"You will love each other the least on this day, tomorrow you will love each other more and the next day more still," those words were spoken at my wedding. I loved the reminder that the wedding (although momentous and amazing) is only the very beginning of your life together. Often couples spend a lot of time focusing on the wedding and less on the marriage.
Similarly when a women is pregnant she often spends a lot of time preparing for and thinking about the birth. Obviously your new baby(ies) being born is an incredible day, and families should be prepared. But, are you also planning for the period afterward? The postpartum period?
Seeing this old photo of myself at age five brings thoughts of childhood dreams. My daughters dream right now is to someday own her own bakery. My son would love to be Batman. My little one is a climber and I would guess her dream is to be in a room full of chairs and tables with no one to stop her from climbing and standing on all of them!
My dream is to be a good mother and wife. I want to raise capable adults who care about others and find happiness in family, friends, and their work. I didn't know the true outcome of my dreams as a child, but I know that if my five year old self walked in on me in my new role as a postpartum doula she would smile.
I am a firm believer in adoption. I was adopted at 6 weeks old from an organization in Chicago, IL called The Cradle. My adoptive parents told me right from the start that I was special. What a wonderful gift to me that has been.
As a parent myself now, I wonder about the challenges my own parents faced when they brought me home. They had tried to conceive for more than 7 years and after months of paperwork and meetings they got the call. They were the proud parents of ME! My mother tells the story of getting the phone call and being so stunned that instead of answering questions the placement nurse had for her she just nodded in response. Finally, the nurse stopped and asked, "Cheryl are you there?" My mom recovered just enough to speak and then waited to tell my father the news.
Dad came home from teaching Physical Education at a nearby high school and found my mom sitting in the middle of the driveway crying happy tears. Of course, he was stunned and worried at first to find her this way but upon hearing the news they cried together.
Soon they were on their way to pick me up and bring me home. My eyes always well up when I think of this amazing moment. I am so blessed to have them!
If there are mothers and fathers reading this that are considering adopting children please know that I am also available to help them adjust to the changes. Please know that this is a topic very near and dear to my heart.
I love babies. I love their wrinkly skin. I love the faces they make while they sleep. I love how they smell. I love all of their momentous firsts! I love watching parents fall in love with their babies. I love precious little ones who completely change our lives!
The little things people say and do have been invaluable raising my own children. As I have added each child to my family, (we are now blessed with three children) I wonder how I will cope. What will happen with my relationship with my spouse? Will I be able to spend quality time with my older child(ren)? Etc. I always end up turning to women I trust. Friends, and family members that have gone through what I am going through. Now I know that another woman I could have turned to is a postpartum doula.
While I am working toward certification through DONA, I have read about, and met so many amazing people. I am learning to trust that I do have little tidbits of knowledge to pass on to others to make their experiences a little easier. I love the moments where I know I can help.
So as with everything in life it is the little things that make life sweeter.
What to call my professional self? My husband brought this up and I continue to struggle with a name that defines what I do. I am a postpartum doula.
So few people know what we do and what that title means! Mother’s Helper makes me think of helpful teenagers, assistant sounds very business related but not related to MY business, hmm not sure of another option.
Here is what a postpartum doula does…I am able to help families transition through the postpartum period. The time after a mom delivers, or adopts a baby. I work with the entire family unit partners, siblings, extended family to integrate baby into the family.
Really what I do is a little of everything. I can help. Don’t new moms want help? Even if they don’t want to admit it? With my first child I was quick to assure everyone that I had things under control! For the most part I did but why accept the bare minimum of okay? Why not ask for help and receive it from a professional postpartum doula who is trained to help?
My philosophy in life is that when I am rested and at peace everything else goes better. I am a better mother, wife, friend, etc. New moms are typically sleep deprived and overwhelmed with the awesome responsibility and reality of having a baby. Do we all agree that having support from friends and family is vital during this time? What if you could hire someone who hasn’t just been there, done that, but is educated with evidence based practices that will smooth the transition to “familyhood?” Does it somehow make you less of a superwoman to ask for help?
I think it should be a requirement for new moms to be well taken care of so that they can be at their best to do their best with their little ones.
I thought about a name for my business for a long time. A great friend came up with "The After Baby Lady" and I love it! Thanks Kendra!
Jill Reiter CPD, Author
A mother, wife and Postpartum Doula's blog.
The After Baby Lady
Shelby Township MIPhone: 586-604-1446