New Motherhood in the age of C-19
Sitting here on Easter Saturday, on my front verandah with not many cares in my very small world, grateful AF that I have a healthy family, a stocked fridge, and toilet paper... I've been thinking about all of the conversations I have had this week with new mums or pregnant mums. The age of C-19 has brought with it challenges, and for every demographic in society there are elements of grief that are coming on through. And that is 100% OK, as the social changes we are living with in current times are like nothing our generations have dealt with.
In my role, I'm really lucky to spend a lot of time with mums. Being a mum, seeing mums, and journeying with mums on their health and family travels, I get to see many elements of life. On this journey, the transition from pregnant woman to mother is huge. It has a title... did you now that. MATRESCENCE. What a beautiful word that is. The making of mothers from women, and its a journey that is different for everyone.
But this Covid-19 is robbing mums of many of the joys, traditions, expectations and most importantly SUPPORT that they would get at this time. The lead up to the birth, the excitement and anticipation. Now its full of nerves and anxiety and what-ifs around what is going to happen. Even with a strong set of birth support in place.. its still a tricky time. I SEE YOU.
I've spoken to women who are having to choose one person to be their birth support partner, which is great unless something goes wrong, and that partner may need to go back to work, and nobody else can come in to support that new mum as she navigates this time. I SEE YOU.
The new mums who are being sent home because its safer than being in a hospital, which we very much understand, but the difficulties breastfeeding which we would normally get to work with in hospital are being missed. I've had an increase in my small sample size of failed breastfeeding of up to 50% more mums on struggle street with feeding issues. Too scared to seek help as they don't want to go near the hospitals or community health, and reaching out for help invites someone into their home who may have seen many other people, so they just don't want to go there. I SEE YOU.
New mums who are having minimal social support except for their partner, and lets be frank, bringing a new baby into a house is a whole new ballgame. The emotional upheaval for Dads and Partners, as well as the birth mother is huge. We all need all the support we can get. Not having those drop ins of friends and relatives and that precious time with your mum post delivery. It sucks... and its hard to navigate that level of support over Face Time. We are so lucky to have the connection that we do remotely, yet nothing beats that hug from your mum and a cup of tea and cake just the way she makes it. I SEE YOU.
The formation of that 'mothers group' bond with women going through the same thing as you will be missing for a little while. I'm sure that once we can all hang out again socially, it will be one of the first elements that our local communities will get back into play. The finding of like minded women on the same journey, and even non-like minded women, is all part of the great bits of a new babe. It will happen, but I SEE YOU.
For many new mums, the care providers they had relied on during pregnancy, and even preconceptively, may be having altered hours, inability to see new patients, or in closed down times. This creates a stress that they may otherwise not of had to endure. And we all know that an increase in stress hormones in a mum can play directly into buds. Nobody wants a stressed baby on their hands. I SEE YOU.
I don't have a magic wand for this situation, but I guess I just wanted to acknowledge all of you on this journey. I'm not the only one seeing you. Collective consciousness around this time being so altered is out there. We know that new mums during this time of social isolation are going to need levels of support and nurturing like no others after this has all blown over. We understand that, and we see that. Please know that you are not along, whilst it may feel like it. Its ok to feel angry, pissed off and generally let down. Id love to encourage you to not let that consume you though. Try to focus on any great things that are happening in your world. Like you have toilet paper, or they had your favorite herbal tea in stock at the supermarket, or Easter is a great time to consume chocolate.
Together, collectively, we will get through this time, however that looks for all of us nobody knows. But being part of a tribe of women, a collective, tapping into that strong source of femininity that you have that resides within you, that's how you and me and all of the other women will get through this time.
I SEE YOU