My postnatal support wish list
As a Midwife and fitness trainer for Mums I imagine a particular scenario. You have birthed your baby. Someone is then assigned to cook, clean, and hold baby while you shower. Professional birth debriefing takes place along with regular massage and physical support to help you heal. These are all done as a standard part of your aftercare. Imagine that world. I often do and I then also wonder how our world might change if this was the norm?
What positive changes would better postnatal support create?
- Improved mental health: In Australia, one in five mothers experience depression and/or anxiety within the first year of parenting (PANDA, 2017). Quality postnatal support could reduce rates of depression, anxiety, and stress. Better overall mental health for Mums results in stronger relationships between mothers and children, and stronger self-esteem and feelings of self-worth. Resulting in, Happy Mums, happy bubs!
Read more about postnatal depression.
- Better child development: The research shows that supportive and responsive mother-child relationships are crucial for healthy child development. I’ve seen many Mums over the years struggle to respond when their babies are having a hard time, purely because they are running on empty! With proper postnatal support, mothers would be better equipped to provide the emotional and physical care their children need. We then have healthy, secure children which leads to healthy, secure adults.
- Enhanced work-family balance: With proper postnatal support, mothers can return to work with greater confidence. This could help women maintain their careers and improve financial stability. Also, with the right postnatal support, it will allow Mums to set themselves up for staying at home with baby if that is her choice. I love to see Mums following their dreams.
“I deeply believe that if Mothers are well, Families can be well. And if Families are well, then Society has a much better chance of being well.”
Dr Oscar Serrallach
- Stronger communities: When mothers have the support they need, they are better able to participate in their communities. This allows them to form supportive relationships with other mothers. Which leads to stronger social networks, more cohesive communities, as well as decreased feelings of loneliness, and isolation. COPE is a wonderful resource for new parents.
- Deeper respect for parents: Parenthood is often given less respect than other life choices and careers. Mums are often made to feel boring, and even lazy if they choose to dedicate time to healing from birth, and to connecting with their children. If mothers were given appropriate care reflecting the colossal effort put into this task perhaps the world would start to see it too.
Postnatal support and a hopeful future
Early parenthood can be full of challenges, both complex and exhausting. Providing the right level of support throughout this crucial and emotional time could see a shift in the physical and mental health of our families and communities. I believe that this will literally change the world! Whilst we are seeing an uprise in postpartum doulas, meal trains and organisations hoping to improve postnatal care there is still so much to be done. I will continue to do my part. Let’s hope that we can all create more of a focus on parental physical and mental health and wellbeing for the better.