Navigating the First 40 Days Post Birth with a Doula
Addison Landry is a Melbourne-based postpartum doula, energy nutritionist and chef helping women navigate their way through one of the most redefining moments of their lives — motherhood.
You could say she is your modern-day Mary Poppins, albeit more relaxed, grounded and dressed in light, airy linen.
We sat down with the founder of Uplifted Collective to learn more about her work and what all women can learn from putting themselves first.
Addison Landry is a Melbourne-based postpartum doula, energy nutritionist and chef.
What is a postpartum doula, and how can they help new mums?
Motherhood, whether you’re having your first baby or, second, third, fourth, it changes you every time. Doula’s bridge the gap between the mind, body and spirit and how all of these aspects transform after birth.
Postpartum doulas are somewhat like Mary Poppins. We’re intuitively there to support the mother in her transformation and adapt to the needs of every family’s situation.
As a doula, my job is to help restore a mother’s energy after giving birth, helping to rebuild her energy reserves, so she has the strength to continue to move forward.
A big part of that is the emotional support. Often, new mums want to share their experiences and let you know how their birth went and how they’re feeling. What I get asked quite frequently is ‘how can I create new boundaries?’ Women are redefining their lives while navigating new territory as a mum. My role entails a lot of listening and directing them back to themselves, allowing them to regain their power in a way that’s respectful to what they’re going through.
"How a mother can build her strength after birth is indicative of the next 40 years of her life, in terms of health and energy."
Is there an optimum time to enlist the help of a postpartum doula?
The first 40 days are significant for the bonding of the parents and baby, but also the health of the mother moving forward. I want to make sure we build up her energy, whether that’s cooking nourishing food, tidying up, minding the baby so she can rest or have a shower, or doing some healing such as reiki or a light massage. I aim to guide her to a place of balance and empowerment, so she feels like ‘she’s got this’. How a mother can build her strength after birth is indicative of the next 40 years of her life, in terms of health and energy.
When I meet with parents, I always say to them it’s a good idea to have a conversation about how you can support each other in the postpartum period. It’s important to discuss the needs you have as individuals and ways in which you can build a team to help you – because ultimately the support you need will vary, and may not always be available from your primary support person. A team in which you feel safe and heard is key to a nourishing postpartum experience.
What are some of your go-to resources for new and expectant mums?
I have so many! The One Commune Empowered Birth Course is incredible. They go through everything from anatomy to nutrition and emotional support. Ina May Gaskin’s books about spiritual midwifery and her guide to childbirth are a must-have resource. Nurture by Erica Chidi Cohen (co-founder of Loom) is all about female power, pregnancy, and postpartum care. If you’re in Melbourne, connect with MAMA Australia — they’re an excellent resource for birth and pregnancy and have lots of knowledge to offer. Jan Ireland, the founder, was my mum’s midwife for the birth of my brother.
Being prepared and knowing what your options are and how you can support yourself is vital. This preparation for pregnancy, birth, and postpartum empowers you to make choices that are right for you, and your family. You’re empowering yourself because ultimately, it’s your body, it’s your baby and your choice. Always.
What advice would you give to all women to empower and nurture themselves?
Always come back to things that bring you joy. That means something different to everyone and what it comes down to is, ‘what will calm my nervous system?’. My suggestion is always to start simple. That could be taking yourself out of the room, listening to music, getting some fresh air, calling a friend or reaching out to a care provider. Danielle Laporte talks about writing a ‘what I trust’ list. This brings us back to what we know is true and takes us away from that sensation of fear and anxiety.
You’re about to host Melbourne’s first postpartum empowerment workshop. Tell us about this.
This workshop is all about sharing, discussing, cooking together and building our resources for nourishment and healing, so that mums feel confident and empowered after birth. We’ll cover nutrition, self-care rituals, boundary setting, baby care and emotional support. My goal is to create a safe space where we can come together as a community, supporting each other and connecting through shared wisdom and stories.
I love being able to share what I know and be able to offer that so other people can help themselves. The workshop will include ancient techniques to support the mother post-birth, such as belly binding. It’s an ancient Malaysian technique using natural fabrics that draws the bones, muscles and ligaments back into the centre of the body, supporting natural healing and alignment.
"I feel pregnancy has become more of a baby-focused journey, and we’ve lost the art of nurturing the mother. I want to support and guide women to reclaim their power and feel as confident as possible during their transition into motherhood."
Do you have to be pregnant to attend?
It’s open to all: anyone in the birth scene, women wanting to empower themselves (pre or post-birth), husbands, partners — we’re in this together. It all begins at birth and during the postpartum period, so the more we can support the art of nurturing the mother, the more we can empower future generations.
I believe that life’s about giving your energy in a way that’s helpful to the world. We can do more of that by learning to take care of ourselves so we can be the best versions of ourselves for the ones we love.