"When your baby is born, so are you."
Photo by kevin liang on Unsplash
Anthropologists call it “matrescence". This is a phase of transition from maiden to mother, in a woman's life, or from non-parent to parent for those who don't identify as a woman but birthed a child. Just like adolescence, this radical transformation (physical, mental, relational, social) can be violent. Psychiatrist Alexandra Sacks writes about it in this article of The New York Times called The Birth of A Mother.
All the changes can lead to anxiety and depression, particularly given that society focus on the newborn baby.
Whatever your gender or your title, you are transforming into someone else. And it can be scary not to recognize yourself. It can be sad to say good bye to the old you.
It takes a village to raise a child. In our modern industrialised society, families are often scattered, friends are sometimes busy and we don't always know our neighbours very well. In this context, newborn mothers feel more and more isolated, especially when they are living in a foreign country with a different language, a different culture.
Birth trauma, physical pain or dysfunction, dysmorphic disorders, sleep deprivation, malnutrition, obstacles to breastfeeding, societal pressure, "supermom syndrome", guilt or even shame. The bed of roses might contain thorns.
Even strangers to baby blues or postpartum depression, the new parents need unconditional support. Raising children is not the difficult bit. The difficult bit is for (m)others to take care of themselves in the process. The difficult bit is not forgetting themselves. Remember to put your oxygen mask first.
My postpartum practice is inspired by fantastic people, a mix of tradition from all over the world and the knowledge of the physiological and psychological transformations in a new mother's, a new parent's body and brain.
In her Nafsa Project, sharing the love and wisdom of Moroccan Qablas (traditional midwives), Layla B. mentions the six stages of Moroccan postpartum traditions: Honour Her, Welcome Her, Nourish Her, Nurture Her, Close Her and Celebrate Her. In her blog, she offers a heartwarming tribute to the qablas and explains how she wants to revive and reclaim these traditions in an ethical and fair manner.
What used to be the norm is now seen has an option or a luxury. All new (m)others need to feel loved, protected and taken care of. All new (m)others should be supported in this important transition.
Some (m)others tend to think that hiring a postpartum doula is superfluous since their partner, sister or mother-in-law will be present to support them after birth. As Julia Jones presents it in her blog, while the presence of family members is priceless, the advantage of a doula is that they are not emotionally involved (like the partner is) nor they have any slight conflict of interest (like the mother-in-law can sometimes have). The doula has experience and objectivity.
A Postpartum Doula is a non-medical professional who offers emotional and practical support to new parents.
The primary role of a postpartum doula is to “mother the (m)other”.
As a postpartum doula I work with each family individually to ﬁnd out their particular needs. Some of the postpartum services that I perform include:
• Feeding support (breast/chestfeeding, pumping, bottle feeding)
• Help with the emotional and physical recovery after birth
• Light housekeeping so that mom does not feel so overwhelmed
• Running errands
• Assistance with newborn care such as changing nappies, bathing, feeding and comforting
• Baby soothing techniques
• Sibling care
• Pet care
• Referrals to local resources
Just like for cleaning services or home nursing care, residents and tax-payers in Finland are entitled to a tax credit for household expenses on the postpartum doula care (kotidoulaus).
The company must be registered in the pre-payment register. I use the services of Ukko.fi to send my invoices. Ukko.fi is registered in the pre-payment register.
Fee per hour: 40€ (included VAT 24%)
NB: Minimum of 3 consecutive hours.
10 hours (day) + 3 home made meals + Closing ceremony = 620€
20 hours (day) + 5 home made meals + Yoni steam + Closing ceremony = 1200€
30 hours (day) + 8 home made meals + Yoni steam + Closing ceremony + Bengkung belly binding (demo and 3 weeks rent included) = 1600€
40 hours (day) + 10 home made meals + Yoni steam + Closing ceremony + Bengkung belly binding (demo and 3 weeks rent included) = 2019 €
You need to sleep. You need to recharge your batteries. I can help.
I offer to help at home, making dinner, preparing or giving a bath, feeding, carrying, rocking the baby (or babies), doing the dishes, launching the machine, folding the clothes, reading a story to the siblings but mainly being the guardian of your sleep. A little bit like a night nanny.
A full night (12 hours): 240€