The Bayside Doula

The Bayside Doula - Feel Empowered, Safe and Nurtured

This week I had the pleasure of sitting down to chat with Jasmine Meek, founder of The Bayside Doula. Both having kids very of similar ages and running family-centred businesses, we had a lot to talk about.

My Baby Organics Australia - Featured by The Bayside Doula

Jasmine brings a very special service to the Bayside community, she works with families up to 12-months postpartum. This allows her to support mothers through a variety of sometimes-stressful stages of motherhood, including starting solids. Her clients and their babies absolutely loved our organic baby food. And we have learnt some great new tricks and tips after our time spent relaxing and chatting.

So what is a Postpartum Doula?

A postpartum doula supports mothers after they have a baby. It may be the first baby, second, or seventh! Postpartum Doulas offer a variety of support - from practical support like cleaning and cooking, to emotional support like birth debriefs. As a Postpartum Doula I am focused on the mother, and helping her get the rest she needs, access resources, and feel peace and joy in her mothering. We all know that if mothers are supported then the whole family benefits. But more than that, mothers deserve to be healthy, rested, and thriving.

How long have you been working as a Postpartum Doula in the Brisbane Bayside area, and what led you to pursue this profession?

I was deeply sleep deprived, anxious, and vulnerable after the birth of my first baby. I struggled to set boundaries and advocate for myself amid the fog of newborn motherhood. I yearned for a feeling of safety and protection. I was desperate for help and sleep.

For me to experience a protected and peaceful postpartum period with my second baby, I started learning about the Fourth Trimester and began formulating a postpartum plan. I felt such a positive difference between postpartum periods with my first and second baby, experiencing bliss and deeply nourishing rest. But it wasn’t easy using the DIY approach, and without having one-on-one support, my postpartum plan wasn’t enough. When I finally heard of ‘Postpartum Doulas’ I knew the stars had aligned, and this was my calling.

I’ve been running my business, The Bayside Doula for a little over a year now. It has been an amazing year, starting a business from scratch, finding my first clients, and now working consistently with mothers in a variety of capacities. I now help women experience a peaceful and joyful fourth trimester and beyond, while feeling empowered, safe, nourished and nurtured.

What specific services do you offer as a postpartum doula, and how do they benefit parents in the early stages of parenthood?

I support mothers in a few different ways. I offer online prenatal education, mother blessing facilitation, postpartum in-home support, online support, and mothers circles.

The majority of my time is spent conducting in-home doula support visits. Having support in the early days after birth can make the biggest impact on a mother’s recovery from birth, her ability to cope with sleepless nights, and her capacity to navigate breastfeeding challenges. During a typical postpartum support visit I will provide my client with tea and nutritious snacks, hold space for her to tell her birth story, cook postpartum-specific food, clean and tidy, provide gentle massage, and make sure she has the opportunity to sleep, shower, or exercise.

While many postpartum doulas emphasise the first 6 to 12 weeks after birth, I choose to work with mothers up to 12 months postpartum. While the early days with a newborn baby and a recovering postpartum body are indeed tough, most mothers report that it doesn’t necessarily get easier as their baby grows. Every week in motherhood brings new challenges, and I truly believe that we can enjoy so much more when we are well supported and parenting within a community. 

What do you say to mothers who feel that hiring help or outsourcing certain tasks are 'luxuries' they can't justify paying for?

One thing I’ve realised about women in general is that we are wildly out of touch with what we 𝒅𝒆𝒔𝒆𝒓𝒗𝒆. Not from working hard enough, not from sacrificing enough, but just by being alive. A mother deserves so much more than a 6-week check-up and a Red Book to track her baby's health. She deserves to be cared for, honoured, loved, massaged, cooked for, checked in with, held, continually and forever.

Being nurtured and loved through motherhood isn’t just ‘nice to have’. It’s necessary! Women’s experiences during the early stages of motherhood can shape her next 5 years and beyond! A generation of rested, well, thriving mothers and babies could change the world!

I know not all women can afford postpartum doula support, a cleaner or a food service. This is why I provide multiple avenues of support, including free services. But if you are able to reallocate some funds to ensure your own wellbeing, please do. It’s not just nice to have. It’s not just for the wealthy. And the more mainstream these services become, the closer we get to these necessities being accessible to all mothers through public funding in the future. It is possible…But first, you have to know that you deserve it.

Can you share any testimonials or success stories from previous clients who have utilized your services as a doula?

“Jasmine was warm, caring and understanding. We connected instantly and I felt very comfortable with her. I really appreciated having someone to look after me during the postpartum period!”

"Jasmine was a great support to myself during the postpartum period. As a 7th time mum I knew I would need support. Between Jasmines practical support in the kitchen prepping meals and tidying up to her nourishing love and support in reminding me to nourish and care for myself during this period it made me feel more rejuvenated so I was able to focus on my new babe! I highly recommend Jasmines support!"

“Jasmine taught me as much as I could learn about the world of postpartum recovery and shaped my thinking of how this period of my new life could be as healthy and as positive as possible, by empowering me with resources, sharing experiences and providing very practical support. Jasmine also opened my eyes to accepting support, taking care of myself and she also normalised everything for me, which has had a tremendous influence on my life as a new Mum and a human being.”

What has been your best experience so far, starting your business and supporting parents and babies through The Bayside Doula?

There are so many things I love about my job, but I do have a couple of favourite moments that exemplify why I do this job: During one postpartum support visit with a client 9-months postpartum, I was able to support her baby to fall asleep in a baby sling while she made a phone call to book into a mothers group I’d referred her to. I transferred her sleeping baby to the floor bed, served her and her partner some lunch I had made, and left them peacefully eating together. I knew how good that moment felt for them, because I’ve been in their shoes. Simply having two hands free and the jobs around the house completed is like heaven to a new parent.

I also just absolutely love when my clients get to nap! I drive home feeling extremely grateful those days, that I was able to facilitate deep rest, an essential postpartum need.

I see you offer baby massage. How does this benefit both baby and parent?

I teach my clients baby massage and guide them in massaging their own baby. I don’t overcomplicate it. It’s more about helping clients set up the environment that promotes comfort, than about the actual massage. And managing expectations - Baby massage can end up stressful for some mothers if the baby cries and mum feels like she needs to persevere. Babies may only tolerate 5 minutes, and that is totally normal and okay. The key is warmth and connection. Activities with babies should feel enjoyable for mother and baby.

If you could organize a unique and fun postpartum support group activity, what would it be and why?"

I actually facilitate free Mothers Circles once a month for mothers of any age and stage. A Mothers Circle is a different kind of mothers group. It is focused on the emotional wellbeing of women and fostering connection between them. A Mothers Circle typically involves meditation, journaling, and sharing. It is an opportunity for mothers to share their thoughts and emotions freely, without interruption or judgement. I encourage women to attend without their children if they can, as I aim to provide a space to decompress. But I also make sure women who cannot have their babies or children babysat still feel welcome, because accessibility is key.

Tell me about a time when you had to think creatively to solve a challenging situation for a client. How did you approach it and what was the outcome?

When mothers have problems, my role is to help her tap into her intuition to find solutions that work for her and her family. At the end of the day, she is the expert. Sometimes she just needs reminding of this. Although sometimes the problem is a lack of resources, and that’s certainly when I can offer solutions. I have knowledge of what supports are available and if I don’t yet know, then I can find out. Saving mothers the hassle of searching for resources is an important part of my job. I spend hours on google when I was a new mother and I wished I had a fairy godmother who would just tell me who to call.

One client’s toddler loves to be outdoors, but without being able to fence off the heavy equipment near her shed, she hasn’t been able to relax while outside with an almost-walking risk-taking toddler. So I was able to head to Bunnings and gather supplies to set up a baby swing in her outdoor area. This entertains her active toddler in a way that gives her a moment to rest her body.

How do you approach the unique emotional and physical needs of postpartum mothers, and what techniques do you use to provide comfort and reassurance?

My approach is centred around the mother and her needs, with the six postpartum pillars in mind - Rest, Nourishing Food, Warmth, Loving Touch, Time in Nature, and Community. While everyone else is focused on the baby, I am focused on the mother. I tune in to what my client needs help with and what brings her peace and joy.

Sometimes the mother needs validation, empathy, and a listening ear. Sometimes she needs me to run to the shops for forgotten pantry supplies. Sometimes I hold the baby if she needs her hands free. Sometimes I massage her feet while she breastfeeds. It varies from day to day. I refer back to the postpartum pillars and try to fill any gaps that emerge.

I also have to work flexibly in my job. We can’t always predict when a baby will nap, or feel clingy, or need to breastfeed. So when I walk into a client’s home I am prepared to do whatever needs to be done, working around baby’s and mother’s unique ‘timetable’. While baby is happily sleeping, mumma may want to sip tea and chat, sharing her birth story or her struggles uninterrupted. Or she may prefer to utilise the time to sleep, so I will get stuck in to the cleaning.

What do you wish you'd known before having your first baby?

So much! I wish I’d heard of a postpartum doula and the fourth trimester. I wish I had practised setting boundaries and asking for help. I wish I understood the mainstream healthcare system and how it disadvantages mothers. I wish I understood normal infant sleep. I wish I knew what an IBCLC was. I wish I’d heard of a meal train. I wish I’d heard of oxytocin and understood the oxytocin factor. I wish I had learnt about safe bed sharing. I wish I’d made a postpartum plan. (I could go on!)

If you could choose any superpower to assist you in your work as a postpartum doula, what would it be and why?

The ability to control time! I’d love to pause time so I could stay with my clients all day, show them how to enjoy the slow postpartum days. I could also then arrive and leave at the perfect times for mums to nap during my visit.

Imagine you could organize the "Perfect 4th Trimester" where anything is possible. What unique elements or experiences would you incorporate to make it truly extraordinary?

Oh my goodness I could write a book with all the inclusions of a perfect fourth trimester!! Daily postpartum doula support would be a must. Grandmothers in the kitchen cooking traditional food. Mothers not needing to lift a finger except to feed her baby and bathe in herbal baths. She’d be a queen. And it would extend past the first few months, with her community understanding her changing and evolving needs as a mother to a newborn, then baby, toddler, and beyond. Free in-home medical care and breastfeeding support would be ongoing.

What do you outsource, or what supports do you utilise, to help make life in motherhood easier?

The concept of support is paramount to the work I do. As mothers we must scaffold support around us because we truly were not designed to parent in isolation. While my own mother is the absolute best helper, she lives 2 hours away so I struggle, despite trying hard to practice what I preach.

I have outsourced cleaning as much as I can. I have a cleaner who visits fortnightly and my friend and client recently gifted me her old robo-vacuum too and that’s a game changer!

Since having my second child I have embraced easy food and have stopped trying to single handedly save the environment by making everything from scratch with zero waste! So we use takeaways or ready meals whenever we need to, without guilting ourselves. One week we’re eating bone broth soup with homemade bread and the next week we’re having Dino chicken nuggets from Aldi and frozen pizza. I try to be flexible.

While I host women’s circles and mother blessings, and hold space for my clients daily, I must ensure that my own mental health is being nurtured. So I also attend other facilitators’ women’s circles, see my GP regularly and take advantage of free counselling services like ParentLine.

I have close friends whom I trust to care for my kids when I need it, pick my daughter up from school when I’m working, and body double household tasks with me when I feel overwhelmed. And when I find myself drowning I call my mum and she drives down to rescue me.

If you could change one thing for mothers during the first 12 months postpartum, what would it be?

I’d like every mother to have help to plan their postpartum period. Even if hiring support is not an option, support to make a plan can highlight free services, and help women get conscious and creative about meeting their unique postpartum needs.

Explain what a “Women’s Circle” is and who would it benefit?

A women’s circle is a conscious gathering of women. It usually has a facilitator who guides the women in meditation, journaling, discussions and sharing, and sometimes a hands-on activity such as weaving or making sugar scrubs. Setting aside time to come together with other women and mothers is absolutely vital for our sense of community and connection.

How do mums engage your services?

I would love any people reading this to jump on over to my website and check out the different postpartum support options. I have in-person, online, 1:1 and group support services. And for My Baby Organics readers, I am offering a 20% discount for my online offers. Just use the code: MYBABYORGANICS

I would also like to invite the pregnant and postpartum mums to my private Facebook group where I share more discounts, offers, webinars and helpful resources. Here's the link: Pregnant & Postpartum Mums of Brisbane & Bayside

To contact me, I’m on Facebook and Instagram as @thebaysidedoula, and my phone number and email is listed on my website. If it suits you better to schedule a call-back, this option is on my Contact Me page.

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