As women and mothers, we often overlook the value of support. Our society is set up to teach you how to read, write, and do math. But it seems as though life lessons must always be learned on our own. That’s where doulas come in.
November is Family Caregivers Month and we felt this was the perfect opportunity to introduce you to one of Mama Soul’s professionals, Mandy Major, Founder and CEO of Major Care, a virtual postpartum Doula service. A doula is the ultimate caregiver in a new mother’s life. In our conversation with Mandy, there were so many “I didn’t know what I didn’t know”s, which hits home our collective goal of being that resource and support for our dear readers and members.
What is a doula?
Out of the gate, we asked the first question she always gets – What exactly IS a doula? A doula is a trained, non-medical postpartum expert who is there to support and educate you with evidence based information. While doulas have been around for centuries, only recently have they begun to gain ground as mainstream in the United States. And thank goodness because no one really told us about the fourth trimester.
“While others hold the baby, it’s a doula’s job to hold you.” states Mandy’s website. Doulas can help with lactation and product suggestions, but most importantly, they check in how you feel and what you need. “We call it holding space and it’s very vital to our care.” she said. “We don’t have enough of that for new mothers. There is so much to process in this time of life. When you want to start sharing your feelings and thoughts, it’s sometimes difficult to talk to friends as the focus gets taken away from you. Doulas are trained to allow you that space to go a little deeper with your thoughts and help you process becoming a new mother.”
What do doulas do?
So what do doulas do, exactly? Well, that’s up to the needs of the mother. A doula can do anything from checking in with the mother’s emotional and mental state (probably the most important piece of it), to holding the baby while Mom showers, or takes a nap, or even just goes for a walk. Some doulas help prepare nutritious meals, offer techniques for getting in and out of bed for c-section moms, or most commonly, can answer those questions of “is this normal?”. Mandy says that those related to lactation are 90% of the questions they field. Most women have a dreamy idea of how they want their birth to be so they focus their time on that birthing plan. Mandy suggests Moms spend as much time on a postpartum plan that includes more than just picking out the nursery colors.
Understandably, many mothers struggle with letting a stranger in to help with this crucial time. Women pride ourselves on our chosen squad or tribes. But there is “a shock of assuming that we are farther along than we are” as it relates to how, exactly, to take care of a baby, and most importantly, yourself. Major Care is able to match you with the right doula for you through their Matching program. It’s about that relationship, trust and also communication styles. She expertly matches you with doulas in your area to offer the most fulfilling and helpful postpartum support.
Doulas are better than onesies
In your quest to advocate for yourself, Mama Soul could not recommend Mandy’s services more. During her pregnancy, one of our founders asked for a doula vs. that onesie that gets worn once or twice. Of course kids need clothes, but that’s easily attainable. It takes more effort to find that encouragement, that love, and that “holding space” that is the incomparable gift mothers truly need.
As a Mama Soul member, you have access to Mandy for questions and advice. We’ll be hosting Zoom classes with her to discuss everything you’d need to know about doulas. Why doulas are integral during this time, how to best utilize your doula and numerous other timely topics. To book a complimentary session with Major Care, visit their website at www.thatismajor.com.