These days mothers have no time. That’s why we want those forty days—not as a punishment. We are asking that for those forty days the mother and child be together so that creativity and values can be established. From the 120th day in the womb to those forty days from birth, the entire character and values of the child are built – Yogi Bhajan
I have read so many birth plans in the hospital, but not one patient has prepared a post birth plan. I do not mean a plan on how to handle the first week, but a plan on how to best serve the mother and the infant for at least three months after birth.
Everyone cares about the health of the baby postpartum, but few care about the health of the mother. The mother infant relationship is symbiotic. When the mother suffers the infant suffers.
In American society new mothers are not acknowledged. After a 2-4 day stay in the hospital women are sent home. Many do not have their mother or family near and have to figure it out alone. Most husbands or partners return to work within days and mothers only receive 6 weeks of paid postpartum leave.
“We’ve got in-laws who come over to empty the fridge, ogle the baby, and drive home. Husbands and partners who pretend to sleep when they hear the newborn’s cries; and a basic lack of essential post-natal care in the American medical system (a 6-week follow-up phone call is not nearly enough).” – BWF
In many cultures the care of the newborn and the mother is shared after birth. Because we live in single -family homes there is a lack of network and available help. Every mother I have spoken to regarding the postpartum period has noted the same issues: isolation, lack of support, and feelings of being overwhelmed and exhausted. Why is this? Why is this accepted generation after generation?
“While many people believe that, “Women from [fill-in-the-blank random ‘savage’ culture] just have the baby in the fields then get right back to work,” in reality most traditional cultures, including those throughout South America, Europe (Greece), the Middle East and Asia, a 40-day rest period is considered mandatory after an infant’s birth. In this time the mother is not expected to leave the house, cook food, or do anything but bond with her infant…. Women from the mother’s community stop by her place to offer support, childcare for older children, and to bring food.” – BWF
Forty days is sadly not realistic for many Americans, but it should be. Women are running around taking care of their other children or returning to work to pay the bills. After having a baby it crossed my mind of how much easier it would be if we lived in a communal society. At least support would always be available! Mothers need to be acknowledged and we need to change our attitudes on what we expect out of mothers postpartum.