Updated: Jun 28
Support, whether professional or from friends and family, is key during early postpartum. Historically in some communities there were mamas, sisters, cousins, friends, neighbors and more who rallied around the mama and new babe. There was mentorship, relative care, and a distinct and protected period for recuperation. Nowadays things are often different, especially in Western and industrialized cultures. There is support for the mama during pregnancy but that rapidly declines after giving birth much to the detriment of the mother and her family.
Throughout pregnancy and during the postpartum phase there is a lot happening across mental, physical, emotional, and relational levels. Add in having a brand new, tiny human to care for who is completely dependent on you. Let’s repeat: there is a lot happening. And yet a fact that is often missed or overlooked is this: while a baby was born, so too was a mother. A new paradigm of holding the mother is emerging which reminds mothers and their supports that moms matter, too.
A common aspect of growing your family is the amount of people who are invested in you and your pregnancy, in hearing about the baby’s development, and coming to see the baby after they arrive earthside. We often hear from mamas about their worries about navigating visitors, boundaries, pressures, how to ask for support and what that might even look like. It’s a vulnerable space to be in when asking for help. It can be significantly challenging to figure out when you have so many other things going on. There is also the tendency for mamas to prioritize others’ comfort and needs over their own; we see this especially when asked “how are you doing?” The knee-jerk response is to say some version of “I’m good,” regardless of how accurate or not that truly is. During early postpartum, when the person who gave birth should be centered, the wants and needs of others become priority. Mamas believe they have to make others comfortable when asked how they’re doing. The reality is that postpartum is hard even when it’s good.
You feel alone.
Everything is overwhelming.
You and your partner are navigating a new dynamic.
You feel scared and worried.
You’re in charge of keeping a human alive.
You’re physically healing and adapting to a new body.
Some things are the same, and others are wild and unrecognizable.
Mamas- it’s so important to speak your truth, acknowledge the challenge, sit with it, and ask for the help. You can let other adults be uncomfortable and take care of themselves. Seek help or support from people who get it.
What does support look and feel like to you? Alternately, what does not feel supportive or helpful? Reflect or journal on these questions and see what comes up for you. If you can try to share with others what support, for you, means. It’s important. Your needs matter, too.
Stay tuned for part two of this blog series coming later this week which has helpful tips and advice you can send to friends and family to give them ideas on how to show up for you.
-Celleste & Kirsten
Connect with Kirsten here
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