Navigating Parenthood

Dear Life Doula supports newborn parents


JEN MANGIACAPRE, doula and owner of Dear Life Doula, adores babies, new mommies, and helping them both get through those first crucial weeks successfully.

With Mangiacapre’s help, mothers not only learn the best ways to care for newborns, they also get some much-needed breaks from mommiedom.

Her duties include offering professional advice, listening to the mother’s concerns, and watching the baby while the mother relaxes, doing housework, or engaging in some other task. Mangiacapre also does laundry, light housekeeping, and meal preparation.

“My primary role is to mother the mother,” says Mangiacapre. “I provide practical and emotional non-judgmental support.”

Helping newborns and mothers get off to a good start is the perfect job for Mangiacapre.

The first of 15 grandchildren, she was always the one asking to hold a baby, Mangiacapre says. However, it wasn’t until her best friend hired a doula that Mangiacapre learned about the profession. Thrilled that such a career exists, Mangiacapre earned her doula certification in postpartum and infant care.

Since Mangiacapre went into business in 2016, she has gained a solid reputation in Wilmington. Though the majority of Mangiacapre’s clients are new mothers, experienced moms also call on her for help getting through the first few weeks after giving birth.

While Mangiacapre may perform many practical tasks, she is much more than an extra pair of hands. With her professional training, expertise, and experience, she imparts a wealth of knowledge to her clients. Mangiacapre guides moms, and dads, through the various situations they encounter with a newborn, gives parents coping mechanisms, helps mothers determine when they need to call their pediatrician, and answers myriad questions about newborns and their behavior.

She also counsels mothers who experience the baby blues, watches for signs of postpartum depression, and offers advice on family issues that can arise with a new baby.

At the end of her time with a mother, Mangiacapre says the mom knows what she needs going forward and how to advocate for it.

COVID-19 has made caring for a newborn more challenging, and Mangiacapre offers these tips to mothers:

  • Identify your support system before you give birth
  • Visualize what your birth will look like during this new normal
  • Contact your pediatrician to learn his or her procedures for newborn office visits
  • Find time to relax
  • Lean on friends for help such as grocery runs, meals, and social distancing visits
  • Join an online support group or class for mothers
  • Have confidence in yourself.

Even with the restrictions imposed by COVID-19, Mangiacarpe is still there for her mothers. In addition to dropping off meals, she visits them virtually and uses props and pictures to demonstrate and assess infant feeding and newborn care. Mangiacapre also monitors the mothers’ self-care and physical recover with online consults. As always, clients can reach her via phone and text.

“I can still process situations, even if it’s not hands-on,” Mangiacarpe says.

Whether working with mothers in person or online, Mangiacapre is committed to ensuring mothers of newborns and their families will thrive.

“It’s so rewarding to be able to work with families, make them feel comfortable, and line them up to be successful,” she says.

Categories: Health