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Doula to Me One More Time

By Colleen Lindstrom

Perhaps you read my last post about the birth of the mother, or maybe you missed it? Either way, keep in mind as I tell you my story, that with the birth of my babies their mother was also born.  Each time I became a mother to another, I changed. My heart expanded, my daily tasks grew in number, my time became scarcer.  Each time, I was forced to get to know who I was going to be in this game.  For me, it was a rocky road, pebbled with trials (the death of my first child, the fear of raising my second after the loss, another loss during pregnancy, and then… the cherry on the sundae… TWINS). Each new experience pushed me to grow and change, and quickly adapt to my new growth and change.  I’m exhausted just thinking about it.  In fact, the idea of becoming a mother at all exhausts me, whatever the situation. It’s a huge undertaking, an amazing life redesign, a whole lot of joy that comes with a huge learning curve.

This time around, we got wise.  When we received the news that we were expecting twins, three words immediately repeated in my mind like a broken record, “WE NEED HELP, WE NEED HELP, WE NEED HELP!” Okay, I gotta tell you the truth, I love my in-laws, and my own mother, and I have some darn good friends, all of whom wanted to “help,” and I knew that I could count on them at the drop of a hat, but that wasn’t exactly the type of help I knew we were going to need.  I didn’t want to have to entertain anyone, or get dressed for anyone, or have the house clean for anyone while they came to hold my babies.  What I knew I needed was the chance to get to know these babies myself, in my mess, with my wild family, and no apologies.  A virtual “come as you are” party.  So, of course, I called on the experts at Welcome Baby Care to ease my transition.

Together, Sara from Welcome Baby Care and I set up a schedule (ahhhh, yes, dependable help. I would know exactly when they were coming and how long they’d stay), and she asked me a whole host of questions designed for them to get to know my family and our needs.  How big is our personal bubble? What do you imagine a typical day to be like? What do you like to eat?  All of these questions were designed to inform the Postpartum Doulas from Welcome Baby Care how to relate to me and how to operate in my family structure.

I’ll tell you the truth, Mr. Lindstrom was not initially thrilled with this idea.  He, like most of our culture, thought, “we’ll have to figure out how to do it ourselves, so let’s just jump in and do it.” Well, he’s right, sort of.  We do have to figure out how to do the parenting thing, and you know what, asking for help doesn’t mean that you’re not figuring it out, it means that you are asking for support in a grand transition which most cultures take far more seriously than ours does.  Think about all the time and attention you put into your pregnancy and your birth… and then you cross the bridge, a few people come over to rock the baby and hold the baby sometimes, and then everyone disappears and real life sets in.  Yuck.  I didn’t want that this time around, and I used my amazing persuasion skills to talk Mr. Lindstrom over to my side.

Two hours into Tory’s (our Postpartum Doula’s) first day on the job, Mr. Lindstrom pulled me aside and told me, “this is the best money we’ve ever spent.” Music to my ears.  I agree.  The first six weeks of my premature twins’ life are not a blur to me, as were the first weeks of the lives of my first two babies.  Instead, I remember many moments clear as crystal.  I remember sitting in my clean (thanks, Tory) living room, holding my babies and making faces at them while they cooed. I remember eating real, hot food, prepared in my clean kitchen (thanks, Tory), and caring for my nursing body while my babies with fully bellies slept beside me.  I remember wearing clean clothes (thanks, Tory) and having more to put on after the inevitable spit up occurred.  I remember leaving my beautiful babies at home with a trusted newborn expert (thanks, Tory) while I went on a date with my older child who was adjusting to the two new babies in the house.  I remember getting long full night’s sleep while our doula stayed with the babies and answered their hungry cries, just for that night, so that Mr. Lindstrom and I could log a few hours of uninterrupted sleep.  As for myself, there were fewer tears (in fact, I only remember happy cries) in the first weeks than there had been with my previous children, and I always knew when my Postpartum Doula was going to arrive to mother me.  For me, it wasn’t an indulgence it was a necessity.  I can honestly tell you that my one and only regret was that we didn’t depend on a Postpartum Doula the first couple of times around the block.

Sometimes I am not sure that there are words to accurately convey my passion for the experience I had with the support of a Postpartum Doula.  Actually, I am positive that I cannot use our common language to describe the bliss of being mothered into motherhood.  What I know is that the women who choose this profession are honored to be a part of this intimate time, and they respect it, and YOU in it.  It is a remarkable sisterhood unlike anything I’ve ever experienced.  And even that doesn’t say enough…

For more about Postpartum Doulas click here.

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