Theyreportedly mother mothers. It's a centuries old figure helping mothers prior to birth, during pregnancy, and post partum. They are called doulas.
Doula is aGreek word and it means servant, said Anne Wright-Johnson.
She is a doula in San Antonio and Minneapolis. Wright-Johnson has been a doula for, at least, 15 years. She jokes in that time she's changed more than 15,000 dirty diapers. However, doulas offer mother than diaper changing. They are said to provide practical advice for mother, baby, and family.
It's customized to you and your baby because notall babies are the same, said Wright-Johnson. And, not all mommies are not thesame.
She has five children of her own. However, she's become a part of lives of many children.
Most families that I workwith are really caring and appreciative of what bringing, she said.
For time mother Edlyn Behrend needed those services for her son Zeke.
I told my husband I don't knowif I can do this, Behrend. This is very daunting and I'm so tired and I don't know if I'm doing this right or if I my child isgetting enough nourishment.
Behrend said as a first time mother you think you have everything planned. She went backto work four weeks after giving birth. Behrend had planned to breastfeed. She loved her son's every breath. But,mother was beginning to take her breath away.
When you're a mom allof sudden the schedule that you've been keeping for years gets thrown out and you feel completely chaotic for thefirst couple of weeks, said Behrend.
For her, hiring a doula was just the help she needed. Wright-Johnson came in with experience and a plan. A part of that is learning to read the baby's cues.
They learn how toread their babies cries, said Wright-Johnson. They learn how to meet their babies needs faster than just having to figure it out on their own.
Kim Standleyneeded similar assistance for her daughter Hannah. She said shewas sosleep deprived her mind was playing on her.
She's there for your guidance really not just to babysit, said Standley. You learn how to take care of your baby better with someone whohas experience with lots of babies.
Wright-Johnson simply asked Standley to give her two weeks to help with Hannah. Standley, who had reservations because this was her first baby, said the results seemed almost instant. Now, she is always in touch with her doula.
I'll be up in the middle of the night texting her on my phone, said Standley. So, what doyou think about teething? What's the best way to go about this and she'll give me different options for that.
Doulas don't come cheap. In fact, it's been widely reported that celebrities like Demi Moore, Nicole Kidman, and CindyCrawford used one. While the advice can be used by everyone, the price is not somethingeveryone can afford.
It's not something that everyone can afford, said Wright-Johnson. However, the good news is that a lot of insurance companies are seeing the benefit to having a doula.
She said doulas are based on family goals and needs. There are packages which may include five to eight shifts daily or overnight services. It can be $25 per hour for the daytime and $200 at night.
However, for those venturing into motherhood for the first time, a doula is worth every penny.
Sometimes you wish a baby came with a manual, said Standley. My pediatrician said they have read that book.
Is a doula right for your family? Here's more information from the American Pregnancy Association: