What does a doula do?
Dishes. Laundry. Walking the dog. Sure.
Meal prep. Lunch. Lactation cookies. Yup.
But is that ***all*** a doula does?
Doulas do oh so much more.
ADAPT- I help parents of a new baby adapt to the high demands of an infant. How can a person still adult AND parent? Well, we work on strategies to keep you from being overwhelm.
PERSPECTIVE- I work with many different families. My experiences with them give me perspective I can share. Most common- am I the **only** mom struggling with..." I don't have to guess- I KNOW OTHER MOMS STRUGGLE with fill in the blank.
NORMALIZE- You are at home with baby and not really out in the world. Your nest is special and perfect for you. It's safe. It can also feel isolating. If a person is thinking they are all alone in struggling or learning it can feel SO MUCH HEAVIER. But, you aren't alone. You can learn just like others do.
ELEVATE- I share my calm and joy when I enter a space. The exhaustion and irritability that can come with meeting constant infant and child demands can put a parent into a survival mode that feels more like a growl than a pur. I work with families like a Mary Poppins to identify areas they wish to grow and bring more joy. Then we problem solve.
SKILLS BUILDING- You aren't done learning and growing, no matter how old you are. Just like your children are learning- you are too. Life skills like adapting, taking perspective, normalizing, and creating a joyful emotional space- practicing those life skills helps to improve experiences.
SUPPORT- Sometimes, a doula is the only person who fully SEES the mother who can feel quite invisible after baby comes. The doula is all about the mother/parent. Making a tough choice? A doula has no skin in the game, your opinion becomes her opinion. She wants what you want, and she can help you logistically achieve that.
Support can be physical, emotional, mental, practical, and spiritual-- to all of these YES. A doula can achieve all of these with a loving kind presence.
DECREASE CHAOS- Outside eyes can help identify ways to reduce stress. Bringing the peace and even some humor. I share the calm instead of joining the chaos.
IMPROVE BONDING- When we enter parenthood, adjusting can take time. Knowing how to bond, when, and even what bonding does to infant development can encourage families who have experienced birth trauma, difficult situations, and even big life changes like moving or changing jobs.
IDENTIFY STRENGTHS- It might sound silly, but identifying your TRUE NORTH, your strength, your reason for living can be very helpful to navigating the twists and turns. In discussions with clients, we frequently find their strengths and see how they can work for them to guide their choices.
EXTRA SOMEBODY YOU TRUST- What a gift it is to trust someone with your baby. I certainly believe it is always a privilege to care for infants- the highest privilege that I take very seriously.
Do you need an extra...
… pair of arms to hold baby?
… heart to hold your worries?
… hands to help?
… ideas to solve issues?
… brain with information on infant development?
… pair of eyes for observing infant development?
… well-rested person who can help you rest?
… knowledge to know you are normal and not alone?
… nervous system to model calm, collected contentment?
… responsible adult to care for your older children?
… professional with expert info about infant feeding and sleep?
… peer who has struggled and overcome postpartum mood issues?
… mom who knows the challenges of working and stay at home parenting?
DOULA. A person who becomes the active role needed to support the mother/parent in that very moment, while also whipping lingering household jobs into shape to leave more room for bonding, playing, loving, and resting.
Serving Corvallis, Philomath, Albany, Alsea, and surrounding areas.
"Am I doing this right?"
"I feel like I'm winging everything."
"I can't tell what my baby needs."
"I feel like a constant failure. Like everything I do is inadequate."
How *do* you know you are doing a good job?
A question I ask my clients all the time. I'm usually met with blank faces. Crickets. Sometimes even with creative answers.
If I keep my baby safe?
Seems obvious right? But it can be tricky to fall in that trap that we control every factor. We cannot prevent colds and viruses 100%. There will be bonks, scraps, bruises, broken bones, broken hearts. Those things actually develop stronger humans through new experiences. The big obvious safety precautions are a given for the purposes of this post.
If my baby doesn't cry a lot?
No. Because there are lots of healthy babies who are well cared for that cry quite a bit. It's developmentally appropriate to cry.
If my baby breastfeeds exclusively?
I think there are lots of parents who feed with bottles or breastfeed and supplement that demonstrate amazing parenting qualities. The truth is that parents can really struggle with feeding. Or they simply choose alternatives that are healthy for their child and family. They need support- not judgment.
If I respond to every cry?
Not possible. It is just not possible. Respond to the cries for hunger, comfort, diaper changes, and affection. That is a lot of work in itself. Do your best, leave the rest.
You know you are a getting this parent thing
when you show up even when it is new and scary.
When you rise to the challenges.
When you overcome obstacles.
When you stick to it.
When you take breaks THEN get back at it.
You love the child through difficult days.
You give your child affection and play daily.
If you are able to meet their needs to your best ability, you care.
Being an awesome parent starts with learning. More learning. Adapting. Experimenting. Observing. Learning some more.
Parents are learning a whole new person in a whole new relationship. Guess what, you are capable of learning!!
Most importantly, you will grow. Grow your resiliency and endurance.
Forgive yourself for not knowing it all before you started. It won't always be as hard as today because you'll adapt.
Start being kind to yourself that learning new things, a new person during a stressful time is kind of challenging. Sure- your baby is learning... but so are you!
You are learning new things everyday. That is enough.
Keep going friend. You can do this.
What Clients Are Saying
"Choosing Sophie as my postpartum doula is one of the wisest choices I have made related to the birth of my daughter. She comes into our home and provides an immeasurable amount of support and assistance. From helping with meal prep, to nursing advice and assistance, and helping me process how I am doing mentally band emotionally, Sophie does so much to help me feel capable and grounded in this time of change. Sophie doesn't just help with tasks around our home, she gives me tools and knowledge to help me care for myself, care for my baby, and understand and process the journey we are on together."
Contact Sophie Grow