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  • Writer's pictureInga Bentley

The Healing Power of a Postpartum Doula

by Michelle Wilkins

Trigger Warning: Domestic violence

O’ The joy of being a mom!

2015 is such a memorable milestone year for me. To be more specific, that is the year that I would find out that I was pregnant with my baby boy. I was 19 years old, in a fairly new relationship and the idea of having a baby ultimately filled me with so many emotions.

On one hand, I was super happy and excited and on the other I was extremely nervous and terrified. I was young, and I was not ready for a baby. Deep down inside I knew that there were so much more to learn about myself and life. Immediately I knew that from that moment on, my life would change forever.

Michelle & her son

Pregnancy is much harder than internet “supermoms” makes it look. Everyone fails to mention the depression associated with body changes, morning sickness, fluctuating hormones and the fatigue that merely takes over your entire existence. Being pregnant was overwhelming and I wanted nothing more than to jump to the end!

My pre-pregnancy weight was 106 however I gained almost an additional 100 pounds while battling pre-eclampsia and high blood pressure. I was defeated, broken, sheltered, lonely and completely disconnected from myself.

There were many shattering battles along the way such as domestic abuse and postpartum depression. Although, my healing has always grown through the grace of my amazing son, the long nights without sleep were one of the hardest adjustments. The offset of my postpartum depression = I was sleep deprived, but I knew that my main priority was to make sure my son received genuine love and care. Breastfeeding caused my nipples to become untouchable, ultimately detaching me from my body. The days without showering were simply embarrassing and the hormonal imbalance gave me extreme anxiety as my home no longer brought me peace. The dishes and laundry were beginning to pile. I did not know what to do with myself. My entire existence was about the baby, I abandoned myself to ensure that I was mothering “correctly”.

I needed help. I was silently being abused. No one knew until I had to be hospitalized during my pregnancy because of the Domestic Violence. I was torn when the nurse charted that I was High risk due to DV. Each prenatal visit felt judged. I tried every day to smile for my son and to be happy to everyone around, but little did they know, my smile held so much pain and exhaustion.

I reached out to a doula through Google for a 4-hour post-partum support session in which changed my entire life and existences. She was exactly what I needed. She washed and put away my dishes and helped with laundry. I was able to take a 15-minute uninterrupted shower that helped me feel “normal” again.

Who knew that 4 Hours of help would feel like a full day of catering and self-care.

My Doula was exactly what I needed to help with my postpartum healing!

Michelle Wilkins is a certified doula and owner of Mind, Yoni & Soul. Additionally, Michelle is part of the team at African American Breastfeeding Network.

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, find help at the National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)

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