We’re Throwing in the Towel and So Should You
Enough is enough.
We’ve decided to throw in the towel.
WE’RE JUST PLAIN DONE.
SERIOUSLY. Could 2020 be any more of a shitshow?
(Maybe we shouldn’t say that out loud since we still have 5 months to go.)
It seems like an eternity ago that life was orderly and tidy and we were going about our usual business.
When families could spend time together without worry, friends could visit and masks weren’t being worn during childbirth.
You know, when your postpartum doula could come into your home without fear of spreading this nasty virus to your household….or of carrying it home to theirs.
But those days of business as usual are over. That’s why we’re throwing in the towel…..and think you should, too.
Did you think we were closing our doors? Quitting? Absolutely NOT!
We’re throwing in the towel on fear.
Let’s face it. We’re a small business and it’s a scary time for a small business….or any business for that matter. We’ve decided to put OUR feelings of fear aside so we can support you as you navigate YOUR feelings of fear. Seriously, what we’re facing is NOTHING compared to the big heaping pile of fear that you must be feeling right now.
Samantha Meltzer-Brody, M.D., M.P.H., who is the chair of the department of psychiatry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the director of the Center for Women’s Mood Disorders, said,
“The natural vulnerability of this major life transition is exacerbated when you just have sort of global anxiety, and things like going to the grocery store to pick up diapers suddenly become a much more anxiety-producing event than it ever was before.”
So how do you throw in the towel on these very real and complicated fears? You fight them with your newfound inner “new parent” strength. The foundation of parenthood is flexibility and the ability to face difficult times and decisions head on. This pandemic threw that curveball at you early into parenthood and now, Mama and Papa bear are coming out of hybernation and protecting Baby bear. Reaching out for help, talking to your closest, trusted friend, family member or postpartum doula are not signs of weakness, rather, they are signs of courage and being human.
We’re throwing in the towel on isolation.
Oh, we’re still staying home and limiting our outings….doing our part. That doesn’t mean we have to FEEL isolated as we self-isolate.
Feelings of isolation are not uncommon for new parents as they spend the first few weeks with their new baby. This time of isolation is useful for you to adjust to your new baby and for your baby to bond with you while adapting to their new world outside of the womb, but so many parents are finding that these few sweet weeks are turning into months upon months and leading to unprecedented levels of isolation.
A recent article in The Conversation summed up the link between isolation and postpartum depression:
Adjusting to parenthood after delivery is challenging under normal circumstances, let alone in the midst of a global pandemic. Concerns about exposure to COVID-19, combined with physical distancing recommendations, can worsen depression and decrease access to the resources, such as health care and social supports, that women typically use to build resilience and promote recovery.
So how do you safely isolate in your home without feeling isolated and alone? Phone a friend. Gather your friends for a Zoom chat. Find some new (also feeling really isolated) moms with babies of the same age on the Peanut app. (FYI-we have clients who have used this app and LOVED it!) Join an online new parent group. Have a socially distanced driveway or parking lot gathering. Hire a postpartum doula.
So those are all of the ways YOU can throw in the towel on isolation, but how are WE kissing isolation goodbye? We’re back in our clients’ homes. We’re masking up, taking added precautions and cautiously leaving our bubble and entering yours. Being in your homes as postpartum doulas is what we love best. We can show you virtually (on a doll) how to soothe and swaddle and feed a baby, but nothing compares to demonstrating the same techniques on your real, live, crying, and squirming baby. You know what else happens while we’re in your home? We sit and have conversations….in our masks, 6 feet apart. That’s some valuable interaction right there.
We’re throwing in the towel on anger.
We’ve heard you’re angry about all sorts of things….and rightfully so. Angry that your mom can’t come to help. Angry that your baby shower got cancelled. Angry that your birth wasn’t the free-flowing experience you had hoped and dreamed for. Angry about this stupid pandemic and all of the complications it’s caused.
We’ve been angry, too. Angry about having to step away from families while they were knee-deep in our care, leaving them hanging with only a virtual video call lifeline. Angry that we’ve come within inches of having to walk away from a job we love more than anything because it was unsafe to be in your homes. Angry that we couldn’t give you the sleep, infant feeding and newborn care support that you deserved. Angry that virtual support was the only thing we could offer you for so long….and that it’s STILL the safest way for us to provide care to your family. Angry that we can’t provide the same coverage for your family as we practice one doula with one family. Angry about this stupid pandemic and all of the complications it’s caused.
Anger. Shmanger. No more wasting energy on anger. Just like fear, anger can suck the life right out of you.
“From birth, infants pick up on emotional cues from others. Even very young infants look to caregivers to determine how to react to a given situation,” says Jennifer E. Lansford, PhD, a professor with the Social Science Research Institute and the Center for Child and Family Policy at Duke University
As parents, and doulas, we’re pretty resilient. Putting anger in it’s place and finding some positives each day. Some things to be greateful for. We don’t want you to think we are just a bunch of angry, pouting doulas….just like you don’t want your baby thinking you’re an angry ogre all the time. Finding joy in everyday life…yes…even in the middle of a pandemic….can chase away the anger. Just as postpartum doulas can set an example for new parents in the care and relationship with their babies, new parents can set an example for their baby.