In less than three hours, I will be in the middle of the Mothering Our Mothers event here in Bozeman, which I have worked long and hard to put together over these past months. I ran around like a chicken with my head cut off yesterday afternoon–after Andrew graciously took the afternoon off from work to watch the kids–delivering books, picking up balloons, extra tables cloths for the event, and more.
I have practiced “my talk” about twenty times now, and finally feel ready. Until last night, that is.
I have started reading Sally Placksin’s Mothering the New Mother–a book that is almost twenty years old now, but the contents of which still remain exponentially applicable today.
Placksin starts the book off with a brief history of the significant changes our American culture has seen in how we care for new mothers in the immediate postpartum period. She highlights the current practices of other cultures around the world where a 6-8 week “lying in” period is maintained in which the new mom does NOTHING but care for her infant, rest, and rejuvenate. Then she compares these practices to our present-day cultural practice of conducting highly intervened birth practices, and then casting the new mom out the hospital door to a home where there is minimal familial and community support. We, as young moms, are expected to be stoic, tough, and most of all….NOT needy. If we admit to needing help, a red flag is raised high into the air: SOMETHING MUST BE WRONG. The only thing that is wrong with most new mothers in our society is that they are under supported. No wonder the rate of postpartum depression–the most common complication of pregnancy and birth–is continuing to rise in our country.
Imagine how different our culture would be if mothers were adequately supported in the work they do. Just imagine how far and long reaching this change (this reversal to how things used to be before the turn of the century) would be.
And so, having thought my talk for today’s event was all ready to go–I have revamped it in the last hour. This inaugural community awareness/book signing event is, I hope, the beginning of a crusade to right what has gone wrong. To slowly, gradually, but increasingly loudly, urge change.