What's a doula? 'Birth and postpartum concierge'

EUGENE, Ore. - The birth of a baby can trigger a jumble of powerful emotions from excitement and joy to fear and anxiety.

"It's been definitely a struggle as a new parent because they don't teach you all of these crazy stressful things," said Yasmin Dar, a KVAL anchor.

Yasmin credits her positive experience as a first time mom to the help she's getting from a postpartum doula.

"Being a new parent, being a mommy is just incredible," she said. "It's definitely challenging. It's nothing a book can teach you."

Molly Patterson is Yasmin's postpartum doula.

"We come in and serve the family," Patterson said. "We meet with the client and ask them what their goals are? What are your specific needs? What are the places and resources that you are lacking?"

Patterson has been a doula for more than eight years. She said doulas are not nannies.

"Nannies focus on more long-term care and are more specific to the entire family's needs," she said. "Postpartum doulas are specific to the needs of the baby and parents in the newborn phase."

In other cultures or in times past, Patterson said you had a village take care of a mom and a newborn.

"In our society right now, families live in distant areas, so it's important they have someone who can be a direct resource for any questions they may have," she said.

Patterson calls herself the "birth and postpartum concierge."

A doula like Patterson educates moms and dads on area resources, healthy habits and rights and wrongs in raising a baby.

She said doulas can offer support both night and day.

"It's a time for moms and dads or moms and partners to really bond with baby and develop that relationship as a family unit," she said.

Patterson said the goal of a doula is have parents who are hearing their own hearts, know what their tools are, and know how to ask questions when they have them.

Ultimately, Patterson said the day when her clients call and tell her she is no longer needed is "graduation day" for the parents.

"They need less, which tells me that they are finding the tools to be able to hear when baby needs them and to not be as nervous when baby is sleeping," she said.