Caring for new mamas.

There seems to be lots in the press recently about celebrity mothers and their choices.  And some of it has been very judgemental and counter productive stuff.  This, for example:–night-nurses-are-a-sign-of-flawed-motherhood-8425282.html

Women need to take it easy on other women.  We have a tough enough time of it as it is.  If we decide to be ‘just mothers’, our society deems us to be lazy, dependant or lacking in ambition and drive.  If we decide to try to maintain a career as well, we are judged as being selfish women, who should be making sacrifices for the good of our children.

Do men have the same considerations?  Do people say, “what a terrible Father!  Those children are going to suffer because he decides he wants to go out to work”.  Do they say “what a lazy man, has he no pride to be ‘kept’ by someone else?!”  No, they don’t.

So the last thing we need is for women to continue hating on other women for their choices.

What we should be thinking about is WHY women might make those choices.  If we can understand it from their point of view, maybe we can all be a little more tolerant and accepting of others’ choices, and a little less judgemental.

In some wealthy communities in America, having a ‘baby nurse’ is considered a necessity, how else could a new mother possibly cope with keeping high standards at home and her appearance, a healthy diet, her job and a newborn?  And therein lies the problem.  In fact, ALL that a new mother should have to do is ENJOY her baby!  Her extended family, her community would be taking care of everything else and nurturing the Mother, so that she is, in turn, able to nurture her baby.

Unfortunately, for a myriad of social, cultural and economic reasons this no longer happens.

However, I feel that there are modern alternatives.  If a couple have moved far from their families and don’t have access to familial help, a postnatal doula could be a good option.  A postnatal doula might take care of the baby for a while to give the parents a chance to rest, or freshen up (a privilege vastly taken for granted by those without children!) or she might do some light housework or prepare a meal for them.  The sorts of things that an aunt, grandma or sister might do.  Or she might just make a cup of tea and listen.  Whatever that family needs to ENJOY that baby, whatever distractions might be getting in the way, that is what the doula will do. To find birth and postnatal doula’s in the UK.  To find birth and postnatal doula’s in the USA.

I saw this quite some time ago and have been pondering on it ever since.

I think that until a woman experiences the physicality of birth, it may not be a top priority to make arrangements for her own postnatal care, with all thoughts being centred around the new little bundle.  Our society tells us that the baby is ALL that is important.  The woman’s experience is pretty inconsequential, as long as you get a healthy baby at the end of the day.

If we show women (and the larger society) that being taken care of as a new mother IS important to the wellbeing of the baby, maybe we can stop feeling guilty or indulgent for receiving help.  Maybe it will mean that women won’t need to ASK for help, because communities will expect to provide it, for the good of the baby, the mother and the wider world.

Maybe that baby will grow to be a child that feels welcomed and valued by its community.  Maybe that child will grow to be a teenager that has a place in society, that wants to contribute rather than be destructive.

And it all starts with taking care of the Mother.

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