I held off writing about our use of a post-partum doula because we, at least initially, did not really make use of the service that much. Things have changed, and we’ve found ourselves returning to the doula service for more help.
What is a post-partum doula? Yeah, I never heard of ’em, either until our Hypnobirthing instructor (yeah, I know, I should post about that, as well) referred a service to us.
Post-partum doulas are there to help families during the time of birth (though not with the birth) and to help them after the birth. After the birth, their job is to help families concentrate on taking care of their newborn by tackling a myriad of tasks. They also seek to educate, particularly with new parents.
Our intention was to have a doula ready to watch our daughter, if needed, at the time when the baby came and Ms. Kaz and I had to go to the hospital.
And that is exactly what happened…At 8:30pm, when we knew we had to go to the hospital, we called the doula assigned to us to come over and be here with our daughter. Our daughter was already asleep, and we toyed with the idea of waking her up to tell her we would be going. We weren’t sure how she would react if she woke up and we were not there. She had met the doula once, briefly, before, but we weren’t sure what would happen.
In the end, we decided not to wake her.
I hate to admit it, but, as labor continued into the wee hours, I was hoping the baby would hurry, not just for Ms. Kaz’s sake, but so I could get home before my daughter woke up. Even as the nurses wanted me there as they cleaned and took blood tests, I was watching the clock, hoping to get back home before 6:30a. Secretly, I also wanted to be able to break the news to her, rather than the doula.
I did get back by 6:30, but it turned out my daughter had woken up at 4:45a. She was actually okay with the doula being there. I think the excitement of finding out the baby had come was greater than the concern about mommy and daddy not being there. Plus, hey — new friend!
Everything turned out great with the doula, and we thought we were done with them.
The last couple weeks, two things have been happening: (a) Ms. Kaz has been having difficulties sleeping, and (b) my daughter has hit the terrible threes hard (more on that in another post).
We decided, for sanity sake, we would bring back a post-partum doula a couple of days a week. The doulas have been great – helping with the baby, playing with my daughter, helping with laundry and dishes. The first day we brought in a doula, I came home and noticed they had even mowed the lawn!
Things got really hairy on Sunday, when neither of us had sleep and Ms. Kaz was also dealing with stomach issues. We asked if they could send a doula for a couple of hours so that Ms. Kaz could try and get some sleep, and we could have some help with the baby as we tried to get our daughter to bed. You cannot imagine how much that helped.
We’ve got the doula coming for at least one more week. She (I say she, but there are 4 or so that they rotate, based on availability) will come at least one more week, on the two days my daughter is home with Ms. Kaz and the baby. With everything going on, and with not having grandparents close by, having the post-partum doula has helped more than we thought.
That being said, they aren’t cheap, especially on weekends. I don’t really know what nannies go for, so I can’t compare. However, if you had a doula around 8-9 hours a day, 5 days a week, I imagine the cost would compare. So far, we are considering it money well spent.
You could get a baby sitter-type person for cheaper, but you get just that – someone who just does childcare. The doula can help with childcare, but is also around to do other things, which gives the mother a chance to focus on the baby (and other children!), which, I would believe, is what most parents want.