Mothering the New Mother - postpartum doulas

Mothering the Mother after birth is important. I think moms have lost this touch in our day and age. We are expected to "perform" and "get up off our bed" and make supper and do normal things after giving birth to a baby. However, my first birth - I had a bad perineum tear, and I literally could not do much for the first 40 days after birth. I wanted more help. I did have a brief postpartum doula, but she really literally only washed my dishes!

There's a book titled "The First 40 days" by Heng Ou. It is a good read. If you are a mother reading this post, please consider buying this book to read about preparing for postpartum.

I decided that I had not found any book that talked about postpartum for mothers and I wanted to write such a book. So, I got out my computer and just did that!! The book title is "A Catholic Postpartum" this book is available on amazon and Lulu Press.com. By the way you don’t have to be Catholic to read this book – anyone can benefit. The book has a lot of good ideas in it from breastfeeding to postpartum depression, etc. I also have a postpartum planning chapter – that is really great. The Chapters my book “A Catholic Postpartum” help mothers find why 40 days is important, what first time breastfeeding/nursing is like, how to deal with emotions, etc. My friend Jada Glover added in a small article under the postpartum depression section - I am grateful for her contribution.

Also, have you thought about mothering other mothers? Become a doula! What's a doula? A doula helps mothers before, during, or after pregnancy. In this case a postpartum doula, works with mothers after the birth.

Why doula work is so important?

Well, being a doula means helping mothers!!

What does a postpartum doula do? Anyway?

* She can do laundry for the baby and mom

* She can cook a meal that will help feed mother (though it may include the family).

* She can help with pantry building and cleanout of old stuff.

* She can go grocery shopping for the family (finances will have to be arranged) or she can pick up an order already made.

*She can help with baby care while mom gets rest - this should be only for mom's rest time.

*She can train mom on baby care if she is ignorant on how to do things.

*She can help mom learn about breastfeeding - if she has issues - suggest a lactation specialist for her to go too. (Note: Some postpartum doulas go on to train and learn about breastfeeding more in depth).

Etc...lots more!!

So, hiring a postpartum doula is important to help mothers in their 6 weeks after birth time! (or longer!)

However, I have to stop and give thought to moms who need this help and are lower income - should not they be allowed to have a post-natal/postpartum doula as well? Yes, of course!! So, here are two ideas on offering services to lower income mothers:

1. Offer a sliding scale - you go by their income level and see what they can afford. Let's say they can afford $15 an hour - that's not bad and if you can get a friend or hubby to watch any of your kids for free - then you are still making a profit by serving mothers - or see if the mom doesn't mind a couple of kids coming over!

2. Partner with another organization - you say - I need this $25 an hour in order to make my ends meet - however, if you can sponsor this person, then it can work! So the organization would need to have some funds to offer to help pay your fee or something like that - I am sure there is someone out there who may want to help - it could be a non-profit group who wants to make a donation to someone, a hospital looking for extending things outside the regular realm, a church (not necessarily Catholic - could be Protestant) may sponsor you, etc. Reach out and see what you can get done that way.

3. Another idea - fundraisers to get this mother the postpartum doula services!

4. Another idea - offer a flat rate for helping the mother over a certain number of hours or days - this might work out better esp. if going by days. She may decide she doesn't need you on a certain day after all, then you still get paid (esp. if an organization is helping with the postpartum fees). So, think of a flat rate that is acceptable to you over number of days as an alternative way to get paid.

Anyway, so whether you do a sliding scale or not - how do you get trained to become a postpartum doula?

First of all there is Catholic Doula Program - their trainings are online - sometimes they have a live class or self-pace. Catholic Doula is actually offering a Fast-track postpartum doula course that is starting in October – and if you get in now – the class is at a good rate for a “live online” course. Many people charge more. Also, inquire if you are low income or woman of color – we offer discounts for that too. Go to: www.catholicdoula.com for general information. Fast-Track page: http://www.catholicdoula.com/fast-track.html

Postpartum doula specific page: http://www.catholicdoula.com/postpartum-doula.html

Finding the book "A Catholic Postpartum" - best version guaranteed is the LULUPress - go to www.lulupress.com and search for it by name or author name Julie Larsen.


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