Intended Parents and Postpartum Doulas: A Perfect Match
When most people think about postpartum doulas, they think about women supporting women after childbirth and through the 4th trimester or first 3 months of a baby’s life. In fact, a postpartum doula , by definition, is a professionally trained support person who provides care to new parents and babies in the days, weeks or months after childbirth, or the addition of a baby. Nothing in this statement specifically says “a postpartum doula only supports birthing women”.
Often confused with a nanny or baby nurse, postpartum doulas provide a more comprehensive approach to the care of new parents with babies by supporting the whole family instead of primarily caring for the baby. The term “new parents” does not imply “birthing parents”; instead, this term applies just as readily to intended or adoptive parents as well.
Intended parents are just as prone to sleep deprivation with a newborn, struggles with adjusting to life with a new baby, and the emotional hurdles that come with new parenthood. Intended parents are also prone to postpartum depression due to exhaustion, predisposition to depression, or the day to day stress and pressure of being a new parent..
A 2014 article in The Atlantic states and further discusses:
Research shows “postpartum” or early parenthood depression occurring in all kinds of parents—biological, nonbiological, adoptive, gay, or straight.
Often far away from their “village” of family and friends, international intended parents may experience isolation, adding another layer of stress.
So why would a postpartum doula be the perfect match for intended parents during the first few weeks or months after their baby is born?
Simply put, the postpartum doula still provides physical, emotional and educational support. Here’s how:
Physical Support: Postpartum doulas provide physical support to intended parents by providing them comfortable places to feed their baby or rest. They offer respite so intended parents can take care of their basic needs: shower, sleep, and eat. They provide the intended parent the ability to get outside or take care of their physical health as they see fit. Navigating air travel or other types of transportation can be tricky so, physical support may include traveling with the new parent and their baby…..or babies!
Emotional Support: Postpartum doulas provide emotional support to intended parents in all of the same ways as are offered in more traditional families. By offering a listening ear and being non-judgmental in their support, postpartum doulas can ease the minds of intended parents and support them as they find their footing as new parents in those early days. A doula wipes the teary eye, hears the frustrations, and offers the shoulder to lean on……and then helps each new parent develop a sense of confidence in their ability. Emotional support can look like a postpartum doula living with the new parents for the first couple of days, helping them cross the threshold to parenthood with around the clock support.
Educational Support: Just as a postpartum doula offers educational support to birthing parents, so do they offer the same extensive knowledge and resources and experience to intended parents. Educational support may come in the form of a personalized Newborn Care Class or even video calls to review the nursery set-up or purchasing of baby supplies. Once the baby has arrived, a doula can demonstrate baby care and special doula tricks for soothing a crying baby in the privacy of an Air B&B, hotel or home. Answering questions on the fly or helping new parents find the answer is a postpartum doula specialty.
Intended parents can add these services to their baby gift registry or receive gift certificates for postpartum doula support services, like those offered by Family Tree Doula Services, as a shower gift, too.
So….really….postpartum doulas are for ALL new parents who have just welcomed (or are about to welcome) a sweet, little baby.
Family Tree Doula Services is a postpartum doula agency serving Portland, Oregon and the surrounding area. Our team of professional postpartum doulas provides in-home, daytime and overnight care for babies and parents. We provide care to birthing, adoptive and intended parents alike. Our postpartum doulas offer families unbiased, non-judgmentalI emotional, physical and educational support from the time a baby is born through their first year. Owner and Certified Postpartum Doula, Sheryl Cooksley, takes pride in providing exceptional customer service and a warm, friendly, “outside-of-the-box” approach to caring for Portland area families.