Lending a helping hand

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LOWER VALLEY - When John and Amy Smith's daughter, Eve, was born seven months ago, the Seattle couple had no idea what to expect.

"I knew I would have a child who would be awake all night and needed to be fed all the time," Amy said. "But I really didn't know the nitty-gritty of it."

But they knew of someone who did. A friend recommended they contact Maria Hahler of Fall City who had just started Extra Hands Family Support, a birth and postpartum support service.

Hahler had completed a midwifery course at the Seattle Midwifery School in 1996, and became a "doula" (Greek for "slave to the woman") earlier this year.

"I wanted to offer some extra help to new parents," Hahler said.

She said the idea of doulas may be lost to those who grew up in close-knit communities, where family and friends were just a few doors down.

Modern life, however, has sped up and people do not always live near the ones they love. Its frenzied pace can wear down a couple bringing a baby into the world for the first time.

"Our society is not baby friendly," Hahler said.

She can help first-time parents who want to avoid meltdown from a tremendous, life-changing event with which they may have little experience.

"I have helped out some parents who had never even held a newborn before," Hahler said.

For the complete story, pick up a copy of this weeks Valley Record

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