Let’s play a game.
I say apple you say (pie, sauce, juice) I say swing you say (set) I say peanut you say (butter) I say postpartum you say (…depression?)
Hold up. It’s true…the word postpartum is most often associated with depression. There is a rough statistic out there that claims that about 15% of new mothers experience some form of postpartum depression. There is also postpartum anxiety, postpartum OCD, and postpartum psychosis.
But, postpartum does not = depression. The word postpartum means “after childbirth” or “following childbirth”. Depending on who you ask the postpartum phase can be viewed as short as 6 weeks or as long as 1 year. If you asked me, once you give birth you are “after childbirth” for the rest of your life. No, that is not the clinical answer. But as a mom and as a doula, it is something that resonates with me.
Can hiring a postpartum doula guarantee that you will not experience postpartum depression? Nope. We don’t make many guarantees as doulas. What we can guarantee is that you will be supported and not judged.
Our job is to help you remember to live in the moment. We ask how YOU are doing. We are an ear to talk(vent) to. A shoulder to cry on. An extra set of hands in the nursery/kitchen/playroom/laundry room. We are like that most trusted relative or friend but we check our baggage at the door. We bring with us not only our own mothering experiences, but the mothering experiences of countless other mothers who we have supported along the way. We are the answer to the middle of the night text message. The 2am phone call. We are the fairy that comes in for an overnight, gets up with baby so you can sleep and wake to folded laundry and coffee brewing. We are the snack prepping, errand running, vegetable chopping friend with an eager ear and a warm smile.
We see you when the storm rolls in. We see your smile fade, your joy diminish. We see the signs. We encourage you seek out the help you may need to have your world brighten again. We don’t treat your depression if it rears its ugly head. We can help recognize it, and we gently urge you to take care of yourself. To put your oxygen mask on first.