Postpartum has become a competition of how quickly you can bounce back. How many weeks did take to get back into your prepregnancy clothes? We are asking moms to get out of the house to doctor appointments a mere four days after birth!! We are missing that bodies need to heal AND that the only opportunity it has to heal is with rest! The first few days after birth your body and hormones are busy changing from holding a pregnancy to making milk for this new person. The flood of hormones is overwhelming. The changes in the body are far-reaching and uncomfortable. Just resting and caring for your new baby and new body is hard enough, then add in the household work and the extra appointments and the pressure to get back to life, is it any wonder that mom's are struggling?
Everywhere we look we see "drop the baby weight fast" -"Having a baby shouldn't slow you down" - "You're SuperMom!" These messages make what is normal look lazy. And in the USA lazy is four letter word no women wants attached to her.
So in the push to "get back to normal" we lose so many moments of bonding. We women feel this deeply if we are willing to admit it to ourselves. Sometime we just bury it so we can get through the day. We are seeing postpartum depression in huge rates along with a jump in postpartum anxiety and psychosis. In my research on these I see the the increases have come along with the corresponding push to do more, combined with the lack of moms group or friend groups meeting weekly.
The lack of community is a big deal for new moms. We are no longer seeing others struggle and grow in parenting so we feel as if we are the only ones who struggle and then we start down a road full of doubt and fears. We are in a nuclear family with at least one parent working full time maybe they got a week of after the birth if they are lucky and then moms are left on their own. How fair is this? And then the moms are expected to maybe go back to work at 6 weeks themselves!
Postpartum planning is as important as a birth plan if not more important. A birth is a day, maybe 3, while postpartum is 3 months to a year. Set up a plan of groups and playgroups so that you have people to talk to, ask questions of, and watch parenting styles. Online groups are fine but they should not replace in-person groups! Seriously!
We need to do better for our moms; we should make sure they have all the tools and support they need. Dads -we need to do more in that first 3 months to support the normal process of postpartum AND ASK FOR HELP if you need it. Praying it away is not an answer, it can be part of the solution but it is only part of it.
We need to do better. Women are dying, children are losing their mothers. Husbands are losing their wives. Even if it is in mind only, the loss is great.