online doula

Virtual Postpartum Doula and New Parent Guide: Meet Molly Rouse

I was introduced to Molly a few months ago through a mutual friend, and when we actually spoke it was like talking to an old friend. I know many doulas, and deeply believe in how crucial they are to the experience of new moms.

The trouble is that I find doulas I trust and recommend, but if you aren’t in their immediate area, their information is no good for you.

Luckily, Molly has taken her expertise online! I don’t want to speak for her, so here is my interview with Molly and her business baby, Life Beyond Birth.

Tell me a little more about why you started Life Beyond Birth, and the types services you offer.

I have been a postpartum doula, working with families in their homes, since 2009. Over the last decade, I have held to the belief that supporting new babies and their families can make a huge impact on our society as a whole. Most of us are born to stressed out, overwhelmed, and under-supported parents who struggle with the transition to parenthood behind closed doors. By witnessing and supporting new parents, they can shift from that reality to a new one of connection, confidence, and joy.  The effects on new babies, their families, and society as a whole are profound. 

My business was originally called Nurtured Mamas because I felt a need to bring attention to mamas, as our culture is so focused on babies, and mothers are treated as the baby-vessel. I’ve always nurtured new mamas by holding space for their experiences, and especially through cooking nutrient-dense, easily digestible meals that send a message of abundance to her brain so that she can relax and heal while letting the breast milk flow! 

Over the last year, I have been expanding my offerings to include online courses/coaching and supporting couples in their transition to parenthood, and so I rebranded as Life Beyond Birth to include these new facets. 

Currently, I offer:
  1. In-Person Support for postpartum families in Western North Carolina (infant care instruction, emotional support, breastfeeding assistance, cooking, cleaning, laundry, infant care so parents can rest/ bathe), whether they are welcoming their first or 5th baby!
  2. Virtual Coaching for families who are in the 4th trimester and have questions or want extra un-biased support. Sessions are conducted through Zoom to families everywhere. 
  3. Birth Story Healing Sessions for mothers or partners who would like to make peace with events or emotions from the birth experience. These sessions are online so anyone can do one regardless of location. 
  4. Life Beyond Birth 101 A 9-week online group-coaching program for couples expecting their first baby who want to enter parenthood mindfully, know what to expect, and cultivate a deep connection to each other, and confidence in taking care of their baby.
  5. 3 Secrets to a Happy and Healthy Postpartum An online course for first-time pregnant women that takes 1-2 hours to complete. These 3 secrets are things than most people don’t talk about that will go a long way in making sure the postpartum experience is joyful and healthy.

The early postpartum period is highly emotional. How can working with a postpartum doula ease the transition into Motherhood?

The transition to motherhood, or parenthood is one of the most under-recognized rites of passage in our society! We’re told to get back to life (and a body) as it was before we had a baby; we’re made to believe that everyone else knows how to do this and so it’s shameful if we’re struggling.  

A postpartum doula eases this transition by helping new parents understand what is normal. By witnessing and honoring the challenges that the family is going through. By supporting the daily needs of the family through cooking, cleaning, and doing laundry. And, by offering perspective and context as a wise woman who is an expert in this small, hidden, and vital time of life. In short, a postpartum doula not only eases the transition to motherhood, she celebrates it.

What would you say are the top 2 reasons clients come to you?

First, curious, proactive couples come to me because they want expert support for the huge transition of welcoming a new child to their family. They want to avoid chaos and have time to focus on self-care, keeping their partnership strong, bonding with their new baby, and maintaining connection with older children (if they have them). 

In addition to that, couples with a new baby who are struggling come to me for practical and educational support because the direction things are going is not positive or sustainable. 

Tell me a favorite client story.

Years ago, I got a call from a woman who had a 3-week old. Her husband worked overseas and had just left on his first trip since the baby was born. She was home alone, struggling with depression and overwhelm. I was able to visit her the next day, and when we sat down, and I asked her how she was, she just burst into tears at being allowed to give voice to her feelings and have support.

She had been eating lots of quick meals, high in carbs and sugar – even eating a bag of marshmallows for dinner one night! – and running herself ragged caring for her baby, and cleaning up after her 2 large dogs. In that first visit, we talked non-stop.

I tidied her house, cooked a few different nutritious dishes, and spent time with her baby while she showered. I worked with her 3 days per week for the next month and the change was dramatic. She slowly relaxed into motherhood, allowing the dishes to pile up for me to wash, dirty clothes to collect so I could do the laundry, and questions to arise so we could discuss them.

After a couple weeks, she was sleeping and eating better, we walked the dogs together, and she was feeling more positive, capable, and calm. She knew I was on her team, and later said that I saved her life. 

What would you like women to know about the fourth trimester, and postpartum in general?

The 4th Trimester is a period of huge adjustment and you are not supposed to do it alone! We need support from wise women who are familiar with this rite of passage.

Transition to motherhood -or mothering an additional baby- breastfeeding, respectful infant care, preparation of nourishing & easily digestible foods and teas, holding space for new parents to process their experiences but also support from those who care about us and can offer practical support like taking out the trash, washing dishes, or running errands.

There is so much about postpartum that is hidden, but there’s also a lot that you can learn while still pregnant. Because of this, that is why I created the online courses and group coaching program that I offer for first-time expectant couples. For those already in the 4th Trimester, Virtual Coaching can be amazingly supportive, even though I don’t wash clothes or do the dishes!

Where can women get more information and how do they get started working with you?

Visit lifebeyondbirth.com! Email me at molly@lifebeyondbirth.com, or sign up for a free 15 minute chat through my website. For discounts, musings, and beautiful images of food and babies, follow Life Beyond Birth on Instagram and Facebook. I also send out a newsletter with unique discounts and recipes, tips, inspiration, and helpful resources. You can sign up on my website! 

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