Thursday, December 6, 2007

Overcoming Birth and New Parenting Anxiety

Many parents-to-be experience a heightened level of anxiety in the days leading up to birth. One way to abate anxiety's weight is to hire a labor doula who will coach you through labor and delivery. You can expect your doula to have practical knowledge about coping techniques, translating medical jargon, developing a birth plan, even helping you decide what to take to the hospital, or what to have on-hand for a home birth. To find a labor doula in Seattle, check out PALS. Many doulas offer sliding-fee scales to make their services accessible to everyone, so be sure to ask around for a doula who will meet your price point. They are out there. (Thank you, Jennifer!)

After the baby arrives, you may find anxiety nagging you: "Are you sure you're doing this right?" Finding a supportive person to tell anxiety, "Yes, you are absolutely doing this right" may be the best way to end anxiety's nagging. A postpartum doula can help you "find your feet" as a parent. Having a network of people who support your parenting is widely noted in helping new parents keep mood disorders at bay. Again, many doulas also do this work on a sliding-fee basis, making this care surprisingly inexpensive. In the Seattle area, NAPS offers a free postpartum doula referral service and can match you with someone who specializes in your particular need area (e.g. multiples, sliding fee scale, mood difficulties, lactation challenges, etc.).

We are especially blessed here in Seattle to have some especially dedicated, caring, and skillful doulas whose work I just cannot say enough good things about. Helping parents be at their best ensures that their children can also thrive.

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