I felt such a bond with her and she wrapped me in her arms like a mum would, before feeding me a wonderful nourishing meal and making me a cup of tea. I wish I could have had her come regularly through those early weeks.
According to doula, Gabrielle Nancarrow, there is a growing awareness of the value of post-partum doulas in Australia.
Gabrielle runs a space, called Gather in Melbourne, which allows women to connect and nurture themselves through workshops, circles, story-telling and other services. It also has a doula collective, including post-partum doulas.
“Women are waking up to the post-partum period and that it is a time to rest. Women are understanding more about the first 40 days after birth and how important it is for rest and bonding,” she explained.
Gabrielle said there is too much pressure on women to feel as if they must be strong and say, ‘yep I have this, I am out and about after just getting out of hospital and I am amazing’.
“You have to heal from birth. Birth is huge emotionally and physically. It is a massive shift,” she said. “A post-partum doula is there to mother the mother. To feed her, nourish her and talk to her about the birth so she can just look after the baby.”
“It is a really important time and you have to become a mother at your own pace. You don’t need to be superhuman and bounce right back.”
Melbourne mum of two, Kate Harrison, 31, felt like she had been thrown into the deep end and overwhelmed with the recovery. Even though she had a lot of family support she found herself suffering from post-natal depression.
“I was focused on the pregnancy and birth and didn’t think about the post-partum. I put all my energy into the birth,” Kate said.
After hearing about post-partum doulas and becoming pregnant again, Kate immediately decided she needed one with her second baby.