You might never stop needing support

When do you stop needing your doula?

Today is one of those days where I feel like a terrible mother. We all have them. I won’t go into details but let’s just say that my 2 year old and I are not the best of friends at the moment, and I don’t know what to do about it.

Yes, I have friends I can talk to.

Yes, I have an amazing partner who steps in when I feel like I can’t anymore.

But all of those people have jobs to do, the kind that pay the bills.

What I really need is someone who will come when I call. Someone objective who will validate my feelings but also give me some help in finding my feet again. Someone who can take the pressure off when I need it so that I can just catch my breath, re-centre and come back with an open heart and not a heavy weight.

That person is my postpartum doula. 27 months after my son was born, and she still helps me when I need her. Life raising children doesn’t magically stop changing at some point, it is a continual state of adjustment, and sometimes we struggle to keep up. Do I need her as much as I did in the beginning? Definitely not. But to know I can reach out and have her by my side listening to my rants (and my victories) is priceless. To know she will come in and help me bring calm when all I want to do is join the chaos of a 2 year old tantrum is worth every cent. Doula support is for more than just birth and the first few weeks of having a newborn. Doula support is, and should be for life.

I’m here to tell you that life with children is not all picture perfect Instagram posts.

And that’s ok.

It’s ok to reach out for help.

It’s ok to pay someone to be the sidekick you need when your superhero self is trapped.

Get the support you need.

Hire a doula.

Because you deserve it.

If you live in Johannesburg, or Pretoria or anywhere in Gauteng, and need a bit of help getting through the day, Contact Life Journey Doulas. Not only will we help you get through it, we'll help you capture the amazing moments for you to post when you feel like your old self again

Birth and the cave

In our primal past, when a woman went into labour she would crawl into a cave to deliver her baby. Now, for a lot of our modern age technologically driven selves, the word cave conjures up images of spiders and bats and creepy noises – not exactly the adrenaline filled image you’d like to have racing through your mind when trying to squeeze a baby out.

But there are studies that show that the darkened, private, quiet and cozy space of a cave is beneficial to releasing oxytocin, melatonin and endorphins and kicking the fight or flight adrenaline to the curb. During labour we want the love hormone (oxytocin) to flow, it relaxes the body and helps labour to progress. Adrenaline on the other hand puts the body into a stress state and you can imagine that stress is not an ideal thing to be carrying around when you want a baby to exit your body.

So how can we facilitate the cave?

For one, we could let the birthing person birth in an actual cave if they want to. This might sound totally nutty to many people, but why not? If you can find a safe and fairly clean natural cave where your birth team is willing to meet you, then I say go for it! (I’ll be there like a bearsee what I did there…bears like caves)

Birth Centres are basically modern day caves, they’re usually set up to be dark, quiet and cozy, so that’s easy.

But then we get hospitals. With their stark white walls and bright fluorescent lights, dozens of staff members hustling and bustling in and out and the beeping of all the monitors and you basically have the opposite of a cave… So now what? The trick in a hospital setup is to just ask for what you want. Unless the birthing person has a medical need to be monitored continuously ask to turn the beeping monitors off. Ask to turn the lights off and request that the staff be as quiet as possible when they enter the space. People are natural followers, think of the person who walks loudly into a quiet meeting and how quickly they silence themselves. A doula will be able to help you do that for your birthing space so that any hustle-bustler will quiet themselves when they enter it. A hospital room is usually fairly small and cozy any way, and to make it a little more cave-y isn’t difficult, you can even bring somethings with you from home to make it more comfortable.

It’s fairly easy to facilitate, so let the mama bear have her quiet, private, dark and cozy cave, wherever she chooses to birth. In all honesty she’s having a baby, so this is probably one of the last times she will have peace and quiet and a moment to hear her own thoughts for a long time, so let her.

If you live in Johannesburg, Centurion, Pretoria or anywhere in Gauteng, contact Life Journey Doulas and get yourself a birth doula who will help you set up your sacred cave wherever you choose to birth… and when you need the peace and quiet of the cave after you have had the baby contact us again and we’ll get you a postpartum doula