February 13, 2020
Why Are We Afraid to Talk About The Realities of Postpartum?
By: Sharon Muza, BS, LCCE, FACCE, CD/BDT(DONA), CLE | 0 Comments
It seems that in the United States and in many other countries, society seems to have forgotten how truly difficult the transition to parenthood can be for many new parents. All bodies are physically recovering. One in three birthing people are recovering from major abdominal surgery. Emotional states are fragile. Everyone is sleep deprived. One in four people describe their births as traumatic. One in seven birthing people are dealing with a postpartum mood disorder. One in four people must return to work within two weeks of giving birth. Challenging and difficult is an understatement.
Earlier this month, Frida Mom shared an advertisement that they had hoped would be aired during the Oscars. The powers that be at The Academy and ABC decided that this entirely accurate depiction of a very new parent was inappropriate because it was “too graphic” and contained “feminine hygiene products.”
To me, it was a very real and accurate representation of what those first few days (or nights) do actually look like. Why is there any reason to sugarcoat the reality? New parents have it tough and need the support of friends and families, their communities and also society at large to understand the realities and help them ease into the transition to parenthood.
Childbirth educators have a small but critical amount of time that they can dedicate to helping families prepare for being new parents. Classes are already jam-packed with all the “must knows” and every minute is used. It is imperative that information and resources be accurate and evidence-based but the topic must also be presented sensitively so that parents can be prepared but not overwhelmed or frightened. Educators must instill confidence and remove fear.
The postpartum period should not be something that happens in secret with no empathy or understanding for what families are going through. It should be acknowledged as the challenge it is, with the expectation that it is all of our responsibilities to help the parents and baby in every way possible. Everyone wins in this situation.
How do you as childbirth educators, doulas, physicians, midwives, nurses and other perinatal professionals help prepare families for the postpartum period. What are your favorite teaching activities? Websites? Resources? I like to share two resources from Birthful’s Adriana Lozada: The Postpartum Prep Plan handout (available on her website) and her video “Life with a Newborn: Why It Is So Hard to Take a Shower”.
Here are some Brilliant Activities for Birth Educators activities that are all focused on topics related to after the birth that you might want to consider using.
Finally – to the decision-makers who concluded that prime-time America is not really ready for the realities of life after giving birth, as portrayed in a sensitive but truthful 60 second commercial, maybe it is time to reconsider!
TagsChildbirth education Postpartum Sharon Muza Oscars Frida Mom Transition to Parenthood