The level of risk each family is comfortable with can vary, so I will discuss with you what you need to feel comfortable with a postpartum doula in your home. My standard precautions around newborns continue with handwashing, wearing clean clothes when entering your home, and honest reporting of any symptoms or exposures for me and my household. You can also count on me to follow public health guidelines and I am fully vaccinated, including the COVID19 vaccine.
This is a tricky one! While birth and postpartum are inherently unpredictable, I find that parents often have a good sense ahead of time regarding what they will need, so one answer is to trust yourself when considering this question. When postpartum doula services are scheduled before the baby is born, I think parents benefit from peace of mind in knowing that support will be there when they need it.
If you are thinking of me as a fill-in for when you don’t have other help, I will be a good help, but keep in mind that I support the whole family. I find that parents get the most value from my services when they have me engaged somewhat even when family is visiting, or both parents are off of work. I can come less often when other help is available, but I provide a unique support during those times as well.
Finally, each postpartum experience will only happen once. Your whole family deserves for it to be as well supported and positive as possible. I’ll always remember what one mother said to me as we made our postpartum plan while she was pregnant: “I can’t imagine looking back and saying ‘I wish I hadn’t had so much help.’”
I do not offer overnight postpartum doula care. I can suggest compatible doulas who are available for overnights, and have often worked successfully as a day/night team with another doula for families who want more extended coverage. My daytime presence also allows time for parents to catch up on sleep while I am there.
I will support you with whatever feeding plan you decide is best for you and your baby.
As a birth and postpartum doula I have supported families with a number of breastfeeding challenges. Sometimes I can assist with resolving the concerns myself, when the issue is improving a baby's latch, sleepy baby, learning to use your breast pump or introducing bottles.
Other times, I support the families to get appropriate additional help and implement a plan, such as when the baby has a tongue-tie or other physical challenge to breastfeeding, there is a low milk supply, or when the mother prefers not to breastfeed or is unable to.
I also support families using infant formula, whether as a temporary supplement or as the food of choice.
I teach healthy bottle-feeding technique whenever bottles are being used.
I understand the normal ups and downs of the postpartum blues and the inevitable doubts, worries and family tensions that come with the newborn period.
I can listen, offer encouragement and reassurance, and strategize with you ways to handle the emotional challenges of parenting. I can also help you to determine whether guidance and additional support for a postpartum mood disorder may be called for.
I help families to understand why babies act the ways they do, and what is normal for newborn sleep.
During those very intense early weeks and months, I help you to strategize for your whole family’s sleep rather than trying to change babies’ normal sleep patterns. My daytime presence allows time for parents to catch up on sleep while I am there.
While I think that the most important factor in choosing your doula is whether you think we have a good connection and are a good fit, if it helps, I’m also happy to share with you about my experiences. I have experience with a wide range of birth and postpartum situations.
As a postpartum doula, I have supported families adopting newborns. Particular concerns included accessing breastmilk for the baby, healthy bottle feeding, bonding through infant massage and babywearing, and limiting visitors.
BIPOC FAMILIES & RACISM
As a white doula, it is humbling to be welcomed into the home of any family who impacted by racism. I try to balance self-education with an openness to learning what I don’t know about your family’s experiences and culture. My goal is to provide full, sensitive and thoughtful care with complete respect. I am also happy to try to connect you with doulas and other service providers who can offer culturally congruent care.
I would like to be part of the solution to the Black maternal health crisis in our country and am committed to the work of changing systemic racism as well as working on my own personal growth.
As a birth and postpartum doula, I have supported families before and after surgical births, both planned and unplanned.
I welcome all families and respect that you are experiencing the universal aspects of parenting as well as benefits and challenges unique to your family.
I have supported a number of families with high-risk pregnancies, either from the outset or when there is a sudden change.
IVF AND FERTILITY SUPPORT
I have supported a number of families who used IVF or other fertility treatments to conceive. I am knowledgeable about the possible implications of IVF for pregnancies and postpartum and will support your decisions without judgment.
I have supported many families with twins as a postpartum doula, and as a birth doula, I have supported at both vaginal and surgical twin births. I love supporting families with the unique joys and challenges of parenting multiples.
I am happy to support families of any religion and have experience working as a postpartum doula in Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Catholic and Protestant households, as well as with families who aren’t particularly religious.
I have supported a number of single parents and think you deserve tons of respect and support!
I'm happy to provide references after our free consult. In the meantime, scroll down for some testimonials from previous clients.
"Collaborating with Catherine was one of the most significant things we could do for our family and set us on an empowering path of discovery, bonding, and confidence. There were many challenges along the way and she helped us navigate them with ease. Catherine thoughtfully combines her personal experience as a parent with grounded research and traditions. We owe so much to her warmth and professionalism."
- Susie G, Ann Arbor
“Catherine is amazing!! She helped me get through the hardest months of my life after the birth of my first child with kindness, knowledge, empathy, and super baby-caring skills. I can’t recommend her highly enough!”
- Amanda, Ann Arbor
“What would I say to a friend who was thinking of hiring Catherine? Do it!! You will be supported and cared for by someone who not only has knowledge about all things babies, birth, and postpartum but also by someone who has an innate warmth, kindness, and wisdom that can be so rare to find."
- Alejandra Foerg, Ann Arbor
"Catherine is an extraordinarily caring friend and sister combo who will exceed your expectations every step of the way. On top of all the help, she will tremendously help you with emotional support. If you have given birth before you know what I am talking about. If this is your first child, you will know. But you will not regret this decision.
- Purba Mitra, Ann Arbor
"Thank you, Catherine, for making this transition so easy, enjoyable and supported. Your ability to anticipate my needs at every stage in the postpartum period has been really amazing. Every family needs a doula like you–it was an investment in our sanity, mental and physical health and peace of mind. We love you."
- Sheri Stankorb-Geiselman, Ypsilanti
"Catherine was a calming presence in my home. Her support, encouragement and guidance gave me the skills that I needed to succeed at breastfeeding and be the mother I wanted to be. I highly recommend Catherine."
– Stephanie Steinert, Ann Arbor
"Our days are smoother and more peaceful when Catherine is here, and I simply can’t say enough about how positive an experience her support of our family has been. She is equally comfortable taking care of our baby or our older children (ages four and two) while making sure the household tasks are accomplished and our needs as parents are met. We wholeheartedly recommend her to other families looking forward to the arrival of a new baby."