Postnatal Doula Service
The word ‘doula’ is a Greek word meaning ‘handmaiden’ or ‘servant’, but the word now refers to a woman who has experience of childbirth and the post-natal period. A doula is someone who helps a new mother to care for herself and her baby before, during and after the birth.
Research from America (Klaus, M.H; Kennell, J.H; Klaus, P.H, “Mothering the Mother “(1993)) has shown that where a mother has time to concentrate on looking after her new baby, (and not having to worry about household chores) the bonding process is enhanced. Having a doula present for the first few weeks allows this.
Unlike maternity nurses or nannies, doulas do not take charge of the baby. They exist primarily to help the mother. They are like a surrogate mother or sister to the postnatal mother and provide a vital service to women who do not have close female relatives nearby.
As a postnatal doula, I come into the home for a few hours each day to help mum with her new baby and any other children in the family. A main part of my role is to also help with practical tasks in the house, e.g. washing, ironing, shopping and cooking and a priority of the day is to make sure that mum has a chance to have a proper rest at some point. This allows mum time to recover from the birth, bond with her baby and spend time with any other children. The role combines those of a nanny, maternity nurse and houeskeeper, but is essentially that of "mothering the mother".
Some mothers find that they only need to have help for a couple of weeks, others like their doula so much they want her with them for months. It is entirely the client’s choice how much or how little help they want.
This service is particularly useful for multiple births, mums who require a caesarian section, or who have previously suffered post natal depression.