Doula Diaries: A Good Health Advocate
RB&B team member Heydi, shares some of her thoughts on the role and value of a doula. This is what she had to say!
"Advocate" is a strong and powerful word and it is sometimes just what a new mom needs to hear. She needs to know I am on her side, and concerned about her physical and mental health. What are her fears, or insecurities, and what brings her joy or peace?
I start my role as my clients' advocate by being an active listener. I listen and I listen some more and I reassure her by asking questions and rephrasing what she has shared. Not everyone is chatty but that’s when having a good supply of open ended questions is important. I ask the right questions to know how the new demands of motherhood are treating her as well as just to get to know her.
After I have listened and asked specific questions, I then continue by being an active supporter. By this, I look for ways to ease my clients fears and increase their peace. Does she thrive on order and staying organized? That can be hard to do with a new baby who is on his or her own schedule, but I can help her find and set a balance.
Does she thrive with having hot meals and creature comforts in those first few weeks? I can help prepare a few freezer meals, or do a kitchen clean up so she can use her energy towards making a family favorite.
Does she thrive on staying out ahead of needs? Then maybe I can hold the baby while she has a brainstorming and listmaking session in the quiet of her own room.
Is she simply lonely, and missing family or friends? I can offer a hug and a hand to hold.
As a postpartum doula I’m there to reassure my clients that while things may feel overwhelming now, in time they will settle and a new normal will form. However, if her thoughts or concerns are out of my range of encouragement I know who I can reach out to and that's really when I step into my role as her advocate. She knows I’m not there to help her alone; from day one I have built a team to support her well. I have available to me the numbers of those she trusts if I should need to reach out...her spouse or partner, a good friend, her parents. I am on her side and I am prepared with the proper resources.
A postpartum doula should be prepared to advocate for the health of each client; ready to do what needs to be done to ensure good mental and physical health, and the resources are readily available!"
Thank you for sharing your heart, Heydi!