Postpartum should not be a time of battle. It should be a time of wellbeing, of enjoying your hard-earned, beautiful postpartum – a time of mothering with pleasure, to lessen the print of these scary times we are forced to live, by kissing, holding, hugging, loving your baby and being together hours on end.
By Esther Ramírez Matos, perinatal Psychologist and family therapist
You are on your last days of pregnancy, those you in which you imagined you would be laughing ruefully at your big belly. You imagined yourself going to the hospital of your choice for a respected, good birth. The most awaited moment of your pregnancy is arriving, the time when you will see your baby for the first time. Your baby will be placed in your arms, you will be tired but content. All will be normal. You and your renewed family will go home.
However, you are made to give birth in a time of panic. You might be afraid, scared, instead of expectantly confident.
Postpartum is a time of vulnerability, in which emotional ups and downs are quite frequent. In this time, women need to feel supported, upheld, to care for their newborns. Your partner is the basic support system, followed by your family of origin (your parents and siblings) and then the social systems that surround you in your particular culture.
In these current times of isolation you may not have access to these systems: your extended family may be unable to reach and support you, and the social network is shaken, confused and scared – and all this may have an impact on you. You are in a delicate emotional period, caring for an infant, and this makes for a complicated situation.
If you have recently given birth and are caring for your newborn day and night, with little support, care for yourself too. You are protecting yourself and your family by staying home, but also have a care with what comes into your home: news, text messages, audios, social media conversations… choose to tune out what distresses you and tune into what gives you strength and energy.
I know it is heroic, in these times, to be fearless. But remember how fortunate you are that you and your baby can cuddle and give each other the gift of oxytocin, the hormone of love and bonding and calm.
If you can, enjoy this time. Don´t get lost in the Internet and the statistics, really isolate yourself from the outside world, live in your own slow, calm, bonding, mothering time. Let your partner be the one to appraise the threat and filter any unnecessary noise.
Dear postpartum mother, I wish with all my heart you can achieve this, that you can build your own world with your baby inside your bubble, in your warm little den. This intimate space you can build with your infant´s help can protect you both from the dark surroundings. Do not feel guilty about the desire to do so. Postpartum is not a time for battle – it should be a time of wellbeing, of enjoying your hard-earned, beautiful postpartum – a time of mothering with pleasure, to lessen the print of these scary times we are forced to live, by kissing, holding, hugging, feeding, loving your baby and being together hours on end.
Happy postpartum isolation