Imagine that we care for mothers like we would care for a tree that bears much fruit every single year, we value that fruit, we are nourished by that fruit, it sustains us, and we understand the importance of caring for it. This is how I envision us caring for our mothers.
Mothers give everything of themselves. It does not matter if it’s a stay at home mother, working mother, single mother, or a mix of the above and more-mothers give everything they can to their children. This goes on for the rest of their lives and yet for some reason we do not have a lot of awareness in our culture around the need for postpartum care for mothers of all shapes and sizes.
In my experience, the challenge I have found with mothers, when helping them set up and receive postpartum care is the resistance to asking for help.
Many women have been raised to believe, and taught by the lack of postpartum care in our culture, that we are to do it ourselves and that this is just how it is. The model of community care is something that has to be re-initiated in our communities, to help mothers get the care they need. In many other cultures, this model is inherent, it is understood that the postpartum window is a vulnerable time for the family, and there are practices in place to support the new mother and family.
The Seven Sisters Model is all about building community during a time of increasing isolation amongst our people. We all have different worldviews, perspectives, and ways of relating. The one thing we all share however is that we love our children. Asking for help is an empowering model for the future of our children. It lays the foundation for a stronger sense of social consciousness. Not only that, this model keeps on giving. In the heart of one who receives such unconditional help, flowers the seed of passing it on. Every family that I have shared this model with has passed it on in their community. Every single one.
There are three primary archetypes I have encountered when it comes to resisting this help.
Superwomen are a thing of our times, and I love them. I believe women can do it all and I also believe, they don’t have to. Asking for help during the postpartum window is like asking for helping building a foundation that will support yourself and your family for many years to come. I encourage people to see it as an investment in a healthy, balanced, future.
We also have she who feels unworthy. This is a big one, a common one, and a harder one I’ve found to work with as it’s often buried and runs deep. There are many women who do not feel it is ethical, or proper to ask people to stop their day for you. This is so common. After some digging, I often find that underneath that, is the fear of asking. The fear of being let down. The fear of no one showing up. You know what, I get it. I get that you don’t want to ask others to take time out of their day, and I get that not everyone can. The good news is, people won’t volunteer to help, unless they can. I have never seen anyone feel forced into helping someone in the postpartum. More importantly-you are worthy mother of this care. This is not just for you. This is for the child you are caring for. For your relationship so you actually have reserves to tend to it.
Lastly, we have she who does not know what to expect. No one knows how a woman's birth and postpartum journey is going to look. What I do know, is that there is a lot more to adjust to when a baby arrives than anyone can prepare you for, and you can however prepare yourself to have help set up in the event you need it-and trust me-a little help goes a long way. Know that having a little extra hands around while you adjust to a new body, a new being in your life and relationship, and a whole new world, is a healthy investment for yourself, your baby, and your family.
Mothers-Mothers to be-for people to be able to help you you have to be open to receiving that help. You are investing in not only yourself but your entire family.
The Seven Sisters Model was created with Mothers in heart and mind. It does not matter what kind of mother you are, this model can be adapted to anyone’s life style and needs to bring support into the postpartum period. We will all benefit from our mothers being better cared for and the health of not only our mothers but our community will reflect this care. Let us fill our mother's cups-the well from which we all drink.
©Michelle Peterson, Founder Seven Sisters Postpartum Program
Best Kept Secret for Postpartum Depression? Help at home: http://commonhealth.wbur.org/2014/06/best-kept-secret-for-postpartum-depression-help-at-home
How Other Cultures Prevent Postpartum Depression Social Structures that Protect New Mothers’ Mental Health: http://www.uppitysciencechick.com/how_other_cultures.pdf
How Many Women get PPD? The Statistics on Postpartum Depression: http://www.postpartumprogress.com/how-many-women-get-postpartum-depression-the-statistics-on-ppd
Postpartum: 4th Trimester: http://www.peggyomara.com/2014/01/07/postpartum4th-trimester/?fb_action_ids=477258032414326&fb_action_types=og.likes