The Type of Person Who Hires a Doula

Hello there! Hayley here! As I sit here reflecting on the last few days, I wanted to share some of my musings.

This week has been wild, to say the least. I attended THREE births. In three days. Insert wide-eyed emoji here.
The first was on Monday (also my kiddos' first day of school), and after attending that birth, literally as I was saying my goodbyes to that family, I got a text from another client saying her water had broken and she was headed up to that same hospital right then! So I had two births in less than twelve hours, but after that second birth, I had the next day off. The following day (today), I had a third birth! Today's birth was my last August baby so I'll be able to rest for a few days before beginning a long-term postpartum gig. It's safe to say I'll be spending several days this week in a yoga studio. And also my bath tub.

Today, as I left that third birth, as I reflected back on those three experiences, each of the mothers, their partners, their families and friends, and their babies, I noticed that each one was quite different from the others. And even different from every other one of my past clients and their births. So I realized something that I'd always known subconsciously, but something many people don't know. When it comes to who hires doulas for their births, there is no "type." There isn't this one-dimensional category of women who seek out doulas. It isn't always the "crunchy" moms who want to go all-natural, as I think many people assume. I don't only attend home births (as a matter of fact, I personally never have). I've had women who plan to go "all-natural," I've had women who plan to get pain medication the moment it's available to them, I've had women who go into their labor with no real plan at all, I've had women who plan c-sections, I've had women who will move mountains to avoid a c-section. I've had women who prefer laboring at home, I've had women who are itching to check into the hospital. I've had women who labor naked without a care in the world, I've had women who don't even want their doula to see their panties. I've had women who have read every book on pregnancy, birth and parenting they could get their hands on, and I've had women who feel no need to do much research at all. I've seen overbearing families, gently supportive families, critical families, I've seen partners with strong personalities, ones who are much more laid back, quiet ones, loud ones and more. Basically, there is no way to define a "type" of people who hire doulas. The only thing they all definitely have in common is that they all care about the kind of birth they have (but don't we all?).

The uniqueness of each family, plan and birth is one of my favorite things about what I do. I used to have a job where I worked for the same boss all day every day, and I gotta say, I much prefer the variety of the clients I work for today. You are all so beautiful, so wonderful in your own ways, and so inspiring. Keep keeping us birthworkers on our toes. You make our job worthwhile.

- Hayley Dwyer, birth doula, postpartum doula, childbirth educator

The postpartum period is such a dream.

Don't get me wrong, I didn't say it's always a sweet dream... It's like a dream in the way that at some point, you wake up with an awareness that time has passed, but you feel a little disoriented by the obscurity of all those sleepless nights and half-awake days.
If you have a solid support system and a few good self-care habits in place, the postpartum period will leave a precious imprint in yours and your partner's memory forever. It will ease you gently (maybe sometimes not so gently) into new and exciting phases of parenthood, making you laugh at yourself as you learn along the way.
But the postpartum period can be a totally different animal for some of us... If you have no family nearby or if you have dysfunctional relationships with your family, if you don't have many friends or if your friends are in different chapters of their lives, if you are experiencing turmoil in your relationship with your partner or if you don't have a partner, the postpartum period can be incredibly lonely. It can be like a deep, endless cavern where all you can hear are echos of baby cries and your own racing thoughts.
If you are in a place like that right now, please reach out to us. Don't wait to see if things get better on their own. Don't neglect yourself or allow guilt to creep in and rob you of the joy you deserve to experience during this fleeting time in your family's life.
Every family needs unconditional, judgment-free emotional and practical support for the weeks and even months after a birth. This work is our passion. Call us.

"There's no way to be a perfect mother and a million ways to be a good one." - Jim Churchill

Let's be gentle with ourselves this week. It's too easy to focus on the things we get wrong and overlook the many things we get right. We have to stop that. Every day is a new chance to leave an imprint of love on our children. Let's focus on that.

 

Long time no blog!

Hello, Arkansas families! Long time no blog! AFD has undergone so many incredible changes over the last year that frankly, it's been difficult to keep up! Our team is growing all the time so that we can better serve more families across the entire state. There are also exciting events on the horizon!
In October, we will be doing our second annual diaper drive. Last year was a lot of fun, and this year will be even more so! Let us know if you'd like to get involved, it's all hands on deck! Then, this coming Spring, we are doing our first annual baby and birth expo!!! We are beyond excited to be putting together this event to bring the local birth community together and offer Arkansas families the best of the best family services including photographers, therapists, doulas, midwives, handmade items, body products, and so much more. We are taking vendor applications and seeking sponsors, so contact Sondra if you are interested in either. A portion of the proceeds of this event are going to an incredibly important and impactful cause: bereavement care in Arkansas. AFD has a heart for babies and families, especially those experiencing loss. Join us as we come together to serve and make meaningful connections in our beautiful community!

 

We hope you all are enjoying your summer! We definitely are! Thank you all for your continued support! We love you all!

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