Part 2 of The Value of Postpartum Support
by Amanda Rose, Postpartum Certified Doula, http://www.babymoonandbeyondpostpartumdoula.com/
Many families are realizing the importance of competent, professional support from a Postpartum Doula during the fourth trimester, but most are still trying to see it as a valuable investment rather than a luxury expense.
To put things into perspective when looking to invest in a postpartum doula, consider the amount of money you will be saving both immediately and in the long term, and consider how postpartum care can easily become a priority when budgeting.
There are many ways to count the savings you will be making with hiring a postpartum doula. First, you can avoid the pitfalls of all the baby gadgets and gear that many new parents buy and try out only to discover that they are unnecessary, unhelpful, or go unused. A Postpartum Doula may support and encourage parents as they wade through all their purchasing options, educating on usefulness, safety, and investment value. Then parents can make sound, conscious selections of items they truly need and want rather than ending up with piles of baby-gear in corners and closets.
Another expense that arises often for postpartum families are days and weeks of takeout and convenience foods because everyone is focusing on all the other aspects of adjusting to life with a newborn. Healthy food, although an essential element to postpartum recovery, can become a task mostly neglected. A Postpartum Doula may support and encourage a family by helping to create a “meal train” of food brought over regularly by family, friends, and neighbors. A Postpartum Doula makes sure that there is nutritious food being served to the entire family by picking up items at the store, preparing snacks, helping to prepare dinner, keeping the kitchen organized, and always assessing how well mom and family are being fed.
Finally, although it is a good idea to hire a house cleaner for regular or semi-regular deep cleaning and to have a regular childcare provider in place, postpartum families may feel so overwhelmed with the daily tasks of the home and balancing the needs of siblings that hiring daily assistance just to keep up with the dishes, laundry, and childcare might start to sound appealing. A Postpartum Doula may support and encourage the family by helping keep the house tidy and organized and enhancing sibling care, while also providing social, intellectual, and emotional support for the entire family – something many other hired support systems do not address.
Long-term savings from hiring a postpartum doula come with confidence, security and health. A family who is under-supported when coping with the adjustment of a new baby is more at risk to experience postpartum mood disorders, long-term health complications, and domestic abuse. Hiring a Postpartum Doula for support and encouragement in the first precious weeks will aid everyone in a family to completely heal physically and emotionally after the pregnancy and birth. It may reduce the risk of postpartum mood disorders, may increase the success of a breastfeeding relationship, and can help build confidence and security by supporting and encouraging the family’s choices and decisions. A Postpartum Doula may teach skills and coping techniques such as flexibility, adaptability, and weighing risks, benefits, and alternatives that a family can use when faced with challenges that can lay ahead in your years of parenting.
The investment of hiring a Postpartum Doula may benefit most families, but it can be seen as a stretch for budgets that already have very little room for extra expenses. Here are some ideas to help a family shift their budget to allow them to invest in the essential services provided by a Postpartum Doula:
- begin saving as soon as pregnancy begins, or before: saving $5 or $10 a week for the duration of a pregnancy will give a family a solid amount to invest in a postpartum doula.
- find out if your insurance or health savings plan will reimburse you for Postpartum Doula Care
- When friends or family ask what they can buy for the baby, ask them to contribute to a postpartum doula fund
- set aside all the money estimated to be spent on convenience foods, extra house cleaning, extra childcare, and other adjustment support expenses and invest them in extra support of a Postpartum Doula
- Ask a prospective Postpartum Doula about sliding scales, discounts on packages, or scholarships
- Some Postpartum Doulas who are training offer reduced rates to families who help with certification steps.
Hopefully these ideas give a good starting point when deciding how to make room for the temporary investment of a Postpartum Doula during the first precious weeks after a baby is born. While it is really a small amount of time in the entire journey of a family, the investment will bring many returns on health, confidence, and security. A Postpartum Doula is a perfect addition to any or all postpartum support systems.
Dennis, Cindy-Lee. Psychosocial and psychological interventions for prevention of postnatal depression: systematic review. (2005 Jul 2 ). Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC558531/
DONNA International. The DONA International Position Paper: The Postpartum Doula. Available at: http://www.dona.org/PDF/positionpaper_PPdoula_083011.pdf
Corvalis Proud Mama Support Services. Affording Doula Care. www.proudmamasupportservices.com