Before I’d ever heard of a postpartum doula, I had a baby. Now, the general consensus is that it’s hard work and that having someone to help you is a great thing. That’s where my thrill at an insurance benefit came in. My insurance actually covered eight hours of someone coming to help me. It sounded delightful!
So I have the baby. I get home. I flounder. I call and set up this visit from the insurance company. I learned that the service was broken into two four hour shifts and we would schedule them one at a time. It sounded like a good idea. I honestly had no idea what to expect.
We lived in a small two bedroom apartment. We had just had our first baby so there wasn’t a lot of toddler crap on the floor, but it was still messy. The dishes were in the sink. I was also avoiding the stove because I had tried to sterilize the pacifier in boiling water and forgotten it. My husband hung the results up for everyone to see on our door. (Maybe it was a warning?)
The day arrives and I’m thinking about a nap. Or a shower. Or both. There is a small knock on the door and I open to find the tiniest, frailest adult I have ever seen. I wanted to gently pick her up and put her down on something soft. She told me that she loved coming to help new moms. She was 75 and her grandkids lived far away.
There was no way that I could leave my baby with this frail person. My flailing baby might break her. Or fall. Or goodness knew what. I also couldn’t ask her to wash dishes or cook and she didn’t offer to do anything. I had no clue what we should be doing, it was my first baby. So for four hours we talked, when I would have rather slept. I had her iron my table cloth because I couldn’t think of anything else and she didn’t suggest it. Let’s just say I didn’t use my other four hours of the service.
Flash forward several years and a certified postpartum doula later and I had a very different experience. I’d sit down to breastfeed and a snack would appear with some water. We barely spoke unless I asked a question or she was offering to help, and by that I mean read my mind. Before she left that first day, I had a load of clean laundry folded, lunch, a snack, dinner ready, and a shower. I didn’t even have to change diapers for a few hours. Needless to say, the training and professionalism made all the difference in the world. So here’s to all the postpartum doulas in the world! Thank you!