A recent survey by the University of Michigan shows around 38% of new moms go through postpartum depression. These numbers have steeply increased during the pandemic. So, one in every three moms feels sad or empty within a few days of giving birth.
Motherhood- a surprise package
Becoming a mom means suddenly being on your toes 24*7. While it brings happiness to life, it also accompanies a few battle rounds. But women do not speak about it because of two reasons:
1. The perfectionism bug often bites us
Will someone judge me if they do not see me as happy as I’m supposed to look?
Am I not like the perfect mother on Instagram?
Perfectionism holds women back. We find it hard to accept the struggle as if we must know how to manage it. How can we not?
A gentle reminder: Burn that image of a perfect mother. No one is perfect; we are all work in progress.
2. We feel no one will understand, anyway
If we somehow come out of the perfectionist trap, then we hesitate to explain ourselves. Society expects us to know how to do it all. We feel no one will understand our issues, anyway.
Yes, there are chances that your friends and family may not understand at first. But your speaking up brings more awareness about issues, gets you help, and paves a better path for future mommies. No one should be expected to have ‘figured it all out’.
Why it’s important to speak up
1. Creates awareness.
Women go through gazillion changes and still make it all work with a smile at the end of the day. As discussed before, speaking about the issues brings more awareness and instills empathy towards mothers.
2. Can get you help
Sometimes it’s important to say it loud!
Struggling with your morning routine? Talk to your partner or fetch extra help for the morning.
Feeling burned out? Call a friend over coffee.
Being vocal about issues will get you helping hands. You don’t have to do it all alone.
3. Brings change for the good
Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook and former Google employee, explain the below incident in her book, Lean In.
Google did not have any reserved parking for pregnant women. One day late for a sales meeting, she got parking far from the front door of Google’s headquarters. Pregnant Sheryl walked slowly late for the meeting. The next day, she asked for reserved parking for pregnant women to Sergey Brin, Co-Founder of Google. Brin immediately said yes. It was an “aha moment” for her. Sometimes women simply forget to ask.
4. Helps you build community and make friends
Speaking up also helps you find new friends in a similar phase and have identical struggles. Your choices may now vary from some of your existing friends… Saturday morning treks? No way.
You can join a local group in your society or an online community to network with other new moms. Did not find any group? You can simply create one yourself. It’s an inexpensive activity to have a club and plan small gatherings like potlucks or games.
Women are biologically different and have different needs. The pregnancy and newborn phase increases the needs. The example by Sherly Sandberg correctly explains the need to speak up. It’s not a favor, it’s your right.