I recently met with a pregnant mama who was looking for care and support following the birth of her baby. 'Do you have your mother around?' I asked her. She looked me straight in the eye and with a wry smile said 'Yes. And that's why I need you.'
When I first began my Slow Postpartum business I expected that I would be often working with women who didn't have their own mothers around to support them. But in fact, I quickly discovered that the opposite is often true.
The relationship that a woman or new parent has with their own mother will have a deep and profound impact on their own parenting journey. If it is difficult or problematic it can often bring up strong emotions, past hurts, future fears as well as a sense of loss or grief. And this often plays out in the postpartum space in the weeks following birth.
As a postpartum care specialist, my role is to help my clients negotiate this delicate balance of family dynamics. During our prenatal meetings I make a point of asking them to think about and work through these feelings before baby arrives. Then together we plan strategies so that they are able to find the support they truly need and deserve - even if they know that it might not be available from their own mother.
If you are expecting a baby, it can be very helpful to spend time thinking about how your relationship with your own mother may impact your parenting journey. You might find talking to your partner or to a family therapist might be helpful to you. And be mindful that your security, well-being and happiness in the weeks following birth are paramount for you to be able to nurture and care for your baby. Over this time you should be surrounded only by those who will love and support you. This might mean that you ask others to be the 'gate-keepers' of your 'sacred postpartum space' during those important first few weeks as well as insist that your wishes and parenting values over that time are respected and honoured.
Did your relationship with your mother have an impact on your postpartum journey?
Jojo Hogan is a maternal postpartum care specialist and doula and the founder of the international Slow Postpartum Movement. Her mission is to educate and inspire as to the importance of weeks following birth. A time when all new mothers, babies and care givers deserve to be supported, loved, nurtured and celebrated.