Sunday, February 10, 2013

     Gathering Your Village

"The key to gathering a strong system is keeping your eyes open for folks who may just be there when you need them."
“No man is an island.”

“Friends are the family you choose.” 

“It takes a village to raise a child”

There are dozens of sayings that emphasize the importance of community. When making the transition to motherhood they ring truer than ever.

When my spouse and I had our first child we were surrounded by lots of family. We lived near both sets of parents and had an abundance of support through our church. Our second time around we’d relocated to the west coast and had the incredible opportunity to be more intentional about creating our own support system.

It wasn’t until the 36th week of my pregnancy that I began to think seriously about this. In my refresher Birthing From Within Class  our mentor talked about the importance of having allies to support you in the postpartum period. It was then I decided to call on our patchwork community that stemmed from different areas of our lives.

Up until that point our community had been lovely, but untested as far as really leaning into the support. I was a tad nervous. Besides my WONDERFUL doulas the only other folks I felt I could trust were my brother and sister-in-law. They were going to care for my older child while I labored and birthed.

When it was all said and done the folks who I anticipated would flake brought the greatest support to our family, such as cooking meals and other household chores, while the people who I thought I could lean on the most were nowhere to be found when I needed them the most. It was heartwarming to see and feel the love and support from this “chosen family” we had cultivated.

You are quite blessed if you have built in family support.  If not, the key to gathering a strong system is keeping your eyes open for folks who may just be there when you need them. How will you create a support team for after the birth of your babe? Here are three suggestions to begin your building process:

  1. Family/friend support. If you live near your family or have a close group of friends you have a natural resource to tap into. Perhaps setting up a schedule of when folks can stop by with meals and complete some chores for you would be a first step in organizing your village. is a great website so that there isn’t an overlap of folks bringing food.
  2. You may find support through your local church or mom’s group. Often times there will be a sign up and phone chain that provides meals and a bit of postpartum support for you and your family.   
  3. Postpartum doula. Calling on the professionals even with all the other support can be beneficial for you as you begin to bond with your new babe. They bring lots of knowledge and experience on breastfeeding, mother/baby bonding, emotional support. She also can be quite helpful with light housework, cooking, helping older children adjust to the new baby. Find more information here at

Growing families need a village.

In what ways will you create your support team? 

Are there any other ideas you have about gathering your village?

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Today's blog was brought to you by Seasons Within Doula, Deidre Coutsoumpos, CD(DONA), Advanced Mentor with Birthing from Within.

Meet the DoulaTales Bloggers: Adriane Garbayo, Andrea Shutt, Deidre Coutsoumpos, Diana Figurski, Elizabeth Valencia, Heather Hanning, Ivette Carter, and Kathie Neff.  

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