“It takes a village to raise a child” ~ African proverb
Nurturing mama and baby from 0–3 months: the fourth trimester
Modern parenting can be isolating and it isn’t meant to be that way. These days new mothers, and to a large degree, fathers, are often expected to cope alone and get on with raising their children with few role models or practical and emotional support of any kind. I have a fundamental believe in a concept that the three months after birth are known as the fourth trimester. These two articles here and here explain the concept fully. To me, this period should be a time when a new family has the unequivocal support and space to gently adjust to what is a completely different way of life, and do so in any way they choose.
Unlike a nanny or maternity nurse, a postnatal doula not only helps to care for and nurture the newborn and any siblings, but empower and support the family as a whole. We place the mother as the focus and ensure she is well nourished, as rested as possible and can talk to her doula about anything on her mind: this is mothering the mother.
The first step
If you would like to meet me to find out if I’m the right doula for you, an initial meeting is free and with no obligation. It’s a chance to explore how a doula might best support you and your family, address any questions you have and for us to learn a little more about one another. Chemistry is an extremely important part of the doula-client relationship, so this meeting is an ideal opportunity to see whether we might be a good fit. Doula UK has a list of questions which may help you to think about what you’d like to discuss with me.
A postnatal doula
As a postnatal doula I can be with a family anywhere from a few hours for a few weeks to full time for a few months. I aim to gradually decrease the number of days and hours that I work, in consultation with the client until they feel confident in their new role and are ready for me to move on. But, I mean it when I say I’m always at the end of the phone.
The range of support provided by a doula in the postnatal period may include:
- listening to anything and everything on the mother’s mind, including talking about the birth experience and if needed drawing on professional connections to assist with any issues;
- looking after the new baby so mum can sleep, rest, have a bath or attend medical appointments;
- shopping, cooking nutritious meals, running errands, light housework and driving after a cesarean section;
- caring for pets and older siblings, including the school run (depending upon their insurance provision)
- assistance with exclusive breastfeeding and expressing, mixed feeding or bottle feeding;
- finally, a doula is always available by telephone at any stage during the relationship.
The Doulabud Postnatal Service
My rates are:
- £460 for a block of 20 hours (to be taken within a six week period)
- £26 per hour for ad-hoc support. No minimum number of hours or deposit required.
My rates are inclusive of travel but exclude parking charges where applicable
We can agree an estimated number of hours at the outset and then I am happy to take it week by week depending on your needs and my other commitments.
I offer Closing the Bones which is a combination of a healing ritual and abdominal massage. It can be performed at any point after giving birth but most often is done in the immediate postnatal period. The cost is £60 for a two hour session
Some more lovely feedback from a Closing the Bones client:
“Oh my goodness! What an incredible me experience that was! From the bottom of my heart Zara, thank you. 🙏🏻🙏🏻 Talk about everything at the right time and your beautiful singing voice and gentle, healing hands! I am calm, at peace and I feel strong and as if something has released. I feel like I have crossed some kind of finish line. I saw so much yellow and I really felt the presence of my spirit second child with my grandmother (something that I saw in hypnotherapy last year which was a huge catalyst for my decision to have the op and come to some acceptance) Unbelievably powerful! A million thank you’s! The words of the song are so apt – is there any way I could have a copy of them for my diary? I also adore your rebozo. Where can I get one like that?”
SR – Godalming, Surrey
I accept Doula UK gift vouchers which can be gifted to you by friends and family.
What you receive from me as your postnatal doula:
I offer an individual service tailored to suit the exact needs of each client, which often change week by week. I can start immediately after birth or once the partner, if there is one, has gone back to work. I tend to work between 3–5 hours at a time to ensure you have your space too. I’m very adaptable and will fit in with the family, but below is a list of some of the things new parents find really welcome:
- De-briefing the birth experience.
- Listening to anything on yours or your partner’s mind.
- Practical support to help you and your family care for your newborn, including looking after the new baby so mum can rest, sleep, shower or have a bath.
- Signposting to local resources and services.
- Supporting your feeding choices, including breastfeeding support and expert referrals where necessary. In November 2014 I started on a journey towards gaining an even deeper understanding of the many ways I could further support new mothers and their feeding choices. Wanting to add to both my knowledge and practical skills, I decided to train as a Breastfeeding Counsellor with the Association of Breastfeeding Mothers. In February 2015 I became an ABM Mother Supporter and I’m now a fully accredited Breastfeeding Counsellor, which also involves volunteering on the National Breastfeeding Helpline.
- Five things to do in preparation for breastfeeding
- Allowing confidence to grow in your abilities without taking over.
- Protecting the space of your new family.
- Accompanying you to any appointments or driving after a cesarean birth.
- Shopping, running errands and light housework.
- I am a baby wearing Peer Supporter so can help you look at your options and demonstrate baby wearing holds.
- Indian Head Massage/Neck, Back & Shoulders Massage
- Closing the Bones (small extra fee)
- Family meal Planning.
- Food Matters! Nutritious meals and snacks that promote and support postnatal recovery.
- Looking after other siblings, including school and nursery runs, as well as caring for pets
- If you need further support I’ll still be available by email, phone, text or in person, plus I can refer you to other birth and postnatal professionals if relevant.
Last but not least, I’m very happy to support families with older children who might be facing challenges such as illness or bereavement.
“I will protect you until you are grown and then I will let you fly free, but loving you, that is for always” ~ Charlotte Gray
My experience as a postnatal doula
I’ve had the pleasure of working with well over 370 families in the postnatal phase, from first time parents to large noisy families, families with pets, single parents, parents with twins, parents and infants with disabilities, bereaved parents and those with premature and sick babies who have spent difficult times in NICU.
I embrace them all and offer my support wholeheartedly. Each and every family has different postnatal needs which means I bring a fresh approach and draw on a vast range of the skills and knowledge that I have. Regardless of the family’s dynamics and needs, listening comes top of the list for me.
Please contact me to discuss how I can help support the arrival of a new baby into your family.