(click link to read this really important piece on thecut.com)
I’m lying awake, gazing at the gentle rise and fall of my 3-month-old’s chest. He’s a delicate infant, constantly surprising me with his smallness, like his sister did when she was born four years earlier. In recent weeks, my son has begun stretching out the number of minutes between nursing sessions. He can go for two hours without eating now, or two and a half if I’m lucky. This means I have more of a chance to sleep, at least in short spurts. But every time I drift off, I jolt awake in a sweaty panic.
I am on high alert all the time these days. I tell myself that this panicky feeling is normal — I have a new(ish) baby, after all. But it doesn’t feel normal. I have constant visions of my son suffocating in the night. I think of waking up to his cold body. I spend nights imagining a thousand unlikely, tragic things that could happen to him.
I am pleasantly surprised that we may be FINALLY turning a page in the her-story of medicalized maternity care. While most fields of medicine base their practices on the latest and best science, maternity care has been in the dark ages, leaving a huge gap between what science knows and what we practice. This gap puts MotherBabies at risk, creates birth trauma and ultimately has added to the growing FEAR of childbirth that many expectant parents and even some providers feel.
The transition from being an innocent, hopeful and glowing pregnant woman to one that’s stamped “high-risk” is not an easy one. Sometimes something urgent and scary happens that immediately flips that coin and other times the change is like a slow-moving car driving towards a new state line. Regardless of how quickly the new reality emerges, women in this uncharted territory have an added and unwelcome layer of stress, worry and decision-making. Giving birth in general requires us to step into the unknown, but being high-risk means we take that step with a little or a lot of extra weight strapped to us.
(click link above to read this great post on brandyferner.com)
The kind of squatting I’m talking about is not weight lifting squatting. I’m talking about the functional movement, being able to get into deep hip and knee flexion with an untucked pelvis. Here’s a drawing, because it’s really hard to find someone who’s actually able to do this type of squat.
(click link at top to read this helpful article!!!)
I often see or hear of women pushing themselves to return to normal as quickly as possible after birth. In a hurry to get their life and body back they jump into a myriad of activities at warp speed, often just days after giving birth. Riding on the birth and baby high, pumped full of adrenaline yet restless from the last few weeks of pregnancy, particularly if they felt like a watched pot, these women fill their schedule, attack their house, and find new projects determined to not be slowed down, impatiently trying to control and master this new version of normal. These women are often viewed with admiration and awe and the media highlights celebrities that are back to their prepregnant weight by 6 weeks or were spotted out jogging at 3 weeks or were back on the set of their TV show at 10 days. This is held up as the epitome of a strong woman, give birth, bounce back, conquer world. After all, women in China squat in a rice field, push their baby out and throw them on their back then return to work, right? It’s as though we’ve forgotten to celebrate. We’ve forgotten how important it is to rest after a hard work and enjoy the fruit of our labors. We’ve forgotten that while pregnancy and childbirth may not be an illness our bodies still need to recover from the taxing physical and emotional demands of the endeavor. Pregnancy, labor and childbirth may be a normal part of life but it is anything but easy. The change a woman’s body goes through are massive to say nothing of the emotional journey as well. Ignoring this reality can have serious consequences for our bodies, our emotional health, our breastfeeding relationship with our baby, our mothering, and our families. Do not underestimate the potential for damage if we neglect our postpartum healing. (click link above to read a fantastic blog about postpartum recovery)
More about Postpartum Recovery in the Postpartum section.