We’ve all seen the newborn diaper and formula commercials that show a beautiful mother who looks well rested, and has her long wavy hair pulled back in a pony tail, rocking her sleeping or smiling baby in a perfectly decorated and tidy nursery, while smiling and singing a lullaby.
Yeah, real life mostly isn’t like that.
Lets face it, adjusting to life with a new baby isn’t easy, and it often isn’t pretty. Your body is sore and feels different than it did 9 months ago. You are most likely exhausted, and haven’t had a proper shower in a couple days. Meals have become whatever is easy, or if you are lucky, casseroles brought by thoughtful friends. That sweet little newborn cries a lot, and sometimes you are at a loss on how to comfort him. Keeping the house clean and the laundry done have been put on the back burner, while you try to figure out a feeding schedule and how to fit in a nap. Then of course there are the visitors, who want to see and hold your precious new person. They sometimes come bearing gifts, not to mention noise, interruptions, and unwanted advice. They would be happy to hold the baby for you while you clean up or make dinner, but what you really want is to rest and bond with your baby while someone else worries about the day to day details.
This is where a postpartum doula comes in. This trained, compassionate professional can help make your postpartum time look a little more like the commercials. She comes to you on your schedule, and her only agenda is to help you in whatever ways you need most. She can be that extra set of hands to prepare meals, throw in a load of laundry, tidy up the kitchen or living room, wash the bottles or breast pump, and help your home feel a little more normal. She can answer questions about your recovery, and if what you are feeling and experiencing are normal. She can help you feel more comfortable with breastfeeding or bottle feeding and will never question your choices. You can feel confident leaving your brand new baby in her care while you take a shower or get a good nap in, because you know she is skilled and will respect your wishes for your child’s care. She can also be that listening ear if you need to talk about your birth experience, or the struggles you are having with adjusting to life with a new baby, all the while she will validate your feelings and never judging. And don’t forget, not only is she there for you, but for your spouse or partner as well, because dads need support too!
If this sounds like the kind of support you are wishing for, contact Hava Doula today and book your postpartum doula!
~Amber VanderJagt – Owner, labor and postpartum doula
Ethan is my rainbow baby.
Some won’t understand what that means, and far too many will.
A rainbow baby is a baby born after miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant loss.
We lost our son, Logan, when he was 10 months old due to effects of a brain injury he suffered at birth. That’s the short story, and maybe I will tell the longer version in another blog someday. Today, I am going to focus on Ethan. His birthday is coming up in a couple of weeks, and, as with all our kiddos, it brings back memories of the days and weeks leading up to his birth.
It had been not quite a year since Logan died, that we found out we were pregnant again. I had been wanting to have another baby for a while, but my husband wasn’t so crazy about the idea. The hurt was too deep. The fear still too fresh. He knew it was what I really wanted though, and so he reluctantly agreed. The feeling of having life growing inside me again, was like a beam of sunlight breaking through the heavy, oppressive clouds I had been living under.
Expecting a rainbow baby often comes with a whole storm of emotions.
Hope of a new little one who brings love, joy, and laughter.
Fear of something going wrong again.
Guilt for feeling happiness in grief or grief in the happiness.
It can also come with a lot of opinions or judgement from others.
“Why would you risk it with what happened before?”
“Aren’t you rushing into this? It hasn’t been that long.”
“How wonderful that you’re having another baby to replace the one you lost!”
That last one always bothered me the most. I was astounded, by how many people actually thought I was looking to replace my little Logan love. Like that would ever be possible.
My pregnancy with Ethan was rather complicated. I was on bed rest for 4 months and had to be hospitalized twice to stop labor. Even without these complications, it would have been stressful. I couldn’t stop thinking about what happened with Logan. I had to keep myself grounded in the present moment to keep anxiety at bay.
This baby was alive and I could feel him moving…wait. When did he move last? ————-
Whew! There’s a kick!
This baby would be born via cesarean so I didn’t have to worry about a cord prolapse again.
But what if…
Nope not gonna go there.
I counted off the days until it was safe for him to be born, but the worry didn’t stop there.
After he was born, I would check on him multiple times during the night to be sure he was still breathing. If he napped too long, I would panic and run to check on him. I couldn’t lay him on his quilt on the living room floor, because that was where Logan had stopped breathing. I don’t think I could really relax into a “normal” level of parental worry until his first birthday.
But no amount of fear or stress could dim the light he has been in our lives. He brought joy and laughter back into our home. That doesn’t mean he is perfect, or that he doesn’t drive me crazy at times. He fights with his brother and refuses to do school some days, just like any other kid.
Our storm was dark and vicious, and sometimes there is still thunder in the distance.
A rainbow doesn’t always mean the storm has ended, it is just a reminder that hope and beauty still exist.
Ethan is our rainbow.