This morning I read a great article on how we as moms owe it to one another to help prepare our friends on the realities of new motherhood. We are often told a simplified version of what those early days will look like and then it’s brushed aside with ‘but you’ll be so in love with your baby’ and it’s ‘All worth it.’ Well, yes it’s worth it but it’s also kind of miserable. You’re sore, exhausted, overwhelmed and so on and so on.
I believe one of the greatest diservices we do to women is to gloss over the postpartum period. We fail to set them up for success by promoting this one dimensional image of what it looks like and ignore the realities of new parenthood.
This smacked me in the face so hard after Ms G was born. Why had no one told me????
Why had I spent all this time preparing for pregnancy and labour and hardly any time preparing for the realities of new parenthood? My body knew how to grow a baby. It did not know how to deal with sleep exhaustion and postpartum pain. I had to figure out how to negotiate all the changes in my life simultaneously at a time when I was certainly not firing on all cylinders.
So what can we do?
Moms-to-be: ask your friends and family about their postpartum reality. Read more about babies and less about pregnancy. Prepare and plan- food, household supplies, diapers and baby stuff so you don’t need to leave the house if you don’t want to. Invest in a comfy pair of pajamas! Have people you can call when you need some support- it’s ok to hire those people. Just know it will be messy and overwhelming but it will get better and you will figure it out.
For seasoned moms: don’t lie to your friends when they ask you the truth. Share what worked for you- what helped you cope. Remember these friends after the baby is born – Not just a week after but a few weeks and months after, when everyone else has forgotten. Be the friend you wish you’d had postpartum!
To the new mom: Don’t struggle alone. Many others have walked this path before you and I guarantee they have gone through the same things. Find somewhere or someone to share your joy and your rage. And if you want more support don’t be afraid to ask for it. You’ll feel better and wonder why you didn’t ask sooner!
Washington Post article: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/parenting/wp/2018/08/03/we-owe-it-to-one-another-to-be-honest-about-the-crazy-mess-that-is-motherhood/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.25af984bc9b5&wpisrc=nl_parent&wpmm=1