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Hey everybody. Welcome back to the postpartum wellness show. I'm Dr Kristal Lau, your host and postpartum wellness consultant. In today's episode. I'd like to talk about why postpartum care and services for mothers and their families are a necessity.

And absolutely not a luxury.

So first, I'm going to give you an overview of my position on this topic. And then I'll dive into who is part of the postpartum journey, what their journey could look like during the postpartum period, my view on the role of businesses and services in the postpartum period.

And then I'll tie it all back to why postpartum care is a necessity, not a luxury. You'll be hearing me repeat this many times throughout the episode, cause I really want you to walk away with a key point that postpartum care is a necessity and not a luxury.

So why do I strongly believe and back this approach to postpartum care?

Well, it's because postpartum is way longer than the stipulated six to eight weeks that many health professionals follow and that's in our guidelines.

Secondly, postpartum is a journey. It's a long and transformative journey that involves the entire family, not just mothers and newborns.

And if you think about it, each family unit present on our planet literally makes up the backbone and spine of economies and nations.

So really, if we want to continue having a robust workforce to maintain our economies, to maintain the lifestyle that we have, to maintain our growth and advancement as a human race.

We really need to go back to the beginning when life is brought into this world and support mothers and families there.

So who is part of the postpartum journey? Who gets affected by the postpartum period?

First let's revisit the definition of postpartum and what the postpartum period is. And then I'll unpack the topic further.

The word postpartum just means after giving birth or after childbirth and because women and females are the ones with the biological capability to grow and birth a baby, the postpartum period has been classified as a time uniquely for women and mothers. And that still holds true up till today in our modern world.

Currently the definition that many health professionals use to define the postpartum period, as I've mentioned before, is six to eight weeks after the birth of a baby. And a lot of the time, this does not include the father or the non birthing spouse or partner.

And why. Why though? Why aren't they included?

I mean, for a lot of heterosexual couples, The father and the men helped make the baby. And many husbands and partners nowadays are also present for the entire birth.

And even if you're a couple that's gone through IVF, your partner's there for the whole process. Especially those who choose to be there too.

They're there for the entire pregnancy and there for the birth. So why aren't they included in the postpartum period when we talk about that? They have a birth story and experience to share too.

Well, one of the reasons is this. Our current clinical and scientific understanding and knowledge of the postpartum period is limited to what happens to a mother after giving birth. This includes the psychological and behavioral changes and adjustments during this time.

There is a huge gap in knowledge about how the postpartum period affects fathers and men. And this area is very slow to be filled as far as I'm aware of at this time. 

Then there's also the ongoing societal expectations and gendered exclusion of men and fathers from caring for their wives in postpartum. And excluding them from baby and children caring duties. This still holds true in many cultural postpartum practices, such as the Chinese postpartum confinement practice or Zuo Yue Zi.

A lot of fathers and men are completely sidelined in the postpartum journey and they're also incorrectly deemed as poorly capable of caring for their wives and newborn. 

So , it is really not surprising at all that even health guidelines around the world for managing the postpartum period doesn't really include fathers, men and non birthing partners and spouses.

It is unfortunate that society and the gender biases that are present have pretty much decided that they do not have a postpartum journey, which is completely untrue.

And all of us who have lived experiences of growing a family and bringing new life into this world, we all know the real answer to the question of,

"Who is part of the post partum journey and who gets affected by the postpartum journey?"

We know that the postpartum time intimately involves all members of the immediate family; mothers, fathers, our other children and even our fur babies.

So let's start with Dad. Fathers definitely definitely have the own postpartum journey, despite not carrying and birthing the baby. Sure their bodies did not go through huge changes because they were never pregnant and didn't give birth, but they still go through a huge psychological and identity shift in becoming a parent overnight, especially if they're a first time dad.

Plus the nature of newborns, always wanting mom and the inherent biological need of infants to be close to mom can affect a father and non birthing partners with thoughts and feelings like, "Well, does my baby hate. . . Me? Why can't I bond with them like, like my wife does? Like, is there something wrong with me?"

Which we also know that it's not true. That is just the nature of the relationship of newborns and the mother.

Next we've got our other children, our newborn's siblings. They have their part to play in the postpartum journey too, because just like mothers and fathers, just like us adults, they also have to adjust to this new addition to the family.

And this challenge is even more pronounced for smaller children like our toddlers. Let's take a moment here and take a walk in their small wobbly feet. Here you are having lots of fun, especially if you're the first child.

And the past few months you've noticed that mommy's belly is a growing bigger. Cool. I don't know what's happening there, but you know, I, I've been hearing things about there could be a baby in there, but I still don't really know what it means. And one day mommy left to go somewhere. I didn't see her for a couple of days.

And then she comes home and I'm so happy to see her, but wait.

What has she got in her hands? Oh, something small, something wrinkly. It's very noisy, cries all the time. Um, but as days pass, you know, why, why aren't they going? Why aren't they leaving? I mean, I want my mommy back for me. This, this baby is now in her arms all the time.

She's not able to spend much time with me anymore. I mean, what's going on. Is she going to leave me? Is this new baby going to take over my place? And we can only imagine how chaotic and how huge those feelings are for our small children in the postpartum period.

And even for our older children, they're all still learning to figure out their feelings, learning how to process their emotions and how to process their thoughts and communicate.

So, having a new baby in the family is also a massive change for our other children. Which is why they too have a postpartum journey and the postpartum period does affect them greatly.

And finally the non-human members of our family, our fur babies. Even they have their postpartum journey. There's a reason why experts in pet behavior suggest introducing the blankets of a newborn to your dogs before bringing baby home and to include them when you're setting the nursery up, when you're buying baby clothes, because they will notice that changes are happening and they already know that mom's growing something in her belly.

So when you are creating a postpartum plan, it will definitely help to have a whole segment just for your fur babies. So that when the time comes, you have a plan, you have a guide and you know that you have thought about them and that you will be able to spend time to prioritize them during this wonderful chaos that is postpartum.

And finally for mom. On top of all the huge family dynamic changes and relationship changes that I described, moms are also recovering from childbirth.

Regardless of whether she's had a vaginal birth or a C-section and her postpartum journey also depends on whether she developed any injuries or medical conditions during the childbirth and labor process, which may affect her recovery duration.

On top of that, the postpartum period for mothers is also part of Matrescence, which is the process of becoming a mother. The concept of Matrescence itself is not new, but it's gaining attention from the academic and scientific community as a neurocognitive developmental stage.

Meaning that finally, our lived experiences of how challenging motherhood is in its entirety, is finally being recognized by experts in the field as a truly life changing event that has permanent effects on us as a whole; on our behavior, how we think, how we process our emotions and even how we function day-to-day after we've had a baby.

But what does this mean for businesses which are providing products and services to support mothers and their families during this vulnerable time?

Understanding how involved and challenging the postpartum period is establishes the need for postpartum care and services to help moms and their families. This brings postpartum care and services into the status of being a necessity because health is after all defined by the W H O as not just the absence of disease, but includes social and mental well-being.

Purchasing and using products and services that can directly impact the well-being of moms and their families can affect health care spending and influence productivity. And I surely hope that in the very near future, all things postpartum will be covered by health insurance companies, employers and organizations.

Because really it's a no brainer to me to embrace the notion that postpartum care is a necessity and not a luxury.

And it is a no brainer that we must provide benefits and infrastructure to support mothers and families because helping moms and families thrive in the postpartum period and beyond in turn helps everything around us to thrive.

There's a reason why some countries and the organizations operating in those countries give a lot of perks to moms and families, and many of them are in Europe. Benefits like maternal job and income protection, paid parental leave for both mom and dad, and affordable childcare.

These leaders understand that without moms and families, having children and growing their family, there is no economy. And there is no defense force. There is no country.

So my call to action for you today is to have more conversations around normalizing postpartum care and support for moms and their families.

 Talk to each other. Talk to your friends, your family members, your colleagues, your bosses. And even to your government representatives, if you want to take things further. Talk to them about how postpartum care is a necessity and it's not a luxury.

And if you're interested in taking this topic further where you're at and would like me to come and talk to your group or organization about how to approach postpartum as a necessity. Go now and book a free 15 minute call with me (www.mamaswingwoman.com/freecall) and I'll put the link in the show notes so that you can go and schedule a meeting with me now.

I hope you enjoyed this episode and I would love to hear thoughts about approaching postpartum care as a necessity and not a luxury.

So leave a review on your favorite podcast platforms, or if you're watching this on YouTube, leave a comment in the video below. And I would love to get back to you and have a discussion.

So until then, I'll see you in the next episode. Thank you.

 

Welcome to the blog post for Episode 4 of the Postpartum Wellness Show with me, Dr. Kristal Lau, your host and Postpartum Wellness Consultant!

Today, I want to talk to you about something that's incredibly important – postpartum care and support for mothers and their families. The postpartum period is so much more than just a brief recovery period of 6-8 weeks. It's a transformative journey that involves the entire family, from mothers and fathers to siblings and even pets!

If we want to see thriving economies and a thriving human race, we must prioritize the well-being of mothers and families right from the beginning when new life enters the world.

Understanding the Postpartum Period

Let's start by revisiting what "postpartum" really means. Simply put, it refers to the period after birth or childbirth. However, it has historically been seen as a time exclusively dedicated to women and mothers. But times are changing, and it's about time we recognize that fathers and non-birthing partners play an integral role too.

Inclusion of Fathers and Non-Birthing Partners in the Postpartum Period

It's disheartening to see fathers and non-birthing partners being sidelined when it comes to postpartum care. After all, they helped create the baby, and many of them are present for the entire birthing experience. 

Sure, they may not go through the physical and physiological changes that mothers do, but becoming a parent overnight is a profound psychological and identity shift for them. They face their own set of challenges, from bonding with the newborn to finding their place in the family.

So why aren't they included in the postpartum journey? It's time to challenge the societal norms and acknowledge that fathers and partners have their own postpartum story and experience. It's essential that we recognize and support their postpartum journey alongside mothers.

Impact of the Postpartum Period on Children Siblings and Pets

But the postpartum period doesn't just affect parents – it has an impact on siblings and even our beloved pets. Siblings, whether young or older, need to adjust to the arrival of a new family member. It can be a confusing and overwhelming time for them. Similarly, our furry friends, who are part of the family, also experience changes when a baby arrives.

By involving siblings and pets in the postpartum plan, we can ease the transition and reassure them of their importance within the family unit. Introducing our pets to the baby's scent, inviting both our older children and pets to explore the nursery, and providing them with extra love and attention during the postpartum period can go a long way in helping them adjust during this transformative period.

Physical and Physiological Recovery for Mothers in the Postpartum Period

Let's not forget about the incredible strength and resilience of mothers. The physical (the body itself) and physiological (the internal functions of the body) recovery they undergo after giving birth, whether through vaginal birth or C-section, is nothing short of remarkable. They may also face additional challenges, such as childbirth-related injuries or medical complications that require extended recovery time.

The best part is, the postpartum period is gaining recognition as a neurocognitive developmental stage through the scientific community adopting the word 'Matrescence' to describe this adult developmental stage. The word 'Matrescence' by itself already means 'the process of becoming a mother', including the immense psychological and emotional changes that accompany motherhood.

It's about time science caught up with what all of us mothers already know through experience! That we go through a life-changing event and we deserved the necessary support for ourselves and our families during this transition.

The Importance of Normalising Postpartum Care for Businesses, Insurance, and Employers

Now, let's talk about the bigger picture. Businesses that provide products and services for postpartum care aren't just offering luxuries – they are fulfilling a vital need. By supporting mothers and families during the postpartum period, we directly impact their well-being, which, in turn, affects healthcare spending and productivity.

It's also high time insurance policies catch up and recognize the essential nature of postpartum care and wellness services. By expanding coverage to include these critical aspects, we can ensure that all families have access to the support they need during this transformative time. 

And for our employers and organizations, or if you're one yourself, they must step up and create family-friendly policies. It's time to move away from outdated practices that undervalue mothers and women of childbearing age. By embracing policies that truly support working parents, we create a more inclusive and supportive work environment.

Final Thoughts and Your Call to Action!

Postpartum care and support are not mere luxuries – they are necessities for the well-being of mothers, fathers, and families as a whole. By normalizing conversations around postpartum experiences and advocating for comprehensive care, we empower families and contribute to the growth of our societies and economies.

I invite you to join the conversation and help make postpartum care a priority. Talk to your friends, family, colleagues, and even government representatives about the importance of supporting families during this critical period.

If you'd like to explore this topic further, or have me come and talk to your group or organization about how to approach postpartum as in necessity, schedule a free 15-minute call with me now!

Remember, by investing in postpartum care and support, we invest in the foundation of our economies, our nations, and our future.

It's a win-win for everyone!

Prefer video? Watch this episode below!


About the Author

Physician and Postpartum Wellness Consultant. Author of 'Postpartum 30'. International Speaker. Mother of 2 girls and U.S. military spouse.

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