A new baby is like the beginning of all things - wonder, hope, a dream of possibilities. - Eda J LeShan

When a family’s journey through the estimated forty weeks of pregnancy is imagined, it may look something like this: a positive pregnancy test, choosing a doctor or midwife, hearing the baby’s heartbeat for the first time, seeing the baby on the first ultrasound, writing a birth plan, hiring a doula, finding out the gender, preparing a nursery, pre-washing baby clothes, choosing a name, packing hospital bags, and weekly doctor’s appointments. All of these milestones lead to the end of the pregnancy when it is time to meet baby.

The introduction of a precious soul, born into a big and scary world, is the beginning of parenthood. Pregnancy and childbirth can be emotionally overwhelming experiences full of stress, sickness and tears, especially when unexpected or undesired circumstances may shift or change the prenatal choices and hopes. A strong support system can provide the positive strength and perspective to turn any situation into a beautiful and ultimately joyous experience.

When you’re a new parent, you just can’t live without a support system. Whether that is family, friends, or a postpartum doula. - January Harshe

A mother and father must be nurtured and supported by those around them, to provide them with the time and opportunity to nurture and bond with their new child. A postpartum doula is trained to provide non-medical and non-judgmental support without discrimination against any individual or family. Emotional and physical support are crucial to a mother and father after the birth of a child — the support may range from keeping up with the dishes or laundry, easy meal preparation, grocery shopping, an uninterrupted nap or shower, a few minutes alone together, bonding time through feeding or changing, listening to birth stories, taking a walk, giving a hug, or simply providing comforting words or a listening ear. A postpartum doula is not there to share opinions, but rather to provide the family with evidence-based research to develop a chosen parenting style that will highlight their strengths and strengthen their weaknesses.

A mother’s arms are made of tenderness and children sleep soundly in them. - Victor Hugo

Nurture, educate, assess and refer (DONA International Postpartum Doula Manual, Page 12). A postpartum doula must always be NEAR to the mother and baby to provide the best support possible. Situations may arise during the postpartum period that are outside of the doula’s scope of practice. A doula has an obligation to all clients to provide appropriate referrals — support groups, play groups, lactation specialists, parenting classes, pediatricians, or whatever best suites the family’s needs. From the moment a doula, heart in hand, enters a client’s home the observing and assessing begins — not only looking for ways to assist the baby and mother, but the family as a whole. A postpartum doula isn’t in attendance to simply whip everything into shape and leave, but rather to educate and support parents while they grow and discover the best care for their newborn. Through the doula nurturing the parents, the baby will be nurtured through the love and bonding provided by the mother and father.

A baby is born with a need to be loved - and never outgrows it. - Frank A. Clark

Many doulas consider the first twelve weeks postpartum as the fourth trimester. A baby is starting to learn how to live life outside the womb, and how to communicate needs. A doula can help educate the parents to notice and look for the baby’s signals and body language to help parents learn the language that babies speak. The work, effort, and love that parents provide to their baby starts at birth and should continue to grow and blossom throughout a lifetime. Babies need a parent’s time to simply be held and spoken to as they grow and mature. A doula can help by diffusing many of the crucial household tasks and stresses that occur on a daily basis, therefore providing a quiet environment for the parents to spend time loving on their children.

The littlest feet make the biggest footprints in our hearts. - Unknown

Ultimately, a postpartum doula’s goal is to empower and evoke confidence and love in the hearts of parents as they learn the best ways to nurture and support their new baby, older children, and each other — during a vulnerable chapter in life full of constant change, growth, and love.

Making the decision to have a child in momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside of your body. - Elizabeth Stone