Sleep, Empty Laundry Baskets & Postpartum Unicorns

Nobody seems to prepare you for postpartum. But you were super prepared for birth! You read aaaaaallll the pregnancy/childbirth books recommended by your OB, midwife, doula,mother and best friend; you read blogs, watched YouTube videos of women giving birth, took a childbirth education class, and even hired a fantastic doula! Wow, you felt so very prepared.

Labor started (on its own or by induction) or your baby was born via cesarean - either way, you did it! You gave birth. You're a freaking rockstar!

Welcome to motherhood! *throws confetti* (don't worry, I'll clean that up...)

You are now responsible for the life and well-being of another person. The entire world and future and safety of your baby rests on you! No pressure. Except... that's a lot of pressure.

Between that realization, the worry/curiosity about when your milk will "come in", either a pretty sore vagina or a stitched-up incision (Oh hey - That's the first time "vagina" has been used on my blog! Heyo!), the memory of that very full laundry basket at home that you just never got around to taking care of - because lets face it, laundry during pregnancy sucks! You're feeling all of the feels right about now because, hormones. And oh, right, you can't stay in the hospital forever either, so that super helpful nurse that helps you adjust pillows so you can find the perfect position to breastfeed and swaddles your baby for you? Yeah, she stays there. You can't take her with you. And let's not even talk about how tired you already are... that would just be mean!

*Deep breath*

*And now another one*

I know, there's so much more to this whole pregnancy/childbirth/parenting thing than just getting that baby out of your body. What's an overwhelmed and exhausted, brand new parent to DO? Is there anyone who can help?!

(Let's do another breath, shall we?)

If only there was a person who could make this overwhelming postpartum phase a little (or a lot!) easier! A person who would come alongside you and reassure you that you're doing great and even help you adjust and grow into your new life with this tiny, new, sweet, demanding human.

Indulge me minute and let's use our imaginations for a little while, shall we?

Let's pretend there's this *person*. Maybe she could come to your house - oh! Or even spend the night, to get up with you and either take care of feeding the baby or just make her magically appear to you when she's hungry and then let you sleep while this said person takes care of diaper changes, swaddling and soothing your baby.

Ahh sleeeeeeep!

Oh! And what if this person could also help you out with that full laundry basket? I know, I'm talking crazy talk here, but just let your imagination go there... Maybe, just maaaaybe, a person who was willing to cook for you a little bit? Would that be too much to ask?! You don't want to seem selfish... but if you don't eat, that could affect your milk supply! And also, breastfeeding makes you incredibly hangry!

While we're fantasizing about a seemingly-mythical being who is basically a postpartum superhero...

Maybe she would help you navigate that baby carrier you got at your shower (You know you put it on your registry, but as soon as you opened the box and took a gander at it, you thought perhaps your generous friend had accidentally purchased a piece of... cloth? A really, really, oh-wow-is-there-even-an-end-to-this-really long {albeit pretty} piece of cloth?? Yeah, you're most definitely going to need someone to coach you through using this thing!).

As if this person isn't rad enough already, what if they only did the things the way you wanted them to? Because, sure, your mother-in-law is a super nice lady and is more than willing to help out and obviously has been through all this before... but... that was AGES ago. And your parenting philosophies are a little, ok, they're a LOT different than hers. And is she going to throw a fit if you decide not to breastfeed longer than a few weeks? You might need back up support on that count!

You need someone who is an unbiased, nonjudgmental, knowledgeable, infant CPR certified (say what?), compassionate person.

If only such a unicorn existed!

I know I'm being super obvious here. I wouldn't be making you fantasize about all these wonderful options and possibilities if such a person did not exist (Because THAT would be mean, and I'm not mean).

Yes, it's true. Everything I said above (and more) is true! The person in your imagination is stepping out of fantasy and into reality and I present to you...

*drum roll*

Your Postpartum Doula. Your very own expert in all things that are normal - postpartum edition!

Doula work goes beyond the delivery room. Yes, there are doulas who only work with moms during labor and delivery. But there are some who also specialize in helping moms and families adjust to life with a new baby and make that oh-so-wonderful transition as seamless and beautiful as it can be!

This has become a part of my passion. I love coming alongside new moms and growing families to help them as they find their footing in this beautiful journey of motherhood!

Did you have a postpartum doula? I'd love to hear your experience on this!