When a baby is born, so is a mother, and the birth of a mother can be more intense than childbirth.
You are here because you believe birth is about making mums too. Our modern western culture (or lack thereof) simply does not addresses how to support Newborn Mothers through this major life transition, as a rite of passage.
No one acknowledged the deep and profound changes going on inside a Newborn Mother’s brain, let alone how we — as professionals — could support them through it.
The first 40 days after the birth of a child offer an essential and fleeting period of rest and recovery for the new mother. In traditional Chinese culture, zuo yuezi, a set period of "confinement," in which a woman remains at home focusing on healing and bonding with her baby, with the love and nurture of the women folk around her.
As modern mothers are pushed to prematurely "bounce back" after deliver¬ing their babies, and are often left alone to face the physical and emotional challenges of this new stage of their lives, the first forty days provide a lifeline-a source of connection, nourishment, and guidance
Nowadays, its more than likely that your mum, mum-in -law, sisters, friends and other support are working; or having a hard time dealing with their own family’s needs or just don't live close by to help. So then what…..you are left to navigate the post-partum, re-birth alone and in desperate need to some support.
A postpartum doula works with families in the post- partum period providing them with emotional, physical and informational support. A post-natal doula provides families with culturally appropriate emotional support to assist with the transitions of the postpartum period and having a new baby.
We chat to a wonderful human being, Post-Partum Doula, Emma Jane Neale of Early Days Doula Postpartum Support to explore exactly WHAT a post natal doula offers.
When I get asked what I do when meeting someone new, I always hesitate a little to think about how best to answer. The role of postpartum doula has quite a broad scope and differs in service from one household to the next. As much as I try to pre-empt how someone will understand or be able to appreciate what I do, I cannot always because the concept is just not well understood.
However, that does not mean it is a new concept. Many cultures have spent many, many generations caring for mothers in the particularly vulnerable time after childbirth. A period recognised for needing rest, limited distractions, and nourishing foods prepared for them. A knowledge and understanding of the care required was never written, but rather passed down along the maternal line.
Alongside this knowledge and understanding, was also an appreciation that new mums could simply not recover fully and risked depleted mental and physical health without adequate support in those early days and weeks after birth.
In our Western culture we seem to have all but lost that maternal knowledge. We have lost sight of the fact that by supporting new mums we, in turn, are ensuring the whole family is nurtured and thrives. In our fast-paced society, the pressure is on new mums to be everything to everyone without consideration of this sacred time and the needs of the mother.
So why don’t we put more effort into planning a comfortable transition for new mums? That time of huge change for a mum, whether a first timer or not. She has run the equivalent of a marathon, hormones are swinging back and forth trying to find their new equilibrium, her body is healing, her boobs are trying to make lots of milk, her sleep patterns have no routine, and her ‘baby brain’ now has the capacity of a sieve.
The reality is new mums are NOT capable of doing everything. Not without consequences anyway. We are seeing unacceptable rates of maternal suicide, breastfeeding ending well before intended, relationship stresses and mothers who are burnt out; running on coffee and red wine.
What is needed is caring support. In days gone by, this came in the form of mothers, grandmothers, aunties, sisters who cooked, cleaned, held baby so mum could bath or shower, someone to talk to…. and just be there. A stark contrast to today – mum is home alone while her partner is at work, friends are at work and engulfed in their own lives, family are overseas or interstate and Covid is preventing travel. Add to that, a barrage of social media posts from smiling mums who are knocking it out of the park doing #allthethings (which is mostly a façade) and a new mum can be left feeling very isolated, inadequate, and barely coping.
Imagine instead, the dishes never stacking up, freshly cooked nourishing meals were brought to you, a second set of hands was there to help with the baby, an experienced ear providing information, someone quietly reassuring you in your abilities, to give you a foot soak, a neck rub, make endless cuppas and healing soups, sweep the floor and change the sheets ….. that is just a fraction of the role of a postpartum doula; not taking over in any way, just simply providing the space for you to find your own rhythm and to get to know your baby.
Help can come in many forms, from getting those who know you to participate in a meal train, to grocery shopping online, to hiring a cleaner, a dog walker, a nanny for older siblings or simply arranging takeaway for dinner three nights a week. The point being, help IS required.
At the end of the conversation when I finish talking to someone new, I hope that this is the message I can convey. To me, the link between a supported new mum, healthy family relationships, and the follow on benefits to community and society is clear. Just because the baby has been born, doesn’t mean mum doesn’t need help and attention anymore. She does.
You can connect with Emma for support
Emma Jane Neale
Early Days Doula Postpartum Support
The wonderful Emma is offering the following 2 mini packages exclusively to all Floralia patients, who sign up by end of May 2021, irrespective of when they are due.
On offer for both is a free visit for the initial visit. I would come and do all the things I would normally do; cook food, do housework (change sheets, pack unpack dishwasher, sweep floor, water plants etc) give foot bath, or head massage etc etc, help out with baby settling, breastfeeding tips. This free visit is two hours. Client supplies all food.
If they wish to go ahead and book I would offer heavily discounted further 6 visit package (three hour duration each visit, I bring home-made stock for soups, biscuits, recipes for later use etc) for just $599
OR 12 visit package (three hour duration each visit, I bring home-made stock for soups, biscuits, recipes for later use, plus a little gift basket of teas, bath salts, locally made scented candles, and a gorgeous book When a baby is born so is a mother for just $1199.
Here are some of our favourite go-to books
The First Forty Days: The Essential Art of Nourishing the New Mother
By: Heng Ou, Amely Greeven, Marisa Belger
Newborn Mothers: When a Baby is Born, so is a Mother.
By: Julia Jones
For 40 weeks your body nourished your growing baby. During this time your precious bub was given first options on all available nutrition & mumma got the leftovers! During breastfeeding, things change - mumma gets first option on nutrients, bubba gets the leftovers! If the drain is too much, nutrients are mobilised out of mumma’s tissue, into circulation for breastmilk production. What's more, baby is growing bigger and their demand is increasing as they learn and absorb all they need to in the world outside THE protected environment of the uterus.