The few weeks after my son, Ben, was born were such a blur. Guests, friends, family, out-of-town visitors, all flocking to our home to see the first grandson, nephew, and godson. I played hostess to the crowd, walking cock-eyed because my episiotomy stitches were killing me. I was cooking dinner, cleaning the dishes, and carrying conversations, when all I really wanted to do was lay in bed with my newborn and learn how to breastfeed without a nipple shield.
I was exhausted. It took forever to heal. I was in some surreal bubble that made no sense to me. It wasn’t until Ben was about 6 weeks old that I felt like I wasn’t babysitting someone else’s child.
Why does this happen so frequently in the Unites States? Why is my story so familiar to other moms that I speak with? What happened to caring for and revering the postpartum mom? When I read about the rituals for postpartum women in other countries I feel jealous. It all begins to make sense why we have so many instances of postpartum depression and breastfeeding challenges in the United States. It is time for us to start practicing postpartum rituals so that we can protect our postpartum mental health.
I have committed to bringing a home-cooked dinner to all of my friends in those first few weeks after the birth of their babies.