Since many years Postnatal care has been my profession and my passion. Already in the early 90ies during my teacher studies, I worked as Mother’s help in my home country Germany. This work is very similar to Postnatal Doula work, though it is paid by the health insurance and applies only to women who had a difficult birth, had multiples or are already having more children of a very young age. Already during my first job, I experienced how important the postpartum period is and how crucial good support can be to help mothers recover from birth and bond with their child.
Although in the beginning, my career goals were aiming in a different direction, supporting young families always came back on my path and besides working as a teacher and doing a training in art therapy, psychology and holistic medicine I worked as a newborn nanny for several years. In my early thirties I tried to become a mother myself (something I wanted to be since I was a teenager). Unfortunately that wish did not come true.
In many species whose offspring are nursed, there are childless female members and there is a theory that this is necessary to assist the mothers in their task of giving birth and raising the young. In this sense, I managed to give my own childlessness a place and that may have contributed to the fact that I have been a fulltime postnatal caregiver since 10 years.
I am very grateful for all the things I have learned through this work and all the special moments and encounters which would never be possible in another field of work. My assignments took me to different countries: from Germany to Switzerland, Norway and the UK and also here in the Netherlands, I had the privilege of working for mothers from different countries and various cultural and religious backgrounds. A particularly interesting experience in all these years has been to see what an important role your own roots play when you become a mother – sometimes quite unexpected for the mothers who have been living abroad since many years. Accommodating the different needs that arise from these different backgrounds has been challenging sometimes, but on the other hand an amazing opportunity to grow and learn.
Another source of knowledge and learning opportunity have been the encounters with many woman who are engaged in the birth world. Through courses, conferences, workshops and meet ups I had the pleasure to meet women from all over the world and become a member of networks which help to broaden my horizon, stimulate my personal development, reassure me, but also question me when necessary. This exchange with others which happens locally as well as internationally, in personal meetings as well as virtual, is vital if you want to make sure that mothers are getting the best possible support. Exchange as well as cooperation are also playing important roles in helping the carer to take care of herself. Self-care should not be neglected if you want to take good care of others.
At the age of 52, I am now feeling that it is a good time to take a step further and use the knowledge I was allowed to gain in many years of serving new families also to organise, develop and promote the important cause of postnatal care and support.
It is a great honour for me to get the chance to dedicate my knowledge, experience and network to help letting this important organisation grow and expand, bringing members together and attracting new supporters. To be able to do so in the best possible way I would like to stay in touch with you regularly, hearing your wishes and ideas and getting inspired by your stories and experiences.
Together we can let this network grow and flourish. We can spread the idea of the importance of a 40 day resting and bonding time for new mothers all over the word and empower women and through them their families.