Friday, April 20, 2012

Post-Partum Doula interview

When I was pregnant with DD, I had pretty much no friends who were pregnant or who had kids. Feeling like I needed some peer support, I searched and stumbled upon a great resource - The Mommies Network. I have met some wonderful people and gotten excellent advice from other mamas on Rochester Mommies. One of those wonderful people is a mama named Petra Letter.
Petra is a Post-Partum Doula. I hardly knew what a Doula was when I was pregnant, let alone a Post-Partum Doula. When I learned more, I was fascinated. It's something so natural in other cultures, I think, but not here in the US where we are all expected to be superwomen and survive in our tiny, nuclear family without inviting neighbors, friends, or even extended family into our "private" lies. Petra has been good enough to grant me an interview to give us all better clarity on this fascinating career and support available for moms.

Where did you grow up? In what other cities have you lived? I was born in Bethpage, NY and, except for two years there and three years in Breesport NY, I have lived in the Rochester area. I graduated from Fairport HS.

What is the job description of a post-partum doula? What makes post-partum doulas different from other types of doulas? Birth doulas are there for the birth and a short time after. Post-partum doulas are there after the birth, as early as the hospital to weeks after birth. We come to you at your home to help you (and your family) bond with your little one. We do what moms and grandmas used to do for a new mom.

How long have you been a post-partum doula? What education is required to become a postpartum doula? 3 years. I took a certification class through DONA International (Doulas of North America).

What drew you to becoming a post-partum doula? I am a caregiver, I always have been. I am drawn to babies and new moms. I decided to be trained so I could do a better job.

What is the best part of being a doula? What is the worst thing? I haven’t found a bad thing. The best part is getting to know new families and helping them through the transition of a new little one.

How many children have you had? Would you mind sharing any details of your birth stories? I have three, a boy between two girls. One of my fondest memories is holding a little hand that was on my belly before she was completely delivered.

What is the strangest thing you have been asked to do as a doula? I haven’t had anything so far.

In your opinion, what is the hardest part about being a mother? The feeling that I can't do enough for my child, that I’m failing as a mom and why can't I do this.

In your opinion, what is the most rewarding part about being a mother? The hugs, smiles, and wonder of a child. And the friendship I now have with my grown children.

If someone was considering hiring a doula, what would you say to encourage them to do so? You don’t have to be supermom right now. You need time to recover. Ask for help.  Allow me to come help.

I can personally attest to Petra's gentle and nurturing character. If you are in the greater Rochester, NY area and are considering hiring a Post-Partum Doula to help you with one of life's most difficult transitions, contact her at (585) 503-0358. Thanks, Petra!

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