What is a Doula?
Whenever somebody asks, “What is a doula?”, I like to say that doulas are people who support others during times of transition. There are many types of doulas - postpartum doulas, birth doulas, death doulas, abortion doulas… The list goes on. No matter what type of work the doula specializes in though, they are always there to support their clients mentally, physically, and emotionally. Doulas cater their support depending on the needs of their client - as a doula client you are always getting individualized care. Many doulas have specialties as well. These specialities will be relevant to the type of doula. For example, as a postpartum doula, one of my specialties is meal prepping and home cooked food. Specialities can also be cultural or race and ethnicity based. As an example, I am a first generation Latina doula and can speak Spanish. Being a first-gen Latina gives me a better understanding of the cultural aspects of being Latino/Latinx, as well as what it’s like to be a woman of color in the US.
What is a postpartum Doula?
Postpartum doulas provide support to parents and families after bringing a newborn into the home. Although the postpartum period is considered the first six weeks after birth, doula support usually goes beyond that (because let’s be real, most parents need support for longer than six weeks!). It all depends on the parents’ needs. Postpartum doula support touches upon many areas - we are not nannies/babysitters, we are not therapists or doctors/pediatricians, we are not maids or chefs or social workers… but we do a little bit of all that! As postpartum doulas, we have specialized knowledge of what postpartum life is like (physically, mentally, and emotionally). Thus we are better able to anticipate your needs as parents. Some ways postpartum doulas help you at home include…
Helping with light chores like laundry, vacuuming/sweeping, cleaning up clutter, doing the dishes, taking out the trash.
Preparing simple meals and snacks.
Watching the newborn or other older children while giving parents a chance to sleep/rest, take a shower, or simply to give parents a chance to do something they enjoy.
Helping with pets (taking dogs on a walk, playing with pets).
Listening to parents vent, giving a hug when needed, or simply having a conversation together.
Postpartum doulas are there for you, the parents. We are also knowledgeable in newborn/infant behaviors, vaginal birth and cesarean birth after-care, breastfeeding/chestfeeding/bottle feeding, and more, so we can provide a little education when needed (and if wanted). If we are unable to provide assistance with something, or if something is outside of our scope, we have connections to reliable resources in town to refer you to (resources that have been vetted for actually being useful. These resources include things like postpartum/perinatal mental health specialists/therapists, lactation counselors/consultants/IBCLC, pediatricians, pelvic floor therapists, parent groups and other community events etc.).
Why hire a postpartum Doula?
The postpartum time period is truly unique. It is a time of transition and adjustment unlike any other. It doesn’t matter if it is your first child or your fifth, every experience is different. As a postpartum doula, our specialized knowledge in what postpartum life is like allows us to give you the support you actually need. We are there to help you get rest and sleep, to make sure you are fed and nourished, to give you a break from the demands of a newborn... We are observant to your needs.
Many people have friends and family close by and feel they won’t need a postpartum doula after giving birth or adopting. While your loved ones mean well, unfortunately they often do not know how or where to give proper support. I have heard time and time again of parents who thought they would be supported by their family and friends only to have these people come over to “hang out” and “see the baby” while exhausted parents are given the task of hosting (as if they didn’t have enough on their plates). Other times, family and friends will impose their opinions on childrearing and criticize your parenting technique , which only adds stress. And sometimes, the people in our lives simply do not have the time or flexibility to be supportive. Postpartum doulas, on the other hand, are specifically there to nurture you, the parent(s). We are there to make your transition into parenthood easier.
While all parents could benefit from a postpartum doula, I do believe some parents especially benefit from doula support. If any of the following describes your circumstances, I would highly recommend you consider reaching out to me or another postpartum doula near you:
You have just moved and are new in town (I serve Pima County, Tucson, and surrounding areas in Southern Arizona).
You lack social support or the social circles you do have are not appropriately supportive to you (they add stress to your life, they are busy, etc.).
You are a first time parent.
You or your partner have a history of depression, anxiety, OCD, or other mental health conditions.
You are a single parent (whether from divorce/separation, choosing to become pregnant as a single parent via IVF, sperm donation, etc).
If you would like to hire me as your postpartum doula, please contact me via the contact page, email (email@example.com), instagram (@soldoulatucson), or phone/text (305-301-1538). As mentioned before I serve Tucson, Pima County, and surrounding areas in Southern Arizona. I am open to discussing pricing if that is an issue (whether that means reduced cost, sliding fee scale, or trade of some sort).
If you are looking for a birth doula or would like a reference to other types of prenatal/postpartum support, please reach out to me! I have many contacts in the Tucson, Pima County, and Phoenix communities I can refer you to (these contacts have been vetted so I know they are reliable, inclusive, and will be supportive of your choices). A birth doula I would like to give a shout out to here is Kelsey of Hygge Birth Services. She and I met during a doula mentorship we attended together and have supported each other in our practices ever since. She can be contacted via email (firstname.lastname@example.org), instagram (https://www.instagram.com/hygge.birth.services/), or phone (602-899-5984).