I recently read the book "Confessions of a Domestic Failure" by Bunmi Laditan. I'll preface this post by saying that I really enjoyed this book first. It was a funny and relatable, fiction story that I think a lot of mom's can relate to.
The story is about a first time mom named Ashley that has gone from working in the corporate world to a stay at home mom. She had a vision of the type of mom she would be, but ultimately is nothing like that. The book starts when her daughter Aubrey is around 7 or 8 months. She wasn't able to accomplish her goal of breastfeeding, Aubrey is often up at least 4 times a night, which then leaves Ashley exhausted to try and accomplish the other tasks that she wants to get done during the day like cleaning and learning to cook amazing meals for her family.
Her husband works long hours with his new business, her mom lives an hour away, her sister is seemingly the perfect mom to her two kids and isn't exactly supportive, while she feels overwhelmed with one, her mother in law is judgmental, she doesn't have a group of mom friends like she would like, and she lives in yoga pants and t-shirts. She desperately wanted to stay home with her daughter, but didn't expect to be so hard. Even in the hard she is thankful she gets to be there with her daughter, but she also feels lonely, unsupported, unappreciated and sometimes even bored.
So, she seeks out support from a talk show host who is a mom of 5 and is the mom she desperately wants to be. She buys her book called "Motherhood Better" and is accepted into her bootcamp to learn how to become a "better" mom. What she finds are a list of challenges with high expectations that are unrealistic for who she is as a parent naturally, which makes her feel like a greater failure rather than leaving her feeling supported.
As I was reading this, I couldn't help but think about what a difference a postpartum doula would have made for Ashley. First and foremost, a postpartum doula would have supported Ashely in the parenting style that she desired rather than trying to tell her how to become a "better" mom by changing how she was parenting and who she is as a person. Ashley found herself exhausted by Aubrey's less than stellar sleep habits, a postpartum doula could have taken overnights a few nights a week, helped her explore sleep training if that is something she desired, or provided her with the opportunity to nap during the day if she needed it. Because of her exhaustion she had a hard time staying caught up on housework and definitely didn't have extra energy to learn how to cook. A postpartum doula could have helped her with laundry, dishes, or bottles. She/he would have supported her in her use of formula to feed Aubrey instead of making her feel ashamed for not being able to breastfeed, something she was already struggling with. A postpartum doula could have helped Ashley put together a meal plan of go to simple meals that she could master for her family, or she/he could have made freezer meals for her to pull out whenever she wanted, whichever Ashley preferred. A postpartum doula would have offered emotional support so that she didn't feel as lonely and could have helped her find mom's groups to be part of to connect with other mom's of young children.
Though it's a fiction book, Ashley's postpartum experience is something so many can identify with, which is likely why it has become so popular. While it can be fun to laugh and relate the to trials of motherhood that all parents go through, it's equally important to recognize that support is out there and it's okay to ask for help to make it a little bit easier.