One of the most useful gifts that your post-partum doula will bring you (not dinner, although that's a close second!) is a reality check. It’s tricky to rely on your partner or even family for a reality check. They are well-intentioned and love you but also caught up in the moment, just like you are. It tends to be very hard for those close to you to parse out what’s normal and what’s not. When you're sleep-deprived, struggling with breastfeeding or in pain, a reality check in the form of informed support from a post-partum doula who has a young child herself (hint: me) is just what any new mom needs.
There's going to be a lot that you'll wonder about (how long will the lochia last? when will I lose the baby weight? should I really be eating THIS much?) and it's essential that you have someone to be your reality check. Remember that a post-partum doula is an expert in knowing what newborns need and also how best to support mom and the family emotionally as well as practically. Practical answers, support and recommendations are just some of the tools in the post-partum doula's toolbox.
I think new moms often get all too often get wrapped up in how it's "supposed" to be. Breastfeeding is supposed to be intuitive. Babies are supposed to cry. You're supposed to be in love with your baby immediately. When any of those memes don't happen or aren't exactly as you imagined they would be, stress ensues. A post-partum doula knows all those "supposed to" memes and is on-hand to debunk them! She provides the real story which usually goes something along the lines of "this is temporary" and "give yourself a break".
A post-partum doula is part angel, part nurse and part best friend--practical and loving. As knowledgable as she is a good listener. She's there to hear what you're feeling, what you're worried about and learn how best ti support you. And provide a good dose of reality along the way.