SHERMAN OAKS, Calif. — Doulas are in high demand to support moms post-pregnancy, especially during the pandemic.
Los Angeles-based doula Princess McKinney-Kirk literally wraps moms in support as part of her business Bellibind, a healing and recovery support service for moms.
"This whole belly binding experience was created because there was a huge void of the immediate postpartum care of the new mother, especially in the U.S.," McKinney-Kirk said.
She helps moms who've had complicated recoveries after giving birth and feel isolated during the pandemic. Elizabeth John reached out for help after the birth of her second son.
"Two hours into labor, I lost feeling in my leg and ended up needing back surgery," John said. "I couldn't walk correctly. I couldn't drive. My foot was completely paralyzed."
John's recovery with two children was difficult enough, and then the pandemic hit. She didn't have the support system she planned to have.
"I was feeling unsupported," John said.
Bellibind doulas provided her with a listening ear and therapeutic touch for three days a week. Her doula also wrapped a piece of fabric around her womb and waist to help physical healing.
Moms receive one-on-one time with someone trained to spot physical and emotional needs, and if any disorders are spotted, moms are urged to see a doctor.
"We're providing newborn care guidance, we're providing physical recovery guidance and screening for postpartum mood and anxiety disorders," McKinney-Kirk said.
John said she valued the connection and having a listening ear.
"I just felt kind of revived after the end of the session," John said. "I felt ready for the rest of the day."