I remember standing in the bathroom alone,
just a week after my bouncing baby boy was born. ..
I was going to take a shower, so I had taken my clothes off.
I looked in the mirror and just started crying.
My body was not the same.
I mean, I kind of knew, but this was the first time I'd really looked.
There was my scar, still red and my flabby mess of a stomach, and my face, I was just so tired.
"Is this my life now?" I thought.
"Whose body is this?"
Scared and messy...
A trickle of blood ran down my leg, "crap!"
I wiped it up with a bit of toilet paper.
Then my eyes went back to my stomach, I poked it.
"Is this normal?"
I seem to have gone from glowing and pregnant,
to this?... I just can't.
Then, I heard the baby.
So much for that shower, eh?
I put my clothes back on, the same ones I'd been wearing for 3 days now,
changed my pad, and walked out of the bathroom to feed the baby.
Such was my life for a while.
For a couple months. After every one of my babies.
And those cries for food, just multiplied.
I felt so alone, like all the time.
Sure I knew people with babies, but everyone looked so put together, what was I doing wrong?
And whose body was I in?
I know being pregnant my body was there for my baby,
but now my baby was in my arms, shouldn't I feel like myself again?
Shouldn't I have something of my own?
Why do we do what we do as postpartum doulas?
Not because we alone can change this narrative, those inside feelings run deep,
but because we can and do make a difference:
We can hold your baby so you can take a shower and feel like a person again.
We can validate and help you ensure you take some time to feel like your body belongs to you again!
We can hold your hand and lend our shoulder and look you in the eyes
and tell you that we understand and it is okay.
We can get up with the baby during the night, so you can get just a little more sleep,
so the day doesn't seem so heavy.
We can help you get out of the house,
so being alone all day every day doesn't turn in to a habit of isolation.
We can watch your other kids, so the guilt of not spending time with one of them doesn't add up.
We can help make dinner and plan out meals,
so when 5pm rolls around and everyone is "starving" you don't have to worry about it.
There is so much we can do...
The thing is we can't make you feel like your body is your own again,
that is all on you,
But we will be there to support and listen and ensure you have time to find you again!
I wish I'd known then, what I know now:
That I didn't have to be alone.
That there was someone to help.
That there was someone to tell me it was normal and things would be okay.
Someone to tell me that my body was still my own and it was okay to take time for me.
The impact of a postpartum doula for our whole family.
We support all births.
One of the ways we do that is
working to keep you as confident as possible through the process.
What are birth affirmations?
Short phrases or sayings that you can keep in mind during pregnancy and your birth.
You can print them off and hang them up
just find a couple that speak to you and repeat them to yourself.
These also work great as things for others to say to you during your birth.
Below the gallery is a link to download the PDF with all of the affirmations for you to print out.
We've worked with so many families and have lots of kids of our own,
here's our top 9 tips for new parents to help make the transition not quite so wild!
Just click the thumbnails below to check them out.
My eyes fly open.
I grab my phone and it is you.
It is 2:32am, I actually got some sleep, YES!
Okay, deep breath.
"Hey! How's it going?"
"Good, she's doing great, but we are both ready for you to come now."
"I'm sure she is doing amazing, I'm getting up and heading out now. I'll be there shortly."
My husband has already figured out I'm headed out, he knows this drill very well.
I get out of bed and put on my clothes I set out last night, I figured this call would be coming.
I walk down my stairs and start my coffee maker,
there won't be time for it to finish before I grab a cup and go, but a little is better than none.
I brush my teeth, throw on a little make up (because no one needs to see that),
fill up my water bottle, grab my bag, purse, and keys, fill up my coffee mug, and out to the car I go.
Crap, I didn't give my husband a kiss goodbye!
But there he is, at the door,
a quick smooch and back into the car I go.
The drive isn't too long, but it is always a great time for me to think.
I think about you and how you're doing right at this moment (I bet, like a rockstar!)
I think about how the rest of your birth will play out,
what my role will be in supporting you,
and of course, about the many births before yours
and just how amazing it is that every one is always so different.
Pull into the usual parking spot at the hospital (yeah, I have those)
and send you a quick text to let you know I'm on my way up
and to ensure I have the right room number.
"Can I help you?"
"Yes, I'm Jessica Dill. ******'s doula, they are in room 4."
As I walk down the hall I pass the nurses station, I know a lot of them
and we exchange some kind smiles and hello's.
They know why I'm here, we work together often.
I crack the door open a bit,
"It is just me, Jessica."
"Come on in! Thank goodness you're here!"
And then my world stands still.
Because I'm here for you.
No matter what.
Through all the ups and downs and "I can't do this, Jessica!"
I know you can do it.
"I'll be here and I can't do it for you, but I'm here with you."
I'm your birth doula and I'm here for you.
your world stands still.
Vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, upset stomach, heartburn, exhaustion...
Morning sickness can really take its toll in early pregnancy and even later on.
Especially because for most people, it isn't just in the morning!
What is morning sickness?
Its cause is the hormone surge in your body when you become pregnant and begin developing the placenta and baby. That nauseous feeling, usually in the mornings or around food.
Over 50% of people will experience some form of morning sickness, but in extreme cases it may be hyperemesis gravidarum. If you suspect you may be vomiting more than you are keeping down, you need to contact your care provider right away because dehydration can be a huge issue.
What can you do?
1- Stay hydrated.
Drink what you can, when you can, and ensure it is water or something with added electrolytes.
2- Eat smaller meals.
Eat smaller amounts of whatever sounds good, more often.
3- Avoid overheating.
Try to stay cool, nausea can be triggered by heat alone.
It may seem like the last thing on your mind, but exercise helps keep everything moving in the right direction and releases good feeling hormones.
5- Saltine crackers or salty potato chips.
Sometimes, just a little extra salt and carbs will do the trick to settle your stomach enough to be able to eat other things.
In teas or hard candies.
In teas or hard candies.
8- Nap or lay down before eating.
Don't nap or rest after eating, staying active after eating can help keep everything moving in the right direction.
9- No spicy food.
It may be some of your favorite, but it can cause irritation, especially when coming back up.
10- Contact your care provider.
They may have other tips and tricks and be able to help a ton with medications or supplements. Contact them right away, especially if you feel you are having a hard time staying hydrated.
Morning sickness sucks, plain and simple.
But for many people it minimizes around week 13, so here's to hoping it does for you too!
A lot of people hear the word "doula" and think birth,
but around here we think postpartum.
Because postpartum doulas are
The time period after you have a baby
(actually you don't even have to be the one who gave birth)
is called your postpartum period.
Traditionally it is thought this only lasts about 6 weeks
(hence the 6 week check up with your doc),
but many people consider it much longer,
even years after you have a baby.
Now that you know what postpartum is (it doesn't mean depression),
what exactly does a postpartum doula do?
Just about anything and everything!
Every day and night can look a little bit different,
but here's a short list of what postpartum doulas can do for you:
Freedom to get a shower
Freedom to nap
An entire night sleep, straight
Recognizing early symptoms of postpartum mood disorders
An extra hand for outings
Baby equipment set-up
An in-house expert
Ability to focus attention on one child
Postpartum doulas are kind of like an expert best friend,
who you don't have to worry about judging you or asking them to do all the things!
Like an executive assistant.
Someone who you can count on to help you out, without strings attached.
Someone who will tell you like it is when you need to hear it,
but is the best listening ear you've ever had around.
Postpartum doulas aren't super well known,
especially in the Lafayette and West Lafayette, Indiana area.
Most people around here don't even know what a night nanny or a newborn care specialist is,
but postpartum doulas do so much more than those things even and really focus on the whole family.
You really do deserve this type of care after adding a new baby to your family.
Postpartum support is the ultimate gift to a new family;
In case you're looking for an amazing baby shower present or
you're just too far away to be able to physically help a friend or family member.
Contact us! We'd love to help.
"Were we suppose to have questions?"
"I don't even know what to ask!"
We're at consults all the time for our birth doula services, where people just look at us
and say things like this.
It can be pretty weird and intimidating to have random new people in your house,
even if they are doulas who are pretty darn comfortable with just about every situation.
So, we wanted to put together this handy, dandy list of 8 things to ask us
or any potential doulas you may be consulting and interviewing with.
Why did you become a doula?
This one can be a bit tricky because everyone gets into doula work for a different reason. We can tell you that anyone telling you they got into this profession to "save people from what they experienced" is a big red flag because when things get rough you don't want someone there who's going to judge you for changing your mind. A doulas job isn't to save you, but to help you feel supported and heard in whatever situations that arise.
What does your price include?
While most professional doulas will have their package details on their website or send you some package info and pricing prior to meeting, it is always a good idea to cover that again. You want to make sure that what is on paper is also being presented in contract and words.
When do you go on-call?
This one is super important! In the past many doulas have only a 4 week window around your estimated due date blocked out, but obviously babies come when they want to come and sometimes that means very early. You want to check to be sure your doula can ensure their presence whenever you have your baby because hiring someone for your birth and having a stranger show up or no one, isn't very fun.
Do you have a backup that we can meet with? And how did you pick them?
We here at Doulas of Greater Lafayette work in pairs and as a team, so you already know who will be at your birth even if an illness or emergency arises. But many doulas work independently, so ensuring they have a back up for you and ensuring you know who this person is and can get to know them as well is really important to be sure you don't get a stranger walking in on your big day.
What training and certifications do you have?
Every doula should have gone through a doula training for birth and/or postpartum (whichever you may be talking about). We always recommend and all our doulas have hands on, in person training which makes a world of difference, this is an in person job. Also see what other trainings and certifications they have, continuing education shows a longer term commitment and can mean they may have other skills and tools to help you during your birth or postpartum.
What other services do you offer?
Some doulas are just birth doulas. Some doulas are just postpartum doulas. And that's totally cool. We love it when people expand their horizons though! Maybe they offer both birth and postpartum services, Childbirth Education , Placenta Encapsulation, or Belly Binding which means you can get everything from the same company and not go through a search and interview process again.
What is your "style"?
And is there anything you are passionate about?
This is another one that can be kind of tricky. Good doulas become what you need them to be in the moment, a chameleon of sorts; But every doula doulas a bit different. Red flags for this would be someone who is an advocate for a certain type of birth or a certain way of doing things. As parents we all go in thinking we want one thing, but lots of times reality can make changing our mind feel good, you want to know your doula is someone who will back you without bias and judgement and someone you can count on to talk to.
How do you work with care providers and nurses?
Have you worked with our doctor/midwife before?
Some doulas honestly believe that many doctors and hospitals have a specific agenda for everyone. We aren't those doulas and most doulas we know are not either, but they are out there and that is a for sure red flag. During your birth having a doula who can work with you and your medical team to help you have the best birth possible can be the greatest gift imaginable; not questioning their every move, but supporting you in asking questions and open dialog.
What would your ideal birth look like?
The key here is, once again, making sure their ideal birth isn't one specific type of birth. A great answer is something like "where my clients feel supported and heard and even if things go completely different than they planned they come out the other side with a sense of confidence and peace." And then hopefully they will turn the question around on you because it really is all about you!
Whether you're in the Lafayette or West Lafayette, Indiana area and chatting with us about our services or anywhere in the world, these are all really basic and good questions to ask your potential doula/s.
Being unbiased, professional, and confident are all things that make really great doulas
and we strive to be just that for every client!
you're the badass woman who can do it all.
independently capable of locking in a client, grading a thesis,
and taking charge of a board room, all in basically the same day.
Then, enter baby.
You're still the same person, but now it all seems a bit different.
You're now juggling another human being and headed back to work.
What the heck?
Why does it feel like you can't handle life now!?
Then, enter postpartum doula.
Did you know we're experts in transition?
(Not just in labor)
Going back to work or starting work from home again soon after having a baby can be really stressful for many new parents.
Like, what happens when you have a conference call you have to take and the baby starts crying?
We can help to make it as smooth and stress free as possible
because we are in your home and know your goals and plans.
We can help offer ideas on making the jump from breastfeeding to pumping as smooth as possible,
if you need or want to.
We make it possible for you to head to your office to make those phone calls
without worry of interruption.
We are there to help with the little things too; Those dishes, laundry, and such will be done,
so you really can focus on work when you're working
and being a human being with a baby when you're not.
We are the people there to help fill in those gaps to help ease the guilt and say it is normal.
We are also there to without any judgement commiserate with
because, let's face it, it all kind of sucks sometimes!
You can work and feel confident knowing your baby is in great, professional hands.
We're kind of like the executive assistant for you, your family, and your baby.
Let us help!
"Are you going to take their place?"
"How do you help them support me?"
"I'm just worried I won't be needed if we have a doula..."
If we had a dollar for every time we've heard this or something similar from pregnant people looking at hiring a doula or their partners,
we'd be super rich!
Our answer is always very much the same and probably will never change:
We are there to support your partner and to help them support you.
"You are an absolute expert in your wife,
we are experts in birth,
we work together perfectly!"
In short, we are the people, who behind the scenes help make your partner look good.
Help you to have memories of them during your birth, amazing ones at that!
We are the gentle voice of:
Try pushing here.
She needs water.
Lets switch places.
Do you need to go to the bathroom?
Why don't you rest a bit.
You can step out and grab some coffee.
Do you need something to eat?
Here, maybe try this way.
Its okay, you're doing perfect!
You can go with baby, I will make sure she's taken care of.
And oodles more!
Birth can be unpredictable and long.
While our job is absolutely to help support you in every way possible,
your partner deserves some support too and we'll never be taking their place.
Birth is really unpredictable.
Even if you've done it many times before,
we really never know what may happen next.
You have a plan...
so does your baby...
and so does your body.
You can have the most supportive provider, take all the best classes, pick the perfect doulas,
and have a wonderful and supportive partner,
but sometimes your plan has to go out the window.
We don't like to talk about it,
but the reality is:
Sometimes everything ends up the opposite of your plan.
To some it is just the scary stuff.
To some it means a home birth transfer.
To some it means an emergency cesarean.
To some it means an epidural and pushing on your back.
We don't want to harp on these things,
we're here to help instill strength and confidence in those giving birth,
but we also want to make it clear that we support
those who feel as though they had the birth they hoped for taken from them
or that their body is broken.
As your birth doulas and postpartum doulas
to support you,
to be a shoulder,
to maybe be the only one who says "It is okay to be sad!"
Sometimes things don't go as planned,
But we want you to know that you're not alone.
We really do want to help and support you, give us a call anytime to see how we can!
Jessica Anne Dill