A Career for Empty Nesters as a Postpartum Doula

Empty Nesters are younger and more involved with life than ever before. A full or part time career as a postpartum doula fit many of them perfectly.  Empty Nesters are usually moms whose kids are either gone from home or very busy with active lives of their own. As these moms consider their options, many of them are eager for part-time work. But what restrictions they impose on themselves: self-employment, no boss. Soul-satisfying. No start-up costs. Self-determined hours. Time off whenever desired. Oh, and good pay too! Whatever could meet all those parameters?

Does this sound too good to be true? Well it isn’t!  I have the perfect job as a postpartum doula and I found it eighteen years ago before almost nobody knew it existed or even imagined you could get paid to do it.

I am a certified postpartum doula and trainer with DONA International and I work with mothers and newborn babies.  New mothers everywhere are eager to hire postpartum doulas and there are not enough trained ones available.  I’d like to share with you how to get into this business whether your empty nesters or someone looking for a new career.

The first thing is… you have to love newborn babies

Yes, tiny babies, usually only 2 or 3 days old and sometimes only 5 pounds when you first start working with them and their new mothers.  If you love babies, this is the best career you will ever find.

Many people today are familiar with labor/birth doulas that comfort and support the new parents through the birthing event. Many people are surprised to learn there are also postpartum doulas: their task is “to mother the mother” after the birth, in the parent’s home after she is released from the hospital.  A postpartum doula provides education, support, hands-on baby care, comfort measures for childbirth recovery, breast- or bottle-feeding support and guidance and much more.  A postpartum doulas job is to help this family make a smooth transition into parenthood through her support. She works herself out of a job as the parents gain the skills, confidence and rest during those early weeks after the birth of their new baby from birth to 3 months old.  It’s kind of like being a professional grandma except we are trained to provide evidence-based knowledge and education to help this mom and partner make the best choices for their family.  A postpartum doula nurtures the family and makes no judgments.  We are there to empower and support, not tell them how to raise their child.

Why do parents hire a postpartum doula ?

Mothers have been helping one another for ages, but it wasn’t a career, it was just something a person did for a relative or friend.  Now as our families no longer live close to home and people in the work force are moving to all parts of the country, there is often a lack of support when young people start their family.  Grandma might live over 2000 miles away and can only come and stay for a week or two.  Some grandmas are still working and can’t take leave to come offer support.

Today many women are having babies later in life. They’ve started their career, which has developed into a high-paying professional career that she can’t or doesn’t want to give up.  During her climb up the ladder she hasn’t spent time around other women with babies or with sisters or brothers with families.  While she is ultra-competent in her life’s work, she may not feel very comfortable or confident with a new baby. After all, there’s no how-to manual clutched in that tiny fist at birth!

That’s when the postpartum doula comes into the picture and is hired.  A working mother needs and wants your support so she can learn how to be a good mother, modeled by an educated, nurturing person with an evidence-based perspective and non-judgmental attitude. Today’s mothers want to have a close-to-perfect experience during the postpartum time so they can bond with their baby or babies and not worry so much.  When a woman’s hormones are adjusting, she can be a little out of whack; sometimes she becomes stressed and worried about her baby and about what is normal and what is not. Doulas help ease her stress by being supportive. And sleep deprivation that takes such a toll is minimized by having a doula!

The benefits of becoming a postpartum doula

As a postpartum doula of 18 years I have been told my nurturing calm presence, hands-on support and education were life-saving.  Moms say they wouldn’t have become such good mothers without my support and encouragement from the very beginning. This is a feel-good job and one that keeps on giving and giving. The added bonus?  I get paid to do what I love!  I am with a new family and a new baby or babies every few weeks or sometimes 3 months.  It’s bittersweet when I work myself out of a job and must leave, because I’ve become part of the family and I love all my families.  However, when I do leave, I know they are in a great place and can handle things on their own because I have provided them with the support and education during my time with them.  Sometimes I work with families 5 days a week for 4 hours a day; sometimes I only work for families 2 days a week for four hours a day. It varies from one family to the next, depending on what they need and how much other support they may have at home.

This is good paying career for empty nesters or anyone.  Most postpartum doulas make between $20.00 per hour on the low end and up to $40 or $50 per hour on the high end, depending on your location and experience; the average in most cites is $30.00 per hour.

So where can you learn to become a postpartum doula or find out more about it?  I am Marcia Thuermer and I am a certified postpartum doula, certified postpartum doula trainer, lactation Consultant and infant sleep coach.  I teach workshops all over the US.  Please feel free to contact me or visit my website www.thedoulatrainingpath.com  if you would like more information about this exciting career. Moms and babies are waiting for you to answer this call!

About Marcia Thuermer

Hi, I am Marcia Thuermer, PCD/PDT(DONA), a certified postpartum doula and DONA-approved postpartum doula trainer, lactation consultant and pediatric sleep coach at thedoulatrainingpath.com. I have over 18 years of experience in all areas in maternal and infant care. As a postpartum doula trainer, I am dedicated to helping my students be successful professionally in a full or part time career doing what they love.