Practitioner Profile | Claudia Caldwell Clark

"I urge parents to view birth as the beginning, not the end goal. View the first forty days as a time of learning, rest, recovery, and active support."

What drew you to do this work?

My calling to work as a certified postpartum doula came from a longing for mothers to be offered more; supported in a meaningful way whilst being provided for in a way that served them. Specifically, offering mothers (primarily) a practical luxe approach to care in those early days after birth, with the option to add care for extended postpartum (given postpartum is forever)! Furthermore, I wanted to change the landscape of what a ‘traditional’ postpartum doula looked like; ensuring that mothers of all demographics could access support without the limitations & preconceived ideas around what it was to receive in-home support (both financially and in relation to what was on offer). 

What do you enjoy the most about your work? 

As a postpartum doula, I always feel so incredibly humbled by the strength women show in those early days postpartum. My favourite aspect of this role is meeting parents where they are; nurturing them and allowing them to be seen & heard. Then, as time goes on seeing them flourish! It’s like watching a caterpillar become a butterfly, a metamorphosis of sorts… being witnessing the growing confidence that builds within parents as they get to know their baby. It’s truly inspiring every single time and no two journeys are the same.

What is the most memorable thing you can tell someone about your job?

Definitely, the most memorable part of my job would be when I return to a home for extended postpartum care and am able to see the incredible change within a family, not only do the babies grow but the change within the home is almost tangible. The memories of what was early postpartum are almost erased, although still held onto tightly because we know time is a thief! It’s a completely different experience I’m honoured to witness! 

Based on your area of expertise, what can you share with our followers about postpartum care?

For you, I really love the balance between scientific and holistic views that you hold and feel women really ought to be armed with this knowledge before they birth.
During those early postpartum days, I encourage my clients to savour rest & remove all expectations around what they (and their babe) should be doing. There are so many conflicting views on how modern motherhood should look and I genuinely feel that the pressure to ‘bounce’ back to normal day-to-day life is a burden carried by many Western mothers. In saying this, I also encourage mothers to perform acts of self-care that serve them! Be that a slow walk, a warm shower, chat with a friend, or mindless scrolling … self-care can look different for everyone and we need to honour that. 
I also suggest to clients & people that they need to call in their village; prepare to be worthy of support and allow others in (be selective!!). Remember that your co-parent/partner can not be everything to you and encourage people to help you in ways that serve the family; be that with food deliveries or more practical in-home help like walking the dog. 
I urge parents to view birth as the beginning, not the end goal- view the first forty days as a time of learning, rest, recovery, and active support. Treat your entry into matrescence as something valuable; research ways that will best support you in your own nutrition and prepare for the worst whilst hoping for the best. 
Arm yourself with knowledge around breastfeeding and sleep deprivation, allow yourself to imagine the journey if things don’t pan out how you expected; prepare yourself to adjust where needed to save your heart from hurt. Go in with the understanding that you will in no way recognise the new version of yourself… and that’s ok mama because in all honesty you gave birth yes, but you’ve just been born too.

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