Why Its So important to Mother The Mother

Why Its So important to Mother The Mother

Why Its So important to Mother The Mother

The wellbeing of mothers in the six weeks after birth is given high priority in many cultures – mostly non-Western ones.

Why is this time so important?

During that postpartum phase the mother’s body is healing. Her uterus is healing and that takes six weeks in a normal delivery. Her ligaments are all very soft from the pregnancy hormones, so her body structure is vulnerable.

She shouldn’t be doing anything that’s going to strain it and put joints out while her hormones are changing. They’re altering considerably as she’s adapting to lactating and her pregnancy hormones are dropping – it can be a very turbulent time.

Women are physically and emotionally vulnerable for that reason. Socially, it’s important too. Especially the first time – it’s that transition into becoming a mother and that’s also incredibly intense.

What are the implications of not treating this time as rest?

I’ve seen patients who I’ve treated during pregnancy who then come back months later and they haven’t recovered because they didn’t have a proper rest during that crucial six week period. They come in and they’re exhausted, getting chronic back problems and they may feel depressed.

I met a woman recently who said that she thought it had taken her five years to recover because she went straight back to work and didn’t have that support that she really needed.

I’m not an expert on postnatal depression, but I definitely think that having the support of the community and especially the family around the mother can be quite an important protecting factor against PND. There are several studies that show the protective effects of rest and good support – that means support that is welcome and consistent and that you can rely on.

Young women now are given the message that they can do everything and that they should be independent, so it can be really hard for women in Western societies to know that they need to be looked after now and that it’s okay to be dependent. There’s a time for payback, because one day that mother will be able to look after a young woman in her community.

It’s about being honoured too. This came up when I spoke to women from other cultures. In Morocco, one woman told me, you’re treated like a bride; you don’t do anything and everyone does everything for you. Lots of other women said that after their six weeks they felt like a queen.

Everyone in the community, including the partner or husband (although it’s mostly the other women who are giving the immediate care), are running around doing everything for them.

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