Edmonton postpartum doula—an interview with Lily and Oak
Are you familiar with the word doula? I’ll be honest with you, I wasn’t until a friend of mine hired an Edmonton postpartum doula years ago.
I had stopped by my friend’s house to meet her baby. When I arrived, a woman was helping her with breastfeeding. She introduced me to her and told me she was her doula. Since I had no experience with newborns at that time, I didn’t ask any questions and left it at that.
So, you’ll understand it never crossed my mind to hire a doula when my babies arrived a few years later. I still had no clue what a doula was!
Having grandparents and friends around when my babies were little helped a lot. But when you don’t have that option, it’s great to know you can count on someone else’s support. Which is why postpartum doulas are so valuable!
Meet Ashley, an Edmonton postpartum doula
Let me introduce you to Ashley of Lily and Oak Postpartum Doula Support. She has great values and I love what she stands for. Plus, I was happy to find out that her biggest hobbies are kayaking, travelling and going on outdoor adventures with her family—all things I enjoy doing!
Ashley is a postpartum doula serving Edmonton and area. She chose to work in this career after her kids were born and she noticed how little support there is for new families.
I’ll let her tell you more about herself and her business in this short interview.
Can you tell me about your business? What do you do and why?
My job is to be a family’s village. To care for families as a whole. There is an endless amount of support I can do which is generally tailored to meet what the clients need the most.
This can include lending a non-judgmental ear, providing baby feeding support, infant care, postpartum care, preparing light meals, doing light housework, education around infant and postpartum topics, referring clients to health care professionals for anything out of my scope… The list is endless.
What differentiates you from other postpartum doulas?
I also provide pregnancy support. Last year, I noticed many moms on Facebook groups posting about their struggles during pregnancy, such as being extremely physically ill, in pain, or uncomfortable. Having had HG during my first pregnancy, I 100% relate to being unable to do daily tasks. During a pregnancy support shift, I can care for siblings, prepare light meals and do light cleaning, help prepare the nursery, etc. Again, it is tailored to the client’s needs.
What’s your favourite part about your work?
People may immediately think snuggling babies (which I 100% also love!), but my favorite part is definitely seeing that my support has made a difference with a family. It may be that they really needed sleep so I cared for baby while they slept. It may be that they needed education on infant care and now they feel confident in their abilities. Or it may be that they really needed to talk out their birth trauma and now they feel validated. Hearing that I met their needs fills up my soul.
What’s the hardest part?
Saying goodbye. It sounds cheesy, I know. But when I’m working with clients, I tend to get to know them deeply, so it can be tough to say bye once my support is finished.
What’s one piece of advice you’d like to give to new parents?
Don’t be afraid to provide boundaries. Right from pregnancy, parents get bombarded with other people’s opinions and everyone seems to have different ones. There will always be well-meaning people (or not) but you are allowed to say no to advice, no to visitors and no to anything else you don’t feel comfortable with.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Yeah, I’d just like to say that in the most recent years we have really lost our villages, yet we expect parents to do more. People are moving away from their families for jobs and affordable housing. New families no longer have the support they need. Add in the pressures of social media opinions, Doctor Google, and being a “Pinterest parent” and it’s enough to cause a lot of stress.
My hope is that we can start building back those villages by supporting one another in our biggest life changes.
Two hours with Lily and Oak Postpartum Doula Support
I had the pleasure to spend two hours photographing Ashley at work. Her presence gave her client some much needed “me time”, among other things. I’m sure mothers who spend seven days a week caring for little humans can relate to that. Self care and alone time are so important to keep your sanity!
Ashley was there to lend a helping hand, take care of the kids, prepare a good coffee for her client, read stories, play, clean up… She also helped her client try on a new baby carrier. Such great support!
More local resources for parents
As I said in the first blog post of this series, there are so many parenting resources and services out there, and many I’ve never used because I didn’t know they existed. Are there any resources you’d like to learn more about?
I'm Marie-Pierre, an easygoing mother of two and a documentary family photographer. I believe we can all learn and grow from other people's experiences. Real life stories help us relate to each other, open our minds and feel better about ourselves.
this blog is a collection of featured client stories, tips, and articles on various family related topics. I hope you will find some inspiration!