Dou•la (/’do͞olə/): (noun) A woman who is trained to assist another woman during childbirth and who may provide support to the family after the baby is born.
Most people think of a doula as someone who is basically like a midwife in the birthing room. And that’s definitely part of what a doula does. But we’re also the bridge between the time you bring the baby home and your getting comfortable enough with this new little one’s care and feeding that you don’t need me anymore.
There is no true manual for parenting. Not really. The only way you know what to do is to do it and each child you bring into your family has a different need. As much as you prepare, you’ll never have everything covered, and getting a boost, an extra helping hand, someone who can be on the outside looking in with an objective, caring eye to assist you as you embark on your new journey, is really helpful. Not every parent wants it. Not every parent even needs it, but there are those who find themselves wishing for more hands-on “I’m here for you” guidance. And perhaps the most difficult area for new parents — and that “new” also includes a baby joining older children — is getting your child and yourself to sleep.
Finding your rhythm
There is a flow that is a family’s very own. It’s like a heartbeat that you all share and each family is different. Discovering what that is for you is what helps someone like me get you to a good place with your sleeping, resting, and peace in your home. I work with families to get them to see themselves as a unique unit unto themselves, because it’s more than the baby and toddler in need that are my focus. I work with the whole package, because everyone is affected by a new presence in the house, everyone’s rhythm shifts to accommodate.
To do that, you have to communicate. If you’re going to bring a doula into your home post-partum, you need to speak with them, share your thoughts, who you are, what you hope. It’s part of why I do what I do and part of what gets you to be able to create a routine that works best for your family. Sharing a family’s life to help them embrace their own more happily and successfully is such a gift. It’s also that way I am able to see what your life is like so I can get you to a comfortable resting strategy. What you do during the day affects your night, and knowing what your goal is for our time together helps me create an experience that works just for you and your family, no one else’s. I can’t think of any other way of really making the whole process of me coming into your home and helping you find your routine work than for us to talk, get to know each other, discover who you — not me — are. Because this is all about you and yours. That’s why you’ve called me and that’s why I’m there.
I become the go-to for families and that’s an intimate position to be in. Sleep is something that is truly one of those familial activities that makes an impression on everyone. Who we are, how we work together can be traced back to how our night’s sleep was, how we were able to rest to rejuvenate, and how that affected the people around us. If you notice, when your children sleep well, so do you. When they don’t, you don’t. And the same actually happens on the other side. If you’re up all night, pacing the floor, sooner or later that rhythm, that cadence, makes an impression on the entire house.
The reason I love what I do so much is because of how much of myself I can give to families to help them give of themselves in this unique process. Through our journey together, I can help you see the differences in your children’s sleep patterns and your own, and help you build upon that as a benefit rather than a detriment. I can help you celebrate those differences while also establishing a routine that supports every aspect of each of you. After all, you may have several children, not just an infant and/or toddler, with very different likes and ways of acting, and this means they don’t fall asleep the same way. One child may love to be read to while another likes to be rocked in silence and still another needs music. Until we talk and look at the unique circumstances of your life, I and even you don’t know how all of this will unfold. Sometimes verbalizing your hopes for a peaceful home brings up ways it can be addressed so you will create something that makes sense for you. My role as a sleep doula is to ultimately take myself out of the equation so you can find bliss on your own.
After all, this is your life. I’m a visitor guiding you to its ultimate possibilities. And the day you don’t need me anymore is a day worth celebrating.