Lost in the Sea of New Motherhood: Why I Needed a Postpartum Doula
Once upon a time I was a brand new mother.
I returned home with my baby… a sweet, warm, perfect bundle of all my hopes and dreams.
Everyone I knew delighted right along with me. They offered to bring food for us and gifts for the baby. Offered to come hold her and to help.
Many of them did just that. We had a new visitor every day for the first month of her life. Our kitchen was overflowing with food, so much we couldn’t even finish it all. It was wonderful and exhausting to see this tiny piece of me be held in the arms of all these other pieces of me.
All of my friends wanted to come be “aunties” and “uncles.”
My siblings couldn’t wait to meet their niece, to introduce her to her cousins.
My mother wanted to come stay with me for ten days. Right when the baby was born. To sleep on my couch in my 250 sq ft. living room. To hold the baby. To “help.”
My mother-in-law called while we were still in the hospital, worried that she would miss out on various stages of my daughter’s life. She was not yet 24 hours old.
Loved ones wanted to help in their own way. Most of them in ways that benefitted them instead of me. Everyone has their own agenda.
And I was completely lost in the sea of new motherhood.
I didn’t need someone to stay in my house 24/7 to get to know the baby.
I needed someone who would come care for me and then give me space to breathe.
I didn’t need someone to bring me another casserole (though this was lovely).
I needed someone to scoop a portion onto a plate, heat it up, and bring it to me in my favorite spot on the couch.
I didn’t need someone to make me feel ashamed of my naked, leaking breasts in my own home.
I needed someone who wouldn’t bat an eye if I never quite made it to putting on a shirt that day.
I didn’t need someone to just hold the baby.
I needed someone to ask what would help me in that moment.
I didn’t need someone to ask how the baby was sleeping.
I needed someone to listen to my story of becoming this new version of myself.
I didn’t need someone to tell me how they raised their children.
I needed someone who trusted me to know how to raise my own, without judgement.
I didn’t need someone who saw me as a vessel to bring a baby into their life (through no fault of their own; it’s just how we’re wired it seems).
I needed someone who saw me… AS ME.
A powerful, tired being trying to raise a new life.
A mother, born herself the same day her baby came into this world.
A human with her own unique needs.
I didn’t need anyone with their own stake in the game of my life.
I needed a postpartum doula.