When a woman is pregnant, there is so much focus on her wellbeing and how she is feeling and coping along the way. Then she has the baby the focus seems to immediately switch to the baby. How is the baby, is the baby sleeping/feeding/pooping. And the mum (and everything she has just been through) tends to be forgotten.
You may have heard the term Matrescence, either during your pregnancy or shortly after. Or you might have never heard of it. Despite being coined by Anthropologist Dana Raphael in 1973, it has really only gained momentum in the mainstream in the past few years.
What is Matrescence?
Matrescence places emphasis on the birth of the mother. The physical, psychological and emotional changes in a woman when she births a child and transitions to the role of mother. Much like the phase of adolescence as children move into adulthood.
It seeks to normalise and explain this inner shift we feel once we give birth. The limbo where you find yourself caught somewhere between who you used to be and who you are now – or who you feel you are meant to be, at least. We go from one day being our own person to suddenly being handed a baby and expected to bond with it immediately and take on the new role of mother.
Many of us have been led to believe that motherhood is a time of great joy, happiness and fulfilment. Which of course it is, but the problem is that they failed to mention the part where it isn’t. Motherhood can also be brutal, overwhelming and sometimes we don’t love it. For so long we were led to believe that if we weren’t always 100% happy and fulfilled that we weren’t good mums, which led to feelings of shame and guilt. Or the belief that we must be depressed.
Thankfully we know now this isn’t the case. Motherhood can be both wonderful and terrible, and sometimes at the same time.
Supporting the mother
Many cultures place a huge emphasis on the idea of the fourth trimester as one of great importance for both the baby and the mother. In Chinese culture, for example, a period of postnatal confinement called Zuo Yue Zi, or “sitting the month.” is practised. New mothers do not go out, no visitors, no showers, no cold food and they receive extensive help caring for their baby while they recover.
Whilst these days the practice is often considered controversial, it remains widespread (to varying degrees) and is highly regarded for the focus on the care of the mother. Many affluent Chinese mothers will pay thousands to spend the first 30 days in a luxury centre specialising in Zuo Yue Zi, some will employ a live-in nanny to help care for their child and cook nourishing postpartum meals or others rely on mothers and aunties to step in.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE:
Preparing your postpartum support network
7 ways to bond with your baby
10 easy science experiments you can do with your kids at home
It’s never too early to get your little ones involved and excited by STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). Science is officially cool! There are so many easy ways to get kids thinking about cause and effect and start wiring their brains for future learning. All whilst having a little fun! These simple activities can…
The self-care myth: Why do I still feel burnt out?
Too often we’re led to believe that a bubble bath, a face mask or an hour away from our kids will solve all our problems. So why do I still feel burnt out the moment I return? Sure my batteries might feel recharged momentarily, or if I’m lucky they might stay that way for a…
6 reasons why you should join a mum’s group
The idea of a mum’s group can strike fear in even the most confident of women. We’ve all heard the horror stories about bitchiness and judgy mums. And the idea of sitting in a room with a bunch of strangers and a screaming baby on your boob sounds like your idea of hell. Or, you…
Money & Finances
Family budget planning & money management tips
There’s no denying that the littlest ones in our lives can come with some of the biggest expenses. Before you had kids you probably enjoyed expensive dinners out and regular overseas holidays. Then you find yourself living on one income and it feels like you’re struggling to get ahead. Many parents struggle with the transition…