It's Hard. Face It.
Our culture loves pregnant women.
Pregnant women get a pass on a ton of life. Which is great. Pregnancy is a magical (and uncomfortable) time. A mother absolutely deserves to be treated like the life-giving goddess that she is.
Take a minute, though, to think about the last time you were at a darling postpartum shower. When you think of the word "postpartum", do you think of a flowing, life giving, life sustaining goddess? Probably not. And you know what? The fact that our culture is lacking that very image is making everything hard on everyone.
After a woman goes through the mind-blowing experience of birth, we collectively sort of expect that she'll just slink away and disappear behind her baby. It would seem that any plan to the contrary is as mind-blowing as the act of birth itself!
That must change and it must change now. Each women owes it to herself, her baby, her family, and her culture to anticipate that postpartum is going to be goddamn hard. It's going to be overwhelming, painful, confusing, and still somehow blissful. Admit it: our culture does not have a plan in place for YOU, new mama. Our culture expects you to quietly slip away.
Women have been relatively complicit with this too. As our cultural structure has shifted to a focus on The Individual and The Self-Sustaining Nuclear Family, women have accepted responsibility for the totality of postpartum care. And rates of postpartum depression, anxiety, discontent, and a host of other problems have soared!
So, new mama, if YOU want to be a real change-maker in the world, if you want to be radically effective for the next generation, I'm offering you some mighty big homework: Anticipate postpartum to be hard and DO NOT take on all of the responsibility for your home and family.
Instead, try this:
Begin to understand what is happening to your mind and body in the early weeks after having a baby. Get as granular with your understanding as you want. Once you see that your physical structure is essentially confused and out of place, you will prioritize your own healing process. Anticipate that you'll feel like you were just in a car accident.
Literally ask for help BEFORE you have your baby. Tell the people around you that you know that you will need their love and support. They want to help but probably don't really know how. It's up to you to tell them what you need.
Food. Get it in your house. Get so much of it in your house that you'll be uncomfortable with the sheer amount of it. And put it everywhere - next to your bed, your couch, in the baby's room. Once you have filled every nook and cranny with nutrient-dense food, you will have set yourself up for about 1-2 weeks. That's it. Stock up more than you think you'll need and then keep stocking.
Make a plan for keeping the house as orderly as you like. Whatever that means for you. YOU make the plan then have someone else take charge of it for a minimum of 3 weeks.
Prioritize your rest, nourishment, and bonding with your baby. And don't apologize for it. You, new mama, are in fact a flowing, life giving, life sustaining goddess and you deserve to relax like one.
When you plan on facing a challenge, you will be more prepared for it.
You deserve it.
Your baby deserves it.
Your culture deserves it.