Moms may be the experts on everything, but Taylar Klecan is the expert on everything moms.
Taylar is a holistic home birth and postpartum doula with a homebase in New Jersey. Having been an infant assistant teacher for 8 years, Taylar transitioned into doula work after attending A Life of Peace Wellness Education Institute in Houston, Texas. Today, she takes on many roles as a holistic home birth doula, postpartum doula, reiki practitioner, childbirth educator, and of course, a mother herself.
The last role in particular grants Taylar a unique look into how she bolsters her clients, because she doesn’t have to imagine the experience of motherhood; she herself has lived it. Additionally, it was her experience of receiving such amazing support from her loved ones during her own pregnancy and postpartum journey that inspired her to pursue doula work. After having her daughter, the level of care provided by her family, her boyfriend, and her boyfriend’s family inspired her to help mothers experience the very same level of care and commitment.
In her time as a doula, Taylar has defined her philosophy of doula work as one predicated on establishing sustainable self-care practices. She mentions that when she approaches her clients, she prioritizes allowing mothers to focus on themselves and “filling up their own cups.” Taylar helps moms achieve this by giving them some necessary time away from their little ones. At the start of a postpartum doula shift, she intends to truly understand what a mother’s current needs are, thoughtfully consider them, and then determines what she will do throughout her shift to fulfill these needs. Sometimes, this means allowing moms to nap, eat, or heck, even just snag some time to shower! Ultimately, Taylar does these things because she understands that moms are at their best and most confident when they receive the same level of care they bestow upon their little ones.
However, Taylar notes that achieving self-care capabilities and confidence is not without its severe obstructions. Why? Well, Taylar notes that the contemporary culture surrounding birth, postpartum, and motherhood more largely challenges mothers in their practice of self-care and confidence building. She notes that modern culture represents a “forgetting of mothers,” noting that moms’ needs are often forgotten in the first few weeks postpartum. Moreover, social pressures make mothers feel guilty when they do find moments for self-care.
She notes that this is especially consequential: “What I’ve noticed is that a lot of the things you set in place in those early days are what they’re still going off of 6 months or 9 months later.” Therefore, Taylar dedicates substantial time to bolstering mothers to establish strong self-care foundations early in their motherhood journey. She beautifully explains how she perceives self-care to be a muscle:
“I believe there is a little bit of mom guilt surrounding self-care; but, I think that self-care is like a muscle. The more that it’s exercised, the more that it’s worked, it becomes this strong foundation for somebody to know that they’re deserving of that self-care- that their self-worth is known and appreciated. Then, they can continue to feel confident and really good about their little one. So, I think that it’s something that really needs to be practiced, and then we won’t have that mom guilt creeping in at all the times we need to take a breath.”
Additionally, Taylar notes that this contemporary culture surrounding birth, postpartum, and motherhood challenges a mother’s confidence in her intuition. She conjectures that this happens because there is a push for so many mothers to look to their health care providers rather than listen to their instincts, refined by their own lived experiences. According to Taylar, “birth is happening to the birthing person- not the provider, not who you’re going to questions for.”
To be clear, Taylar is not saying “screw you” to health care providers. She understands the value they pose for mothers in the birth and postpartum. Nor does she imply that listening to health care providers and believing in your intuition is dialectically opposed to one another—Taylar dedicated time in our interview to dispel the misconception that doulas oppose more conventional hospital births. Rather, listing the wide range of birth that different doulas support, Taylar says, “There are doulas that are great friends with the OB providers and are very comfortable in hospital births, and that’s their niche. And then, same for home births. So, there’s a doula for everybody, no matter what you want!”
Rather than passively lamenting the challenges that many moms face due to conventions, Taylar has taken an active role in challenging these societal norms that disempower mothers from practicing self-care and finding assurance in their intuition. Taylar mentions that instilling confidence in mothers to believe in their intuition makes her feel most gratified in her work. Taylar says, “One of my biggest and favorite parts of doula work is to help those who have questions to continuously go inwards to learn what those answers could be.”
The phenomena of mothers forgetting themselves in their focus on the little one in their first weeks cannot persist, especially given the long-term implications it poses as Taylar so aptly explained. Fortunately, strong women like Taylar are leading the postpartum revolution. With her own lived experiences as a mother, paired alongside her breadth of experience in motherhood support and childcare, Taylar offers a beautiful and empathetic window to what needs to change to best support societies’ mothers. Ultimately, it lies in remembering moms. Remembering they are not a bottomless cup for their baby to collect from. Remembering that they are not mothers first and themselves subsidiarily. Remembering, to Taylar’s stellar point, that they too deserve all the care and support they gift their little ones.