Name: Patti Schultz
City you live in: Alpharetta
Number of children you have: 1
How long have you worked as a PP Doula?
I worked as a postpartum doula for 3 years before moving to Minnesota for 3 and half years. I have been back in the Atlanta area providing services for the last five years.
What drew you to the PP doula work?
I have always had a fascination with babies for as long as I can remember. After becoming a labor doula, I then discovered the world of postpartum work and knew I had found my home.
(Patti shown here with her PP doula bag, including the wraps she mentions in the blog and a number of other items to support the new mother and baby.)
Do you remember what it was like to be a mother to young children? With that memory in mind what do you hope to be able to provide new mothers?
Absolutely! I remember leaving the hospital with my baby and thinking, “I can’t believe they are letting us leave with him. I don’t think we know what we are doing!” Of course, we knew more than we thought we did and part of being a postpartum doula is helping a client to see that as well. Mamas’ come equipped with lots of love and nurturing but having someone by your side to show you some helpful techniques and cheer you on can be so beneficial.
Every profession includes “techniques” people use on the job. Describe some of the different “techniques” you use in your work.
I use the baby soothing techniques that Dr. Harvey Karp writes about in “The Happiest Baby on the Block.” Baby wearing is a terrific technique and I have a Moby and Maya wrap that I bring to my client’s house to show them how to wear their baby.
Describe one of the most joyful experiences you can recall in your work as a PP Doula.
Supporting a mama who was struggling with breastfeeding and the note I received from her to let me know the things I suggested were really helping and everything was coming together. We were both over the moon that she had overcome some initial challenges.
In most careers, people experience “on the job training” that changes their idea of what it is they do, or creates a perspective shift they would otherwise not have experienced, can you describe a time when your work changed your experience on your life or your work as a PP doula.
As a postpartum doula you wear many different hats. One day I had a mama who just really needed to have me sit there and talk. Listen to her concerns and answer questions. I remember apologizing to her for not getting more done. I’m used to doing laundry, preparing a meal, assisting with nursing etc. and that day all we did was talk. She explained to me that what she really needed and wanted was just that. I really had helped her by just being there. That was an “aha” moment for me.
As a post partum doula what does it mean to “mother the mother”?
It means taking care of the mother (making meals for mama, doing laundry, tidying up etc.) while also helping with breastfeeding, baby wearing and being with the baby while mama naps or showers or runs an errand. We are helping the mother to mother her baby – we don’t whisk the baby away.
If a woman cannot afford to hire a PP doula, what would be your advice to her and her family as she prepares for the transition into motherhood.
Food! If you can prepare some meals in advance that are able to be frozen and ask friends to bring food for gifts in lieu of outfits. Arrange a meal train sign-up online. Also, if she is planning on breastfeeding – take a breastfeeding class or attend some La Leche meetings. Some books I recommend are Dr. Sear’s, “The Baby Book”, “The Ultimate Breastfeeding Book of Answer” by Jack Newman, and “The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding” by the La Leche League.”
Tell one thing you think makes you uniquely qualified for the work of a PP doula.
I’m told that I’m easy to talk to and people feel comfortable around me and I adore babies. I know I cheated – that was 3. ☺
If there is a story, anecdote, quality, or special memory you want to share that has not come out via these questions please share it here.
The first year goes by so quickly and there is never a year in your child’s life with so many changes and developments. Drink in that first year. ☺