I’ve thought for some time as to whether to (re)post this meme. So many people get uncomfortable when we talk about money. Heck, I get uncomfortable talking about money. Money, and perceptions around money and worth, can be a sensitive topic but I’d love to have the conversation. May we?
Many, many times when talking about postpartum support mothers I hear ‘we can’t afford that’ or ‘people can’t afford that’ and sure, there are certainly people that would really find it a push to come up with the funds for postpartum care BUT I’d put money on (no pun intended) there being a bigger issue (or two) underlying the view that postpartum care is not affordable for most people.
The big one for me is the value, as individuals, we place on ourselves - our own self worth. THEN there’s the value society currently places on mothers. Both are huge issues but lets focus on the first.
We view things involving self care as a luxury. We push on through, coping, getting by, being ‘ok’……until that is, we are not. Not coping, not getting by, not ‘ok’. Well here’s the thing, self care is NOT a luxury. If we want to live a vital and fulfilling life then caring for our own wellbeing can no longer be viewed as a luxury. We aren’t doing ourselves or our families justice by carrying on being ‘ok’ until we hit rock bottom. Getting by should be a bare minimum as a mother, not a benchmark. We should be thriving, so that we can help our children to thrive. We should be thriving and modelling self care and self worth so that our children grow up with self worth. Whilst this is NOT about ‘doing it for the kids’ …what kind of message do we send if we run ourselves to the bone? I bet you they won’t take away that message that you love them so much they were worth the sacrifice. No. They will learn that they shouldn’t expect to live a vital life. That getting by is enough.
Isn’t it time we made our wellbeing non-negotiable? How can you invest in your self care whether that be in terms of time, energy or money? For some it may be getting enough rest, asking for help more, saying no to other people’s requests and expectations? For those with young families already, it could be investing in some childcare to help support your other children when baby arrives, it could be ensuring you see a practitioner for some gentle bodywork post baby, it could be arranging a meal train or a cleaner. It could be finding a postpartum doula or other postpartum support for once baby arrives. Only you know what is right for you but all new mothers are worthy of care, whether it’s your first or your fifth baby. So many other cultures recognise the postpartum period as an important time for the new mother (more on that another time). Yet Western Society seem to have largely forgotten.
To quote Kimberly Ann Johnson, Author of The Fourth Trimester (a great read by the way):
“We currently think that what is a necessity is a luxury and it is time to reclaim this knowledge for ourselves and each other so that rather than feeling depleted, frazzled and fragile, Women can emerge from the transition to motherhood stronger, happier and more whole”
I don’t care whether investing in your postpartum wellbeing results in your hiring a postpartum doula (nice as that would be for me and my other postpartum professionals), or booking in a weekly postpartum massage (many cultures insist on daily massages for the first 40 days post birth…seriously!!), or getting a cleaner/someone to do laundry and hiring a cook, or simply corralling your entire village (family and friends) to muck in and actually take the load off you for the first 6 weeks +. What I DO care deeply about is the amount of exhausted mums I meet. In person. On-line. EVERYWHERE. They are NOT the exception. They are the rule in our society. And Mothers deserve more. A LOT more. Postpartum should be recognised for something other than postpartum depression (something seen a lot less in cultures who nurture the mother during this time)
Please, please, please, if you are planning on having a baby…or two…or more, when you are busy planning your pregnancy care, and your birth (two absolutely important elements), plan for your postpartum period with the same care and attention. Build your village (whatever that may look like for you) and ensure that you are nurtured and nourished in the same way you will look to nourish and nurture your new baby.
I'd love to hear what you do as part of self care in the comments. Not much right now? How about making a commitment to starting today? I'd love to hear your thoughts.
Until next time...
I’m Anne of Blissful Mothers, Mum of two, Postpartum Doula and Yoga Teacher specialising in Pregnancy and Postpartum Yoga. I run Postpartum Preparation Workshops and Yoga Classes on the Sunshine Coast alongside In-home Postpartum Support and Yoga for new mothers who don’t want to settle with exhaustion and overwhelm being their introduction to motherhood. You can enquire about or book my services by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org or click here: