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Sara Sandstrom: Doula at Happy Family After | Motherhood Q&A

Sara Sandstrom: Doula at Happy Family After | Motherhood Q&A

Discover insightful information about a postpartum doula's role in a new family's postpartum transition. Sara Sandstrom, a dedicated Doula at Happy Family After shares valuable insights on navigating the journey of motherhood and choosing the right doula for your family.

 

1. What inspired you to become a postpartum doula?

I have worked as a nanny since 1999. I found a particular love for babies and new families and the dynamic they had. I was at my last nanny position for 11 years watching two little baby girls grow into school aged children, and felt a need to change my path up a bit. I didn't know postpartum doulas existed but after a bit of internet searching I knew it was exactly what I wanted to do next. I signed up for a training in 2014 and the rest is history.


2. Could you share some insight into the role of a postpartum doula and how it differs from other forms of support for new mothers? 

Postpartum doulas offer non-judgemental support for the whole family, not just baby care. We meet them where they are in their new parenting journey offering support however they need at that exact moment. These needs change hour by hour and shift to shift. We help them build systems that will work best for their family specifically. We also listen to their desires and hopes while not injecting our opinions, but offering suggestions and advice, if asked.


3. What are some common misconceptions about postpartum doulas, and how do you address them in your work? 

I think some misconceptions are that we only support breastfeeding mothers or work during the day, or that we will judge their choices. I think postpartum doulas used to be thought of as “crunchy” but I think time has changed that!


4. In what ways does Happy Family After Doula Agency prioritize the mental and emotional well-being of new mothers during the postpartum period?

At Happy Family we encourage them to get sleep which goes a long way! We offer overnight support to mothers so they aren't alone in the middle of the night, which I feel can be the toughest times. We help normalize all of the things they and their baby are going through, and offer a listening ear to all those who need it. The list goes on and on! We’re truly there to support. 
 

5. Can you highlight a particularly rewarding experience or moment you've had while supporting a new mother through your agency? 


I am not sure of a specific experience, but I love when new moms find themselves again. When they conquer the task they found most daunting and become pros! 



6. How does Happy Family After Doula Agency ensure that its doulas are trained to provide the highest quality care to new mothers and their families? 

We are all trained doulas or Newborn Care Specialists, and many are both. Some are CLCs, sleep trainers, infant massage therapists, and new parent educators. I think most people on our team love continuing education because we love our careers so much and want to continue to find new ways to best support our clients. We’re really well rounded at Happy Family. 


7. What advice do you have for expectant mothers who may be considering hiring a postpartum doula for the first time? 

The best advice I can give is to communicate with each other on the things that are important to you. You may have very different ideas on the support you are looking for, and it’s always helpful when both parties are very open and clear. Having a general understanding of different parenting philosophies will help you when finding a doula who aligns with your values.


8. How does your agency support mothers from diverse backgrounds and family structures? 

We offer non-judgemental support no matter what background or family structure. I always ask about special religious rituals, house rules, etc., and I’m always as respectful as possible. I am always excited to support and learn from different cultures and backgrounds.


9. What are some of the challenges you've encountered during your time as a postpartum doula, and how have you overcome them? 

I think realizing you may not be the best fit for certain clients can be difficult. I think it can be hard to not take things personally, especially early in your career. I also feel it can be hard to create work-life balance. A lot of doulas end up burning out and not taking care of their own relationships or self due to the hours and the demands. We have to remember to put the oxygen mask on ourselves first. I am very protective of my Sundays and try very hard to not work, instead prioritizing a family dinner with my friends and family.


10. Looking ahead, how do you envision continuing to support new mothers and their families during postpartum? 

I would like to continue doing postpartum work for as long as I love it as much as I do. I feel it enables me a lot of freedom to travel and spend time with friends and family. I love the flexibility. In the future I would love to mentor new doulas and be a wise owl.

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