How much support will you need as a new mother?
There’s a prevalent myth in our culture that new mothers both can and should cope alone. And I want you to know that actually, as a new mother you will need so much support. Much more than you can imagine.
In my work as a postnatal doula I notice a massive difference between women who have support in place for them, and those who are doing their very best to manage alone.
Mothers who have the support they need seem to be more settled, calmer, less anxious, in less pain, find breastfeeding easier, decision making easier, and have a sense of things being ok.
Mothers who don’t have the support they need seem to feel disoriented, like they’re crumbling with exhaustion, and drowning in overwhelm, hanging on by a thread.
THIS IS NOT A JUDGEMENT ON MOTHERS.
I’m describing what I’ve observed from my own experience as a mother and as a professional working with mothers. And I hope this might help you to reflect on whether you feel supported in motherhood or if perhaps you need to seek out more support for yourself.
Part of my job as a postpartum doula is to help you gather the support you will need in early motherhood to thrive, not just survive.
The most effective support in the first few months seems to come from loving and attuned grandmothers, sisters, nannies, postpartum doulas, lactation consultants, osteopaths, physiotherapists, cleaners, friends who deliver meals, the Australian Breastfeeding Association free hotline, the Maternal Child Health Nurse free hotline, and longer term counsellors and therapists who can offer a safe haven for mothers to work through whatever they need to process.
And of course your partner if you have one BUT your partner cannot be your only source of support. There’s every chance your partner will need support themselves. And your partner most likely will not understand the comprehensive, magical, and sometimes unspeakable disorientation you may feel as you journey into motherhood.
Asking for and receiving support as a new mother is not a sign of failure. Rather, in a culture that promotes independence and isolation, asking for help is both smart and very, very brave.
Get my FREE guide to why rest is important after giving birth and why you need support to rest here.
If you’re Melbourne based, learn more about how I can support you in your home after your baby is born here.