Preparing for postpartum, in our culture which focuses heavily on pregnancy and birth preparation, may seem unusual, but along with the sweet newborn cuddles and overflow of well wishes comes very real challenges, adjustments and a need for deep healing. Even when your pregnancy, birth and early postpartum period is going “well,” it can be overwhelming for some people! And of course there can be concerns for the birthing parent or baby—expected or unexpected—that leave a family needing even more support. .“Nothing could have prepared me for this!” is a common and (oftentimes) exasperated refrain from new parents.
Virtually every aspect of our daily life has been altered in some way by COVID-19. Taking care of an infant is no exception. While your newborn’s needs are the same, never before have parents been expected to take care of their babies entirely by themselves—without friends, family, or hired care providers like postpartum doulas.
My name is Jada Shapiro and I’m the founder of boober, a platform that connects expectant parents and new families to maternal care providers, like birth doulas, lactation consultants, postpartum doulas, and mental health therapists. Until March, we were known for matching clients with expert care providers for in-person visits. I have always maintained that there are a time and place for virtual care, but there are certain aspects of support that can only happen in the same place. Pregnant, birthing and postpartum parents benefit from empathetic in-person connections, and we stand strong as one of the few companies that focuses on the face-to-face experience.
Preparing for a baby involves making many decisions, including whether a baby nurse, postpartum doula, or family members will support you after the baby’s birth. The postpartum period, often now called “the fourth trimester,” is a time historically when people in all cultures were cared for by close family and friends from the time of birth through the baby’s first 30-40 days.
Over the past thirteen years, I’ve gotten used to blank looks and confused reactions when I tell people that I’m a postpartum doula. After all, even with increasing attention to the importance of the postpartum period (both in terms of physical and mental health), the unconscionable health crisis in the black community around birth and the postpartum period, and articles like this one, most people still don’t know what a postpartum doula is.
What does self-care really mean when you have just given birth and are winding your way through the postpartum phase of your new life with a newborn? Well, here’s some of the simplest self-care tips for new moms.
The Postpartum Period. It’s finally getting the attention it deserves! At least in writing. We were thrilled to see Zoe Greenberg’s article recently in the NY Times – “If Only Everyone Had a Postpartum Doula”. We couldn’t agree more.