As doulas, we are quite familiar with using mantras for birth. However, what about parenting mantras? Part of our role as doulas is to ensure we build our clients’ confidence not just in birth but also parenthood.
Becoming a parent, or growing your family, can be quite intimidating and a vulnerable time. Building your client’s confidence can be a gift that keeps on giving.
Here are parenting mantras to help your doula clients:
“I am The Right Parent For My Baby”
In the early days, navigating a newborn can be exhausting and overwhelming. New parents see nurses and doulas handle their baby with confidence. However, when they take the baby, they may wonder how to navigate fussing, feeding, etc.
As a doula, you can remind them that there is no question they are the right parent for their baby. Remind them that you have experience as a doula, but you are not the parent.
I often let clients know that their babies know their parents. They know their scent, sound of their voice, etc. Even in the earliest of days you will notice newborns rooting and fussing more when their mother holds them versus a professional. This is often because the baby smells the milk and instinctively wants to latch and be close.
As time goes on, they recognize their parents and feel comfortable enough to let their emotions out. I remind my clients that my kids fuss more for me than anyone else even though I am a professional.
“My Baby Cries to Communicate”
There will be times parents will hear they are spoiling their baby or baby is getting them used to being held “too much.”
We know this is silly and that babies are incapable of manipulating parents. We also know that regardless of why a baby is crying, it can get frustrating. The unsolicited advice, along with frequent crying, can be draining for parents.
We may not always be able to fix the crying, but we can help them reframe their thinking. When they remember that babies cry to communicate, not manipulate, it can help them cope better. It also helps them remember they are working to comfort, and problem solve, not deal with a baby who is crying just to cry.
“True Self-Care Matters”
As caregivers, many new parents struggle to put themselves first. Yes, newborns are quite dependent. However, we cannot pour from any empty cup.
As a doula, it is important you “give permission” for your clients to put themselves first. Remind them that it is important they ensure they are fed, not just baby. Remind them it is okay to decline visitors, say no to outings, and do what they need to meet their own needs.
Self-care is more than showering. It is setting themselves up to meet their needs, even when it means potentially disappointing people who want to visit. Rest, nutrition, and mental wellness are vital when welcoming a new baby.
“I’m Not Alone”
New parenthood can feel incredibly isolating in our busy culture. Parents also often feel the need to keep up a façade that they have it together. This can lead to many parents thinking they are the only ones who are struggling.
In reality, all families welcoming a new baby experience a period of transition. When families are aware they are not alone in the struggles they are facing, it can help them feel better.
No, nothing is as wonderful as uninterrupted sleep, balanced hormones, and figuring out what your baby’s needs are. However, being aware that finding early transitions difficult is normal can help parents understand that they are not alone.
As a doula, you are also there to physically show them they are not alone. You are there to provide support as well as help them build up their support system. Our modern society normalizes parenting alone, but parenthood is not meant to be a solo practice.
Mantras are another tool you can stick in your doula bag to help support your clients. Ready to learn more about supporting clients? Be sure you are registered to train with IDI!