The Postpartum Series - Introduction
- written by Amy
Have you ever had something so necessary and precious to say, but the words fall flat? No matter how precise and descriptive you are, it’s simply not enough.
Well, friends, that’s where I was when I started this blog post.
When I sat down to write what postpartum/post-delivery doula support is all about, I stared blankly back at my computer screen longer than I care to admit. Creating a list highlighting the ways postpartum doulas support families isn’t enough. And frankly, since it’s different for every single client, spelling it out isn’t the best use of our time here together.
Our past, present and future clients deserve more. You deserve more. Jordan and I deserve more.
But. It’s. Still. So. Challenging.
Not because I don’t have stories I can share.
Not because there isn’t value in what I do.
Not because I’m not passionate about supporting new parents.
In fact, it’s the exact opposite.
You see, I’m obsessively protective about what I do as a Postpartum & Infant Care Doula. Jordan is too. Providing this level of support is the most intimate work both of us have ever done. Don’t get me wrong…birth is raw, profound and miraculous in obvious ways. We wholeheartedly LOVE supporting pregnant and laboring parents and that will never ever change.
But pregnancy/birth and postpartum, while related, are entirely different experiences.
Let's try an exercise...Imagine for a moment that pregnancy/birth and postpartum are people. What are their personalities like? What fires them up and fuels their soul? How do they interact with others?
I want you to meet P.B. the Extrovert (P.B. short for pregnancy/birth) - P.B. walks into a party and immediately commands the room. Everyone knows when P.B. arrives...they're kinda hard to miss! And of course, P.B. loves surrounding themselves with members of their squad because they go stir crazy without frequent human connection. They need their people, and for them, the more the merrier. Having a long list of friends and family to call and chat with at any given moment is a must. It means the world to them when so many people check in to see how they're doing, and they enjoy counting down the months, weeks and days until the grand finale. External sources of stimulation and interactions fill up P.B.'s cup.
Now let's meet P. the Introvert (P. short for postpartum)- P. is invited to the same party but declines the party invite. Don't get me wrong...P. wants to be invited because feeling included means everything. Nonetheless, they will absolutely turn down the offer. Being around large groups of people is draining and they crave their alone time constantly. Connecting with their partner, a family member or a close friend is all the human interaction P. needs for now. At some point, when things get hard, P. relies heavily on their internal dialog to help them process and work through everything. They’re extremely private. Often, they get a bad rap for being too intense, but this intensity is necessary for P. to survive, thrive and grow.
You see, from where I stand as a doula, pregnancy & birth and postpartum demand multiple levels of care. Pregnancy is more external while postpartum is more internal. Now can you see why Jordan and I are relentlessly protective of our work as Postpartum & Infant Care Doulas…
Because our P. friends need us to be!
While there are multiple variables and outcomes that accompany pregnancy and birth, there’s a sense of finality in the physical act of birth that doesn't exist with postpartum. Birth is more concrete with a beginning, middle, and end. The postpartum period is an abstract and undefined amount of time that starts sometime after birth and lasts upwards of a year or more.
There isn’t an exact moment in time when we know for certain that the postpartum phase is behind us like we do in birth— the minute a baby is born. A postpartum story is continuously unfolding.
Birth doulas are quickly becoming mainstream here in the Midwest. In general, more people understand why parents choose to hire a doula for additional support during their pregnancy, labor, and delivery. Postpartum & infant care doula support isn’t as easily accepted and/or understood.
Well, guess what??? Indiana Birth & Parenting is here to change that starting next week!
Here's what we're going to do! I could break down what a typical postpartum shift looks like for me, Jordan and our clients, but that's not going to happen. Instead, over the next few months, Jordan and I going to take you along with us as we walk through the full spectrum and realities of the postpartum journey, starting with right before birth until…well, who knows?! The length of every person's postpartum era is different so there isn't a predictable ending.
Friends, we'll be diving into the deep end here so prepare yourselves. Nothing is off limits. We'll laugh. We'll cry. We'll grow. And we'll stretch far outside our comfort zone.
Are you ready for it?! Here's a little bit of what we’ll be incorporating in our weekly series:
What to expect before, during and after birth.
What’s happening to you physically, mentally and emotionally.
What’s happening with your baby.
What’s happening with your partner.
How to prepare to return to work.
Sex and Intimacy- yep, we're totally going there.
How friendships and relationships change for better or for worse.
How health and fitness can be a game-changer.
Feeding options for baby and everything that goes along with each one.
Why/when/how you or your loved ones can reach out for help.
The postpartum phase with an adoption.
...and so much more.
We’ll be blogging in real time, week to week as if we are following an actual family as they navigate through life before and after birth, bringing a baby home and the complexity that comes with all of it. Because safeguarding our clients’ is our #1 priority, we won’t be sharing an actual client’s journey with you. Those are their stories to tell, not ours.
Next week we’ll kick off our venture into the postpartum world by sharing some how-to-tips on ways to prep before baby arrives. Yes! Planning for the postpartum phase can be done ahead of time. We can’t wait to see you back here on Wednesday!