When working with new clients, connection is fundamental to our roles as postpartum doulas.
We enter a client’s home at a sensitive time – many have become parents for the first time and are navigating that transition with their partners and sometimes extended family while adjusting to this new being in their lives. And then in we come, virtual strangers, stepping into this intimate, sacred space. We’re invited, of course. Our clients were smart enough to know they needed or wanted the guidance and support that a postpartum doula can bring after their baby or babies arrive. It’s our job, though, to fit into their space in an unobtrusive way.
Then the fun begins. We start building trust the minute we walk into their homes as we remove our shoes and wash our hands. As professionals, we know how important it is to create connection with Mom, Dad, and baby. That connection allows us to perform our job to the best of our abilities. That’s why it’s important that new parents do their part when hiring postpartum care. Parents will want to ask questions that are important to them such as the doula’s training and experience, whether they have liability insurance, if they have current references. They’ll also want to get a feel as to whether the personality seems a good fit for their family.
Our roles require that sometimes we are helping a mom breastfeed, which may include touching body parts to help baby latch. Or we are taking Mom’s freshly pumped milk to store for later use. Or maybe we are preparing them a nutritious meal or snack in their kitchen. Or maybe we are showing Dad how to use a baby carrier to wear his baby on a walk in the neighborhood. These are intimate acts that require trust to execute smoothly.
Remember, too, that open communication is critical. Talk openly with your doula about any concerns as well as extend praise for the areas of support that have been super helpful. These steps will go a long way in creating clear communication.