The idealization of motherhood

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Article written by Anne-Valérie Adler, certified Doula, preparation for childbirth and postpartum doula *

Pregnancy, childbirth and the period following the birth of a baby are rightly considered as major events in a woman’s life. Nevertheless, they are often the source of changes in family, marriage, work, and social life.

The myth that childbirth is the happiest moment in a woman’s life is deeply ingrained in people’s minds. However, in my opinion, we can never talk enough to expectant mothers (particularly in the context of pre-delivery classes) that the birth of a baby is one of the most stressful moments in the life of a woman. The birth of a baby certainly brings great happiness to parents, but also all kinds of upheavals, uncertainties and anxieties in the young mother. 

From one moment to another, the woman finds herself a mother without receiving any special preparation for this purpose.

I often meet young mothers who, instead of being happy to have their baby, are unsatisfied and helpless. Some even regret their life before the birth of their baby. It should not be forgotten that this new condition is often being added to a birth that has also often left marks in the young mother (episiotomy, cesarean, etc.). Moreover, hormones are also in turmoil and are also responsible for hyper-sensitivity and great fragility in the mother. This is known as baby-blues in 50% to 80% of young mothers – this phenomenon occurs within 3-4 days after birth and disappears by itself after a few days.

Many mothers do not dare to speak about their feelings for fear of being judged as a “bad” mother, and they repress their anxieties, thereby worsening their condition.

It is strongly recommended that upon her return home, the young mother be surrounded, loved and assisted by her spouse, family and friends in some domestic chores and/or by a postpartum doula who will be available to listen to her worries, support her without judging and encouraging her.

It is also essential to remind young mothers that every day will be easier and that they – just like their baby – will adapt to their new environment.

In my opinion, if a future mother is more aware of the difficulties she is likely to encounter after the birth of her baby, she will be better able to cope with them.

* Article published in the magazine Escapade in June 2013

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