POSTPARTUM | tabooed too often

The postpartum is tabooed too often in too many places.

(c) Aaron from Expressions Untold

But the thing is: after birth (but also after miscarriage and abortion) postpartum is inevitable. Yet there seems to be an unwritten rule that we have to romanticize this part after birth and pretend we are all happy and well while our bodies are massively healing.

Postpartum is tabooed in so many places. Yet new moms go thru it; often alone and with no support. I just learned about a very touching video created by FridaMom (it was an ad for their postpartum products) has been BANNED by the Oscars, as it was catergorized as "too graphic".

I was curious so I went on to watch the video. {you can watch it here} And to my surprise (well, not really), there was NOTHING graphic showing in this video. No nipples, no vulvas, no nothing.

This made me angry. Because this is yet another example of powerful mainstream media and platforms robbing people from seeing REALITY.

And if we cannot deal with reality, I feel we have a problem. Every single day millions and millions of people are experiencing postpartum and living this reality. Why do we have to turn our heads? Why are we ignoring this? Why are we pretending it is not happening? Why is this taboo? Why is this private when this privacy means people suffer in solitude? The first time I personally learned about the hard truths about postpartum was during my doula internship at a midwifery practice in the Netherlands. I was in the car with a midwife before a home visit and she was talking me thru postpartum. She was rather quick in how she explained everything and then said "It can be shocking when you have never seen it. We have to things like help the mom change her pads because she had a C-section." I said I thought I could handle it and I thanked her for informing me. She then added "You know.. It's sad. Because most of the time we and the kraamzorg are the only ones knowing about the first struggles of motherhood.". She then went on sharing about what can happen when a mom had a tear and has stitches. Sore and broken nipples. The bleeding. The hemorrhoids. The emotional overwhelm. The childbed tears. Postpartum depression and causes. She listed it all in an endless list of things that can happen after birth. Things that are not openly talked about.

She said "It's good that the kraamzorg is there for a week but after that, there is no support." Note: kraamzorg is in-home postpartum support for house chores, help with breastfeeding, bathing baby, and more in the Netherlands. And then I just broke. I asked her all these questions and cried "BUT WHY? Why is there no support for these women? HOW is that possible?". She said that she does not know why but that people seem to have a hard time accepting the reality of new motherhood.

“People seem to have a hard time with the reality of new motherhood.”

Right there in that moment in the car during my first ever postpartum visit ever, I decided that I would NEVER be one of those people. I dedicated myself to studying about it. Listening to new mothers. Learning about it.

And in the past 7 years I have sat next to new mothers as they were doing their routine bathroom visits -- just like you can see in the banned video. I have sat next to their beds as they shed childbed tears. I have held them and their babies. I have helped women in the hospital holding a pillow against their C-section scar, letting them hang their full body weight onto me because they could barely walk -- when the nurses just said "It is time for you to use the bathroom." and not helping the mom at all.

This, to me, insanity. I know these are extreme examples an they do not always happen. But I have to share them because the DO happen. And they have to stop. Postpartum care deserves a rightful place in maternity care. How we move thru postpartum is vital for how we move thru our lives with baby, how we relate to ourselves after having a baby, and how we make sense of ourselves, our bodies and our lives such a life-changing event of becoming a mother. People have asked me what their options are; you can find all my offerings here. I also do online postpartum consultations that you can participate in from the comfort of your postpartum bed. I want you to know that you. are. not. alone. That there is support. And that you will be okay.



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