GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- When you meet someone special, you'll know. For Lisa Tiedt, who recently became a new mother, her postpartum doula is that person.
Soon-to-be moms know all about the options they have for delivering their babies, but what about the help that's available once their child is born?
One option is hiring a postpartum doula, like Alyssa Veneklase at Gold Coast Doulas.
"I feel like I can confide her in her," Tiedt said. "I felt that a postpartum doula was just a part of my support team, and I wanted somebody with more experience and more training than just taking care of Ethan for an hour."
Tiedt moved from Seattle to Grand Rapids last August and hoped to find someone to help her with her first child, Ethan. Her in-laws work during the week and, as a new mom, she needed help.
So she hired Veneklase.
It's Veneklase's job to make life with a baby easy, or at least easier. She provides resources and answers questions about motherhood. She helps explain how to breast feed and helps explain vaccine choices.
And she watches for postpartum depression.
When it comes to doulas, there are some misconceptions. They don't deliver babies; that's a midwife. They are not nannies. And you don't have to have a natural birth to use a doula.
"You need more of a support system," Veneklase said, "especially if you don’t have friends or family here. That's why Veneklase recently teamed up with Kristin Revere of Gold Coast Doulas hoping to change lives and help mothers feel in charge of their lives.
"My heart is in working with women and helping them to feel empowered and not being a friend or family member that may have judgment or ideas as far as how they parent," Revere said, a birth and postpartum doula.
"I think any mom can do it but [having] more help is better," Tiedt said.
Normally, postpartum doulas provide support throughout the first year after birth.
Gold Coast Doulas charge $35 per hour for overnight care and $30 per hour during the day. For more information, visit their website here.