Postpartum is a term that is often misunderstood and has become synonymous with depression and sadness. It is also equated to the first six weeks after giving birth. These are both inaccurate pictures of postpartum. The truth is that postpartum is the time after giving birth and extends far longer than the six-week mark. It is a season every mother experiences. It is mainly defined as the first two years after giving birth as a woman’s body heals, replenishes, and navigates her role in her new baby’s life. It can be a beautiful season.
However, postpartum has become particularly difficult for mothers today. The mother has become lost in the excitement of the baby, and there is a severe lack of physical and emotional support for her. The modern mother is given a few days to recover from birth. The unspoken expectation is that she steps back into her previous roles of housekeeping, hosting visitors, working, and attending to the new baby. This doesn’t give her space to navigate the significant mental and emotional change one goes through when becoming a parent.
Mothers are attended to during their pregnancy with over fifteen appointments. Her care leads up to the birth of her baby, which may take 1-3 days. She is sent home, and her care nearly falls off a cliff with only one six-week appointment, often focused on birth control and clearance for sex. The truth is that moms need more support after birth, not less. The expectation is that her village will surround her, but that is not the reality for most modern mothers. With family living far away and lacking friends, most mothers are forgotten quickly.
Adequate planning and support during the postpartum season can be the difference between experiencing postpartum depression and not. Having the resources and help to spend the time needed to heal, rest, attend to your child, and allow the necessary time to process and grow into your new role as a parent is crucial. At the Motherhood Wellness Clinic, I have created multiple options to help mothers fend off mental health struggles by being proactive with the care she receives during the postpartum season.