Baby focused instead of Parent focused
There is so much attention with a new baby coming. It is easy to feel like Cinderella. You are pampered at baby showers. There are regular classes and checkups to attend. Everyone is asking how you feel during pregnancy and inquiring about your plans for birth. During the postpartum phase, visitors are often focused on meeting and holding the new baby. Neglecting that the new parents may have needs.
Lack of support
After birth, parents are sent home from the hospital within a few days. The support network that was there before birth, is often not available. Partners are likely going to be returning to work after a having one week off. Close friends and other family members are likely to also be working, live far away, or struggling to care for their own children with little support. The new parent is left alone to figure out feeding, heal from the birth, and to care for themselves. To top everything off medical care providers are only available for medical concerns. Far from Cinderella at the ball.
If we really want to decrease the rates of Postpartum Mood Disorders individually and culturally, we need to take a much more supportive approach to how we handle the postpartum period.
Ideally, all new parents should be continually cared for in the first 40 days after giving birth. The “tough-it-out” attitude of our culture does not serve the parents OR the new baby. Parents need time to physically recover from childbirth, support in feeding and transitioning emotionally.
Because most family members of new parents have to return to work, or live far away, this makes a postpartum doula the number one solution to these problems.
Let’s take a look at what other cultures with low incidences of Postpartum Mood Disorders are doing differently:
The postpartum period in other cultures are seen as being distinct or different from normal life. In colonial America, this viewpoint used to be the norm, called the lying-in period. This was a time when experienced parents helped new parents on their new path. My how times have changed.
New parents are especially vulnerable during the postpartum period and are granted social exclusion during this time. Accepting visitors from only midwives and close relatives allows them much needed time to rest and availability for frequent breast or bottle feeding. This allows them to regain their strength while nurturing their new baby. It is expected that they will restrict their normal activities during this time.
Parents in other cultures are never expected to maintain household chores during this resting period. Other people fill in the gap to fulfill household duties and care for the older children.
Many cultures have a ritual to acknowledge the new status of a parent who has given birth. Some examples include: belly binding, social rituals, washing of hair, massage, bathing and other types personal care.
Let’s put an end to mother’s struggling alone once and for all!
Contact a postpartum doula today to set up your postpartum care plan. It is hands down the most important thing you can do for yourself (or as a gift to a friend or family member) in the postpartum period. If planned far enough in advance, families of varying budgets can easily afford this valuable service. You deserve to be treated like Cinderella after giving birth.
You deserve it – your family deserves it – your newborn child deserves it.
This blog was inspired by Chapter 5 of the book “Breastfeeding Made Simple“. Check out their website for more amazing resources and get yourself copy of the book!
Lancaster Doulas LLC proudly nurtures postpartum mothers in Adams, Berks, Chester, Cumberland, Dauphin, Lancaster, Lebanon, Montgomery, Schuykill and York Counties.