Meet Our Experts! Join us for a FREE Open House Q&A Session – Sunday 4/21.  RSVP NOW →

By Courtney Poirier

Caregiver Support

Dear NEDS Village,

Last night, I was driving to work and listening to a podcast that really stirred my soul. The topic of the podcast was discussing the care crisis that exists in the United States and the overwhelming burden it is placing on caregivers in our country, mostly women.  We were never intended to raise families and care for aging parents alone.  A village used to exist.  But now, due to changes that have transpired over many years, we are doing this without support or with some support that may not feel like enough.  And although caregivers might feel exhausted and overwhelmed, we keep going in this mission because to say that you cannot means you are falling short for a loved one…and that is a burden we cannot bear.  The podcast shared that while other countries have systems and infrastructure in place to support care, the United Stated does not.  We are feeling the strain and the realistic questions to ask is how much longer can we keep going like this?  How much farther can we stretch ourselves before we break?

Finding Your Village / Care Squad

A call to action the podcast suggested was to find your “care squad.”  In my own life, I am blessed to have a care squad.  It has looked different over the years when I have needed them, but that village, that squad, was there if I asked for help and sometimes even when I did not but they could see it was needed.  I know not everyone is as lucky as I am to have that squad at the ready, so it is important to take time and think about how we can build our squads before we break.

While I am a mom to two boys, one is almost 12 years old and the other just turned 10 years old, I have also chosen to consistently work in a caregiver profession.  I love being on someone’s care squad and showing up in ways that matter the most by completing actions that may seem so small, but the impact is huge.  I started my professional journey as an elementary school teacher, transitioned to a home daycare provided, and ultimately have found my heart sings as a postpartum doula and infant sleep coach.

Being in a career that is not typical, many people ask what I actually do when I tell them what my job title is.  And after listening to this podcast last night, my answer has changed from listing off a variety of responsibilities I take on to this:

“Being a postpartum doula and sleep coach means I am joining someone’s family during a unique and vulnerable transition time. I see their real and their mess (honestly, I hope to because no client should be cleaning before I come)…”

I am on someone’s care squad. 

Being a postpartum doula and sleep coach means I am joining someone’s family during a unique and vulnerable transition time.  because each family I support is in the messy middle of transitioning from what they were before to who they are now that a new member of their family has arrived.

Much of my work is often assuming care of a newborn so the caregivers of the family can get that rest or that opportunity to attend to something else that was weighing on them all day and can finally be checked off the list.

I approach each visit to a family’s home as an opportunity to allow them time to breath and take a break from the demands they are encountering.

Along with infant care, I

  • wash and sterilize bottles and pump parts,
  • freeze pumped human milk,
  • empty dishwashers,
  • fold laundry,
  • sort new baby clothes into drawers,
  • and many more typical family related tasks.

I have also

  • wrapped Christmas presents,
  • assembled a water purifier (with my husband quietly coaching me over FaceTime at midnight),
  • prepped frosting for a gingerbread house decorating party,
  • scrubbed kitchens after the dinnertime chaos,
  • and listened to moms and dads confide in me when it’s hard and they don’t know if they are doing it right.

“It is a privilege to join these families’ care squads for the brief time I am with them, and my favorite part of my role is knowing something I did that felt small to me felt huge to them when they woke up in the morning and knew it was no longer on their plate.”

It is a privilege to join these families’ care squads for the brief time I am with them, and my favorite part of my role is knowing something I did that felt small to me felt huge to them when they woke up in the morning and knew it was no longer on their plate.

As a country, we should be doing a better job to address this care crisis.  I am hopeful that someday soon the systems for support will start to work and the infrastructure will be built.  Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and many companies are starting to make strides in recognizing a village is needed during the postpartum time.  Doula care is a support some individuals can now have access to through their health insurance for company benefits.  It is a step in the right direction to make care like this available to families at a time when they need it most.  We need to provide more care support than this to end the care crisis, but it is absolutely a step in the right direction.

Please Reach Out

If you or someone you know is feeling depleted from postpartum caregiving responsibilities, please reach out.  NEDS is dedicated to being a member of your care squad so you can focus on yourself and a moment to rest.  If you’re interested in learning more about the care crisis in the US, I have included the link for the podcast I listened to below.  Together we will all find our village <3

Much love,

Courtney

Podcast Link: We Can Do Hard Things (Episode 246) The Answer to Caregiving Burnout with Ai-Jen Poo

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Courtney P

Courtney Poirier

New England Doula Support Sleep Consultant

Courtney has over 18 years of experience caring for children ranging from infants to school aged.  She was an elementary school teacher for just under ten years before leaving to spend more time with her husband and sons. Shortly after leaving the classroom, she managed a small childcare in her home. This role gave her the opportunity to nurture the children in her care while consistently communicating and offering requested advice to parents regarding feeding and sleeping schedules as well as general developmental concerns. After closing her daycare, Courtney transitioned to the role of a newborn care expert and later a trained postpartum doula and infant sleep coach. It brings her such joy to provide support to families as they navigate the newborn stage of their baby’s life. Courtney’s extensive experience with newborn/infant care, sleep coaching, reflux, colic, and caring for multiples serves to put new families at ease as they navigate the fourth trimester.  Courtney is a trained CAPPA postpartum doula and a certified infant sleep professional. In her spare time, Courtney enjoys adventures with her family, practicing yoga, going for a run, or reading a good book.