What is a Postnatal Doula and how could one help?
Having a postnatal doula can be absolutely life saving during the early weeks/months with a new baby. Most of us no longer have the tribe of mothers, grandmothers, sisters around to support us during a Babymoon (40 days of rest for the postpartum mama – being fed, held, supported in her recovery, and her journey of becoming a mama to her new little one).
A doula is an emotional and physical support. There are birth doulas (of which I am retired from now, after over 15 years) and there are postnatal / postpartum doulas, who are there for you when you have had the baby.
I have personally been there in the postnatal stage on 5 different occasions (twins make it 5+1!) and I cannot put enough emphasis on how we really need to plan for your emotional and physical recovery after birth. Whether this is baby number 1 or 5; whether you are on your own or married.
As your support, your wellbeing is my focus, and ideally we will have had a session prior to your birth to run through a Postpartum Plan.
Occasionally I get called in to cover last minute, and this is completely ok, I am a studious & fast learner of emotional and physical needs. However, my time fills up very quickly, so I cannot guarantee last minute plans (with the exception of not knowing when the baby will arrive, of course.)
Some frequently asked questions:
Do we need to meet before the baby is here? Ideally yes. We want to make sure that I am the right fit for your family’s needs. This is super relevant if you are forward planning. If you have already had your baby, then there is likely no headspace for that, so no… In that case, I will just quietly blend into your space with just the support that you need.
How do we meet beforehand? I have created a Mindful Postpartum Preparation session and this is an ideal way for us to meet and get to know each other better, and even if there is a reason for not booking with me, I will ensure that you have had the most useful preparation session. You will leave with a personalised plan in place (or at very least, the beginnings of it, a HypnoMothering recording for postnatal relaxation, and some new knowledge of what to be prepared for in the coming weeks/months.
Is there a minimum or maximum booking? Yes, due to my line of work, a lot of planning goes into time management, and so there are some time plans that need to be in place.
Daytime: There is a minimum of 2 hours booking, and maximum of 4 hours without a break. (Between 8am – 9pm)
Nights: Unfortunately, I no longer offer full overnight sessions, but will do part sessions to help you with some of the nighttime. I can help you from 9pm (up to 1am) or 5am to 8am.
How much do you charge?
Daytime: £30 per hour (between the hours of 8am – 9pm)
Late nights from 9pm onwards: £35 per hour (minimum of 2 hours, maximum of 4 hours)
Early mornings: £40 per hour for the early mornings (this is 5am – 8am minimum)
Prices. It is truly not my wish to price people out of the support that I wish that everyone could access. My prices are set at half of what my therapy prices are, to make it more accessible.
The unsociable hour rate is set as it is, as the knock-on effect is rather noticeable in the day going ahead.
If a family desperately would like a full night postpartum doula, then in exceptional circumstances this may be offered at a rate of £385 for 9pm – 8am.
Is there a maximum distance you will travel? Yes, I can only cover Harrogate and the surrounding villages.
(Milage at 45p per miles from HG2 0BU) Please ask if I can you if you are further afield, as it will depend on my current workload.
What do you do? Whatever it is that you need! I listen, I hold, I soothe babies, change nappies, hang up washing, I unload dishwashers, feed and nurture mum, support you during breastfeeding, or wash bottles… I do whatever it is that you need to feel held and supported.
Some describe a Doula as being a Family Doula, as they often feel like an extended member of the family, there to help, with no judgement or opinion on your choices as a family.
Ideally we will have already worked through your postpartum plan, and I will have learned what your priorities are.
Some people don’t feel human until they have been in the shower. For others, they want to feel a sense of normality by doing something they used to do.
I have been known to hold the baby in the bathroom as mama showers, when she has not wanted to be parted from her baby.
I have been known to rock and cuddle baby in a different room when mama wanted to eat a meal with two hands, undisturbed.
I have been known to clean the toilet and bathroom/change bed linen to help a recovering mum feel that she has a nicer space to clean and rest.
I have been known to sit for 4 hours, holding both mum and baby, holding space for her.
I have been known to accompany mama to the supermarket and unload once home, or for a stroll around a park to feel the fresh air and the sun on their skin (can’t promise the weather sadly!)
I have been known to hold, feed, rock the baby whilst mama has some very needed rest.
I have been known to entertain toddlers and older siblings whilst mama has some guilt free bonding time with baby.
I have been known to sit on the bed whilst mama feeds her baby and give her reassurance that she is doing just great.
I have been known to wish that every mama was able to have unconditional support.
Is there an age limit? No. Your baby may be fresh out of the womb, or it may be that your partner is returning to work. Even as a mama to teenagers, I could still do with a Postnatal Doula sometimes!