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Kate Elise: Doula at Happy Family After | Motherhood Q&A

Kate Elise: Doula at Happy Family After | Motherhood Q&A

Discover insightful information about a postpartum doula's role in a new family's postpartum transition. Kate Elise, a dedicated Doula at Happy Family After shares valuable insights on navigating the journey of motherhood with confidence and support.


1. What motivated you to specialize in postpartum support for mothers?

There’s so much focus during pregnancy about the birth that the knowledge, planning and support during the postpartum period can really be left as an afterthought. Families need so much empathy and kindness after having a baby, because every aspect of your life will be different moving forward. It’s beautiful and transformative but also can be scary and overwhelming for new families. Having a postpartum doula who isn’t a family member can help guide you through this new process.

2. How do you approach creating personalized care plans for the families you work with, taking into account their unique needs and circumstances?

Every family is different in how their household functions and how to best support them. Asking open-ended questions and knowing things will need to be changed and tweaked along the way as families find their footing in this new parenting role is something I always keep in mind. It’s very much the opposite of a one-size-fits-all situation, even though there are a lot of guidelines that make it seem that way. I always tell the families I work with that I have worked with hundreds of families and no two families do it the same way.

3. Can you share some examples of the types of practical assistance and emotional support you provide to new mothers during the postpartum period?

I always check in and ask how they’re doing/feeling and let them have space for any answer or feeling to be ok. It’s great to feel excited about being a new mom, but it's also ok to feel scared or tired or touched out. I offer to take a fussy baby and let them get cuddles with a calm happy baby, which can be such a relief. This allows them to truly enjoy their time with their newborn. Of course I take care of all diapers and messes while I am there as well. Helping with feeding, or doing the feedings myself all depends on the family’s preference and feeding method. One of the biggest things I can provide a family is bite-sized amounts of information and education so everything doesn’t seem so overwhelming. Helping with laundry and dishes, straightening up, or even offering to bring water and snacks in the middle of the night can be such a big help for new families. Guidance on how to bathe a baby, how to burp a baby, or how to do tummy-time are crucial pieces of information I’m able to share with clients as well. 

4. What are some of the most common challenges that new mothers face after childbirth, and how does Happy Family After Doula Agency help them overcome these challenges?

Simply put, families don’t have enough helpful support anymore. Parents feel so isolated and don’t have safe, reliable information at hand. There's a lot of misinformation and unnecessary things being sold to parents instead of just getting back to the basics while a parent learns to parent and a baby learns to baby. I love being able to guide parents in the right direction, and provide comfort and ease.

5. In what ways does your agency promote holistic well-being for mothers, including physical recovery, emotional wellness, and bonding with their babies?

We meet a family where they are and provide them with resources that fit their needs and wants. That’s going to be so different for every family. Being there with non-judgmental unbiased support is the first and biggest step.

6. How do you collaborate with other healthcare professionals, such as lactation consultants or mental health therapists, to ensure comprehensive care for your clients?

We have many CLC’s (Certified Lactation Counselors) on our team and have great connections with IBCLC’s that we can refer our families out to if need be. If we see anything that may be of concern, we connect our client back with their pediatrician or healthcare provider. Here at Happy Family After we also have a team of incredibly gifted sleep specialists for sleep training when and if the family is ready for that. For perinatal mood disorder, we ask the family ahead of time how they would like us to address that if that was to ever come up. Our agency is very well-rounded, and well-trained, to handle any and all situations that may arise. 

7. What feedback have you received from mothers who have utilized your services, and how has it shaped your work as a postpartum doula?

Clients can be hard pressed to want to finish or stop services even when they are ready. I get very attached to my doula families and I love when I get to see them again for a 2nd or 3rd baby. It's not just a commodity for people. Doulas should be an accessible service for anyone who wants it, because it’s so necessary for families to have this extra support. Saving financially for a postpartum doula is just as important as saving for a wedding or a honeymoon, and so few people view it this way. No one ever regrets having a doula during the postpartum period. 

8. What are some misconceptions about postpartum doula services that you frequently encounter, and how do you address them with potential clients?

One of the biggest misconceptions is that we’re only there for baby care. When in reality, we’re there for education and emotional support for the whole family. 

9. What are the current trends you see in your line of work?

People are really understanding what exactly a doula does, and more people are using our services to ease the transition into parenthood. Even five years ago a lot of people didn’t know what a doula is, and now more times than not, clients already know what we do.

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