By Kendall McGee | February 15, 2021 at 5:34 PM EST – Updated February 15 at 7:47 PM
WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – Bringing home a new baby is supposed to be one of the most joyful times in a family’s life, but for many, the “fourth trimester” is a challenging time.
“We put more emphasis on childbirth education; we put more emphasis on Lamaze, yoga to open up your hips, and what to expect when you give birth, but there’s little education on what’s next,” said postpardum doula Ardella Haynes.
When you think of a doula, most people think of birth doulas who help during actual labor, however there’s also a niche of birth workers called postpartum doulas who help families navigate life after leaving the hospital with a new baby.
Haynes has been specially trained to help families though the weeks after a birth by providing education and support, whether it be teaching new mothers how to feed and connect with their baby, or even helping around the house.
The goal of a postpartum doula is to grow strong families, help improve breastfeeding success and reduce postpartum mood disorders.
Experts say 1 in 7 women experience postpartum depression, and the numbers are even higher in minority communities. Studies also prove that women of color and low income mothers are also less likely to receive treatment for postpartum mental health conditions.
“A lot of us suffer in silence and you know a lot of that — mental health in the black community — was always ‘Shhhh! We don’t talk about it. You can…you turn a blind eye to it; you got to be strong,’” said Haynes. “It’s okay to not be okay, and now you’re starting to see an awareness — that’s what I’m loving. There’s an awareness now that, ‘Wow, we are suffering.’ Speak up baby girl, it’s okay.”
It’s through sharing knowledge and experience that Haynes believes the pressure can be taken off a new mother, allowing families to move forward together after a birth and ultimately change the statistics.
“We got to do better and we’re seeing it — but we still have a long way to go.”
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