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Birthing with a Village

Birthing with a Village

Having a village, or a community of support, during and after pregnancy can be extremely important to a birthing person’s mental, and emotional health. Bringing a new baby home is exciting, but can also be stressful, and the people surrounding the birth giver will be the support system they lean heavily on. While traditionally this support has come from nearby family or local community, new methods of support are available for people who no longer live near family.

In some cultures, women have a literal village of support, with their neighbors and the women of the community coming together to help the new mother by providing meals, baths, herbal treatments, and watching the new baby. During this time immediately after birth, the mother is able to focus on healing and has more time to enjoy and bond with their baby. Having additional support also gives new parents time and space to slow down and release the stress of pregnancy and birth.

In the US, many people today have migrated away from familial support. Because of this, some new parents have to outsource the support they receive after they have a child. Parents may lean on friends and the community. There are options for paid support , including:

  • Postpartum Doula – Like a doula provides emotional and physical support during labor, the main goal of a postpartum doula is to help “mother the mother.” They can also help ease the transition into life with a newborn for the entire family. This may include doing things to help new parents feel more confident in their roles, sharing education on family adjustment or nursing, and tending to the needs of a new mother.
  • Night Nurse/Nanny – Night care specialists are professionals who can help with childcare overnight. Often, after giving birth and adjusting to having a new family member, parents need a little extra support at night to ensure they are getting enough sleep while also supporting the newborn through the night.
  • Housekeeper – Hiring someone for support with the non-baby related tasks like cleaning or meal preparation can go a long way in easing a new parent’s workload.

In the US, many parents are presented with limited, often around four weeks. During that four weeks the parents are usually so busy getting settled into their new routine they barely have time to heal or support themselves. When those four weeks are usually over, the mother or both parents are usually exhausted mentally, physically, and emotionally. Having a village of support can help lessen some of that stress, and can be helpful and life-changing for new parents.


Blog Writer: Carly Goodroe
Blog Reviewer: Dr. Krista Mincey, MPH, Dr.PH, MCHES


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