Postpartum Doulas 6 Weeks, Months, Years?
Ok, let’s get something straight about Postpartum Doulas.
There is no magic number of days, weeks, months or even years that a client should be cut-off from postpartum doula support.
Postpartum doulas were historically taught to “work themselves out of a job” by the time the client was 6 weeks postpartum. 6 weeks! 6 weeks is just about when the fog clears and the person realizes, “HOLY SHIT! This is my new life…”
Now, I don’t believe that this is any time to bail out on someone. What I believe is that in many cases, THIS is actually when someone begins to figure out that a postpartum doula is what they need.
I do understand the theory behind the postpartum doulas “working themselves out of a job” concept. It was a clever way to say that postpartum doulas should teach clients to care for themselves and their baby and that they should work to build the client’s confidence so that they no longer require support.
Blah, blah, blah…
But here’s the deal, who are we to say when someone no longer needs support?
I bet you, yourself could benefit from the support of a postpartum doula. I mean, if you truly understood what postpartum doulas do…
Let’s start there! How about I break it down for you.
1) The postpartum doula’s primary focus is on the mother’s physical, mental and emotional recovery from giving birth.
2) Next, is the baby’s adjustment to life on the outside of the mother’s body.
So what part of these 2 things end at the 6-week mark? 12 weeks?
This is a major life transition and most of us struggle with transitional adjustments throughout our entire lives.
The role of the postpartum doula has little to do with things like laundry, meal preparation or childcare. In fact, the most impactful thing we do with our clients is listen.
We listen without judgment.
We listen with compassion.
We listen without fixing.
We listen with understanding.
Starting to feel like you could benefit from a postpartum doula?
The next most impactful thing we do is affirm.
We affirm with confidence.
We affirm with knowledge.
We affirm with kindness.
We affirm with understanding.
Wouldn’t it be awesome to have this kind of support through ANY major life transition?
The third most impactful thing we do is ask thought-provoking questions.
We ask specific questions.
We ask deep questions.
We ask hard questions.
We ask meaningful questions.
These questions don’t just scratch the surface.
- They are questions that help our clients figure out what they need from themselves and from others.
- They help our clients find the fortitude to go on when everything seems stacked against them.
- They inspire our clients to embrace who they are becoming while remembering who they were.
When a client hires a postpartum doula for support, a relationship develops. That relationship is based on trust and acceptance. Why on earth would a client want to end that relationship when faced with new experiences and challenges daily, weekly, monthly and annually?
So let’s do our clients the favor of allowing them to decide what they need from their postpartum doulas and how long they need it for.
Authored by: The Rock n’ Roll Doula