On Monday, February 12, 2018 we welcomed Stephanie Straub, LMSW who specializes in maternal mental health. She led us through a variety of motherhood myths, including instant bonding, breastfeeding is easy, every pregnancy is planned and wanted, and a few more. However, my favorite part of the discussion was our discussion on what it means to be a good mother. This discussion had a variety of perspectives, from doulas, new moms, soon to be moms, and other support persons. Each person who shared their concept of what being a good mom is differed in their responses; however, a common theme emerged.
As a Women and Gender Studies degree holder, this theme intrigued me. The responses revolved around the traditional expectations of being a good wife/partner. Participants shared thoughts, such as cleaning the house, preparing meals, doing the laundry and dishes, and making sure their partners got enough sleep for work in the morning. Most of the participants felt a pressure to be “super mom.” It stood out to me that traditional gender roles still persist in our society, and we forget the importance of self care as a new mom.
However, Stephanie was able to help bust this myth by focusing on the accomplishments of the day, as opposed to the things that you didn’t get to. Instead of being upset about the laundry that didn’t get done, focus on how you fed your baby, changed your baby, held your baby, soothed your baby. That’s a lot of work, and you should feel a sense of accomplishment for everything you did. She also discussed the four pillars of self care: sleep, nutrition, movement, and medical care. As a new mom, it can be hard to remember to take care of yourself. Self care is essential; you can’t continue to care for someone else if you aren’t taking care of yourself.
We were so glad to discuss such an important topic that gets overlooked, and Stephanie did a wonderful job at keeping it an upbeat and lively conversation. If anyone is seeking extra support throughout their postpartum period, or even during pregnancy, consider hiring a doula or reaching out to Stephanie. Her contact information can be found on the Friends of the CNY Doula Connection page on our website.
~Erin Sawyer, Birth and Postpartum Doula