You will learn great communication skills during your doula training. Sometimes, you’ll have to put them to work to address uncomfortable issues.
Your doula training with the International Doula Institute will help teach you to be an effective communicator. This comes in handy for so many reasons. Moms want to be listened to, doulas need to provide education and emotional support, and sometimes, you’ll need to discuss uncomfortable topics.
For example, the first postpartum poop.
I recently read an article from the Romper titled “My First Postpartum Poop was a Nightmare.” As a mother and a postpartum doula, I could certainly relate to the author who talked about being unprepared for what a difficult the task it would be. More importantly, I realized what a valuable lesson this is for anyone currently going through doula training.
When it comes to caring for newly postpartum women, no topic is taboo.
Part of the job of a doula is to give new mothers realistic expectations. After completing your doula training, you will become an invaluable source of knowledge for new mothers. They will trust you to give it to them straight and talk them through the good, the bad, and ugly when it comes to childbirth and postpartum. There will be times when you’ll need to address things that they won’t necessarily find in their baby books. For example, postpartum constipation.
For those who are not mothers, or have not thought to thoroughly explore the topic of postpartum constipation, here are few things to keep in mind:
There are several reasons that postpartum constipation may occur. First of all, if a mother was in labor for a long time and did not eat, there simply isn’t anything in her system that needs to be passed. In the case of a cesarean birth, her body is recovering from major surgery and it will take time for it to begin functioning normally. For many women, it becomes a case of mind over matter. For example, if she had any tearing and/or stitching, she may be worried about additional pain or trauma to her perineum. Or, she might think that after so much previous activity, her pelvic floor muscles aren’t yet up to the task.
There Are Things That Can Help
You’ll learn during your doula training that postpartum mothers should eat plenty of fiber and drink a lot of water. These two things are extra helpful during the first few days, especially if she is having issues with her first bowel movement. Walking around, even a little bit, will help get things moving. Additionally, her provider will likely recommend a stool softener.
Relaxation is Key
For many moms, postpartum constipation doesn’t cross their mind until they’re in the thick of it. When it’s unexpected or they’re scared, they can psych themselves out. After your doula training, if a client mentions to you they are having an issue, gently remind them that it’s normal and try to help them relax. You can suggest that they bring a book or a game in the bathroom with them or that they play some soothing music to help take their mind off of the task at hand. Let them know that it may take a few days and not force it if their body isn’t quite ready.
It might seem silly, but talking about postpartum constipation could become one of the ways you establish trust and build rapport with your clients.
Like I mentioned before, when you complete your doula training, you’ll need to know how to address uncomfortable topics with care and tact. If a new mother knows she can trust you to openly talk about her first post-baby poop, she’ll know that she can open up to you with just about anything else.