The top 5 reasons to become a postpartum doula
There are many reasons to become a postpartum doula, whether or not you are already working in the birth world. If you are a birth doula, you are likely familiar with the satisfaction that comes with the role you hold in the lives of new families. But for people whose lives don’t allow the unpredictability and nature of being on-call as a birth doula or don’t love that spontaneity, becoming a postpartum doula is a perfect way to support parents on their journey.
Being a postpartum doula is the best of both worlds because you work to support families during raw and tender moments, but at scheduled and planned times. Educating and supporting new families is such important work because it can be a messy and uncharted time to attempt alone. With the support of a postpartum doula, life can be a little less messy and a whole lot more supported and informed.
Here are the top 5 reasons to consider becoming a postpartum doula. You can:
1. Serve families in unique and meaningful ways
You never know what kind of help a new family may want and it can be amazingly satisfying to support them in different ways. You won’t do the same thing all the time because all families and babies are different. Each family you work with will be interesting because the culture, the environment, and the people will be different, which means your job is never boring! One family may ask you to walk their dog, another might want you to primarily sit with their sleeping baby and to fold laundry, and another might want you to be present to listen to them vent about their in-laws or process their birth story. It’s important to stay flexible about the specifics of the support you provide because it’s the best way to give families exactly what they need at a time when they may not be entirely sure of what they need. It is also important to be clear about any support that you do not provide. Feel comfortable mentioning any services that you are not comfortable or unable to provide like walking dogs, mopping floors, or giving full-body massages.
2. Be fulfilled knowing you make a difference
A postpartum doula provides non-medical support to a growing family in the important days and weeks that follow delivery. This support is emotional, physical and educational. You will often spend your time caring for the infant, but your primary focus is on the birthing parent and their needs. Postpartum doulas often “mother the mother” or “parent the parent.” If you ever felt alone during new parenthood, or if you have a calling to care for others in this monumental transition, this is the right move for you. You can help make this experience more joyful and calmer for everyone: watch a family blossom, support parents to work together, support a solo parent to get the additional hands they might need, watch someone develop competence and confidence in their parenting skills and care-taking abilities. The ways to make a difference are endless and the impact will be felt.
3. Continue a relationship with your birth clients
If you decide to be trained or certified as both a birth and postpartum doula, you will have the opportunity to continue to support many of the same families who you helped during birth. While most, if not all, birth doulas provide some level of postpartum support, if you are hired to continue working beyond the usual 1-3 visits included in birth contracts, you will have more time to build and enjoy a relationship with your clients and you will get to see a full picture of their journey to parenthood, which now includes a cute baby!
4. Get what you love, without being on-call
Many birth doulas can attest to the mental difficulty of handling an on-call job. Postpartum doulas who do not attend births have the wonderful freedom that comes with a life of planned and scheduled appointments. While sometimes you may be needed fairly quickly, as in same-day support, the level of urgency does not compare to that of attending births.
5. Work with flexible hours
If you have children or another job and want to also do postpartum doula work, you may find this very manageable. Postpartum doulas are needed at a range of different times. If you want to work evenings, weekends, weekdays, you are likely to find a client who needs you during those times. It is possible to make a good living as a postpartum doula but as a self-employed person there are some new considerations to keep in mind such as: filing your taxes, getting and paying for health insurance and gaps of income between clients. With some research and planning, it is totally possible!
Postpartum doulas provide support to families during a pivotal time in their lives, and this is why it feels so good to do the work. As a postpartum doula you can expect to enjoy supporting families, feel fulfilled, continuing relationships with your birth clients, and have flexible hours without being on-call. It’s wonderful that more families are learning about what postpartum doulas do and why they're important and if you are already in the birth world, it’s a wonderful new offering you can provide to expand your practice.
Learn more about our postpartum doula training at Birth Day Presence HERE.
Laura Max is a birth and postpartum doula, having served clients in both New York and in mid-Michigan. She is a wife and the mother of two. When Laura is not supporting new families, you can find her out in nature with her own. Laura is available on the boober platform for matches.