On average 108,000 babies were born to military families according to the Department of Defense Birth and Infant Registry from 2003-2014. Almost 50,000 of those births take place in 50 military hospitals around the world.
It’s difficult to understand exactly what it’s like to be a military family moving from one duty station to another. People outside of the military community would have to personally experience it to understand it.
Military life requires frequent moves. Change is constant. Care providers come and go, breastfeeding support falls through the cracks and postpartum concerns can go unnoticed.
Several of these families will either experience the birth of their child alone due to a deployed spouse, or as a single active duty mom. Some may have just uprooted their life to change duty stations, possibly a foreign country. One of the more difficult challenges is being separated from family and friends at a time of utmost importance, having a baby. It’s not always possible for family members to travel great distances to provide support and encouragement for the family. Hiring a postpartum doula helps to fill the gaps, and offers something special when it matters most.
A postpartum doula helps take care of the mother after giving birth. She offers unbiased and objective emotional support. But the postpartum doula cares for the newborn too with help like diapering, bathing, and whatever else the newborn needs, as well as educating the parents about what to expect and what is normal for infants and mom’s recovery. She will also have local resources at her fingertips if you need other providers outside the base, like IBCLC’s, pelvic floor therapists, or mental health counselors.
You truly don’t have to do this alone just because you are far from family. Postpartum doulas exist to help and support you in your most vulnerable time.