You’re home with your baby, you find yourself in a quiet moment, so utterly grateful for this time to be drinking up the sweetness of your littlest one, and on the other hand, desperate and tearful, longing to return to any semblance of normalcy that was your life before birth. Does this resonate?
The duality of the postpartum period is one that all women experience to some degree or another. How is it that a time of such infinite joy and blessing, can also be so heavy with difficulty and confusion? It’s easy to feel lost in between such disparate emotions. Often, women try to tether themselves by attaching to the routines and ways of being before becoming parents, only to realize that we no longer fit that version of ourselves in quite the same way.
Postpartum, meaning “after birth” is conventionally defined by the first 6 weeks during which a woman’s body is said to need in order to heal back to a pre-pregnancy state. This definition is extremely limiting and narrow, further putting women in a state of physical and emotional suffering, by holding them to such a finite expectation. This very western medical model of birth and postpartum does not consider that every woman’s body and healing process is different, and in reality, postpartum takes much longer.
Crossing the momentous threshold into parenthood is not a process that can be squeezed into 6 weeks. Mothers (and fathers too, of course) experience a great deal of physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual change and growth. Too often, new parents are expected to quickly return to work (or not stop at all) and feel a great deal of pressure to “get it together” and continue moving at the same pace as before baby. This takes a toll on the healing process. It can prolong women’s physical recovery, create emotional imbalance and exacerbate stress in relation to parent child bonding, support, finances and child care.
Under the weight of this strain, mothers are constantly reminded to “enjoy every moment” of this profoundly joyous time. Caught between these two worlds, sleep deprived and craving grounding and stability, it’s no wonder that they need a circle of support.
Mothers need a safe and comfortable space to feel heard, validated and supported. The dramatic transition into motherhood, whether or not this is the first child, is a vulnerable time in which women feel a deep fragility and fierceness. When vulnerability is met with intimacy and care it can be held safely and compassionately, which is how they can begin to mother themselves. Grounded in the truths that there too is loss in birth, that joy can be found in pain, and healing, wholeness and happiness is not a singular process, mothers can learn to straddle these dualities with grace. The birth of a mother is remarkable and undoubtedly a time to be celebrated and honored.
Join our Mother’s Circle, a postpartum therapy group, Thursday mornings from 9:30-10:45 starting in mid January with Emily Suzuki at Mindful and Multicultural Counseling in Ewing, NJ.
Contact us via email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 609-403-6359
Mindful and Multicultural Counseling Clinical Team
Therapists and psychologists committed to improving well being and mindful living.