Mary Ellen Gabrielsen
Postpartum Doula Services
Celebrating the Beginning of Life
(206) 683-8366
Certified Postpartum Doula (NAPS) serving the Seattle metropolitan area since 1998

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"Yeah! It's a Mary Ellen Day!"

(Reprinted from the North Seattle Families of Multiples newsletter)

By Jane Enterline

Before my twins were born I was fortunate to have the foresight to hire a postpartum doula. The single most common advice I had heard from mothers of twins was “get whatever help you can.” I don’t need to tell most of you that the first few months with twins are intense. Even with my husband and relatives, it’s hard to imagine how we would have handled around-the-clock breastfeeding, food preparation and housework without Mary Ellen, our doula. Mary Ellen came to our home three days a week; I would wake up on those days and think, ”Yeah, it’s a Mary Ellen day!”

“Doula” is a Greek word meaning “mother’s helper.” The focus of a doula is to care for the mother as much as for the children. A doula is a trained and experienced person who is there to provide emotional and physical support for mothers, babies and the entire family. Our doula arrived in our home within weeks of the babies’ births, assessed our situation and responded to our needs. Our doula was instrumental in counseling and supporting us through the successful breastfeeding of our children. She made sure I received the nourishment I needed and helped to keep our house in some semblance of order. In addition to mother and baby care, a doula’s role can include light housework, shopping, food preparation, caring for older siblings, coordination support from family and friends, and providing a list of additional resources.

There is no doubt that hiring a doula can be expensive*, but it is an investment from which we have seen growing returns. It is important to find a doula that is compatible with your family’s lifestyle. I recommend interviewing a few doulas to find one that you believe will meet your needs and with whom you can communicate and be comfortable. You should look for a doula that will listen, be supportive (not judgmental), will take initiative, and will offer expertise and advice. Not every doula experience is perfect, but focused help during those early months has proven to be incredibly beneficial to me, to my children, and to the rest of my family.

*Some doulas have a sliding scale based on financial need. Your employer may reimburse some of the costs. (It never hurts to ask.) Doula care is an ideal gift from friends and family.

For more information on doula care or to obtain a list of doulas, contact Northwest Association for Postpartum Support (NAPS) at

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