A Day at Home with a Postpartum Doula
There was an article going around a few weeks ago called “A Day at Home with a Newborn”. Articles like these always inspire laughs in moms who understand what it’s like, but they make me sad and frustrated, because I want to reach into the computer and shout, “Hire a postpartum doula!!”
The author doesn’t get a chance to eat, shower, or do anything productive because the baby’s needs overwhelm her day. She ends up berating herself and feeling like a terrible mother. It seems like you’d need an army of nannies and housekeepers to stay on top of all of this, but really, all you need is a few hours with a doula.
So, I’ve written a response, outlining how it can be different. I call it “A Day at Home with a Doula”.
8 am – I don’t even get out of bed and try to shower, because I know my doula is coming at 9. God, these covers are cozy. The baby is making sounds so I pull her into my bed and we doze off, waking when the doorbell rings.
9 am – Hooray! She’s here! I let her in and fill her in on the night (WHY are babies so noisy when they’re asleep? I swear she fakes me out with the noises.) I hand the baby off to her and jump in the shower. Who knew hot water could feel so damn good? I wash my hair and even get to shave my legs – this is better than Club Med. I get dressed and come downstairs to find a plate of (hot!) scrambled eggs and toast, which I get to eat sitting down at the table. The dishwasher is unloaded, and is that the washing machine I hear? Is this person MAGIC?
9:30 – After breakfast, I nurse the baby while she sits next to me on the couch, folding a basket of baby clothes from the dryer. She notices I nurse with my shoulder all jacked up and suggests I relax it, showing me a few tweaks in how I position the baby. Instant comfort! I’ve been wondering where that back pain was coming from. I start telling her about this funny thing that happened with my mother-in-law, and the next thing I know I’m going into all of the ways she undermines my parenting and makes me feel like crap. My doula just nods her head while it all comes pouring out – god, it feels good to get that off my chest!
We hear a loud “PPPPLLLLBBBT” from the baby’s butt while she finishes eating – My baby is pledging a fraternity, apparently. My doula offers to take her and change her, which I happily agree to. Dude, I changed 4 poopsplosions yesterday and I think one was the Poopocalypse! I sip my coffee and revel in the peace and quiet. When she returns, she mentions that she had to change the changing table sheet and changed the baby’s clothes. Odd, the baby is wearing a different shirt and yet, I didn’t hear shrieking like we were trying to remove her head. Again – is she magic??
10:15 am – The baby is ready for a nap, and I can’t swaddle for shit. My doula shows me her technique and lets me practice a few times (without making me feel stupid! Score!) I think I might be able to manage this on my own tonight. With the baby settled in her swing, I call the exterminator about the ants in the laundry room. One more thing checked off the To Do List!
My doula is in the kitchen, getting a meal together to put in the crock pot for dinner. She also switches the laundry to the dryer, putting all the poop-covered stuff in the wash. I didn’t even have to touch it! Which is great because I invariably get it all over myself.
11 am – I finish a few emails and call the contact my husband sent me. Won’t he be surprised when I text HIM to tell him it’s all finished? Now the baby’s up, so I spend a few minutes kissing her and telling her how much I love her and snuggling her sweet little face. I must find out how this magical person managed to do dishes, laundry, AND cook while this adorable little beast was awake.
I ask, and she shows me the baby carrier someone gave me at my shower – it’s a monster piece of fabric, I just thought it was a really ugly scarf. Voila, instant baby carrier! This thing is a game changer. It’s really nice to be able to figure something out without people watching you and making you feel like an idiot. She showed me how to do it AND made me practice on my own.
12 pm – She suggests we do some tummy time with the baby – I always forget about that! She sits with her while I make some lunch. I love hearing her coo happily. Oh, she spit up. And there my doula is with a burp cloth, wiping it up so I don’t have to rush over before she face plants in it. Love this!
We eat our sandwiches and chat some more – she tells me about a cute baby clothes site and texts me a link – can’t wait to go shopping. This mom thing is EASY! I nurse again while my doula cleans up lunch, and finishes putting the baby’s clothes away. She swaddles her up and gets her tucked in for a nap before she leaves at 1. I think I might take one of those myself…
2 pm – Baby and I spend the rest of the day nursing and playing, and catching up on the DVR. I call my best friend, who also has a new baby, and smugly tell her how my dishes are all done and laundry put away. #schadenfreude
5:45 pm – My husband arrives home to a happy wife, a sleeping baby, and a delicious dinner waiting for him. He decides it’s a good idea to have the doula come tomorrow, too…
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How funny. My post-partum doula chastised me when I joked about the baby being hungry again already (but Mommy, her little tummy is only the size of an egg)’ chastised me when I complained that my husband wasn’t helping at night (“But didn’t you say that he needs his sleep?”), and missed all of the signs of post-partum depression that were so bad I found myself holding a gun. I’d never hire one again.
I’m so sorry that happened to you… Unfortunately, like all professionals, there are quality differences. I hope that next time you have a baby, you have much better quality support!
Are you sure you hired a postpartum doula and not a baby nurse? That person sounds like the opposite of a postpartum doula! So sorry you went through this. You deserve nothing but love and encouragement as a new mama, and always!