New mom of two, Utaukwa Allen, answers our questions and talks about the difference the unique program made in the early weeks of her daughter’s homecoming.
• Knowing the doula was caring for her baby throughout the night allowed the exhausted mom to get the rest she needed.
• The doula’s help with the baby opened up time for mom to give her active toddler the attention he needed.
• Help around the house and with meals proved invaluable.
[3 MIN READ]
There’s no other time for your family like the days and weeks that follow bringing home a new baby. You want to savor every moment but that can be difficult when what you really need is an extra pair of hands. And a nap.
In an earlier article
, we outlined a unique postpartum doula program that’s part of the Swedish comprehensive doula services,
and the first ever hospital-based program of its kind in the country. Our doulas are dedicated to making the early days of your baby’s life easier for everyone as they focus on delivering customized care, including:
• Guidance for breastfeeding, chestfeeding, bottle feeding and pumping
• Care for your baby during the night while you sleep
• Meal prep
• Laundry, dishwashing and light housekeeping
• Suggestions and education on baby care
But what does all that really mean? And how does it work?
Hear directly from a new mother of two, Utaukwa Allen, who recounts the experience, answers questions and explains the difference the program made in her daughter’s homecoming.
Q. What were the best parts about having a postpartum doula?
A. There were several. Having someone who knew what you needed as a mother of a newborn, sometimes before you even knew yourself. Learning new techniques for comforting and caring for a newborn from someone who genuinely cared for you and your child. Having an extra person to help with child rearing at a major transition point who was reliable, nurturing, honest and genuine. Having an organizational guru help keep your home organized, tidy and beautiful.
But beyond those things, she encouraged and helped give me a positive outlook. She told me, “You are beyond just the role of being a mother, you have a whole universe that brings meaning to your family and to yourself.”
Q. What were some of the specific things your postpartum doula did that were helpful and supportive to you?
A. First, I had to have a C-section and my postpartum doula really went out of her way to make sure I could heal properly. For example, one morning I was exhausted and my pulse had accelerated. My doula said, “Find your pace, your rhythm. It has been a busy week for you. You have support and you are doing awesome. Be kind with yourself.”
A lot of women like myself try to take on everything because there is a sense of pride, responsibility and sometimes joy in accomplishing things and feeling strength in that. So, it was great to have a doula who understood that about me and allowed me to find strength in healing and receiving help.
Secondly, I really appreciated the overnight stays where my postpartum doula took primary care of my newborn. I knew that my baby was being taken care of by a trustworthy, warm and generous person while I was able to rest and recover. I was able to get a full night’s rest, recharge and have renewed energy the next day to take care of my baby, very active toddler and myself.
Q. What was surprising to you about the postpartum period?
This was our second child and we didn’t realize how little free time or rest we would have with a highly active toddler and a newborn in our home. We certainly needed more help than with our first child but we hadn’t anticipated or planned for that.
What was great about our postpartum doula is that she understood a lot about navigating this new world of two children. Not only did she make our older son feel special and “seen” every time she came over, but she gave us the freedom we needed to spend one-on-one quality time with him while she diligently cared for our newborn.
She told me being a mother of two was, “new territory, but you have all the gifts within you already.”
Q. What would you tell someone who was undecided about whether to hire a postpartum doula?
Don’t think about it any longer! If you hire a postpartum doula it will be one of the best decisions you’ll ever make. Hiring a postpartum doula was one of the best investments I’ve ever made in myself and my family. Check your insurance and Health Savings Account coverage too—you may get help with the cost of services.
It was amazing how much our doula could anticipate our family’s needs and jump right in and help without any prompting. I highly recommend the Swedish doula program.
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About the Author
Whether you are seeking gynecological advice, need help navigating your way through the menopause stage of life or researching a recent breast cancer diagnosis, the Swedish Women's Health Team is committed to helping women find the information they need to live happy and healthy lives.
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