly take care of needed tasks as requested.
  • I know to approach the sacredness of your postpartum den with sensitivity.
  • I will only visit when we have scheduled a session. There is no feeling of obligation to invite me in, as may be the case with friend/family helpers; you decide when you want me to come and that is when to expect me.
  • I don’t anticipate being entertained or hosted.
  • You won’t hurt my feelings if you feel the need to shorten our visit.
  • My goal is to allow space and time for you to progress along your path of healing and reorganization of family life. This goal is not always the primary focus of friend/family helper’s visits.
  • I won’t give unsolicited advice in the absence of a problem (we will come to a mutual agreement about your education wants). I offer a safe space for asking questions and receiving answers as needed. Whether you follow this guidance is not my business, contrary to a friend/family helper who might feel entitled to know the outcome.
  • You don’t need to ‘put your best face forward.’
  • I offer my support without judgment & 100% shame-free.

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