What's A-Parent

Mom Exposes Our System's Lack Of Care For Postpartum Mothers In One Viral Post

"Our world forgets about mothers. We slip through the cracks. We become background noise."

When a woman becomes pregnant, she typically embarks upon a healthcare journey that involves regular doctor's visits to ensure both mother and child are healthy. Yet, while the nine months prior to a child's birth are chock full of appointments to monitor how both are developing, one mother's Facebook post has gone viral because it reveals how the tide changes for every mom the moment her baby's born.

"After my boys were born, there were appointments. To check their latch. To check their weight. To check their hearing. To check the colour of their skin for signs of jaundice," Anneliese Lawton wrote on her Facebook page, Grown Up Glamour. "There were appointments. There were regular pokes and prods. Their well-being was front and centre. I'd say, when it comes to our health-care system, they were well taken care of."

"Then there was me."

The mother of two noted that, immediately after giving birth — as a first-time mother without a clue — she was sent home with some painkillers. Despite being "engorged, bleeding, and stitched up," she was "thrown into motherhood with the expectation my instincts would kick in." But, as Lawton notes, those assumptions were burdensome, as medical professionals expected:

"That I would know how to handle colic and late night feedings.

That breastfeeding would come as nature intended. 

That my husband would sense my spiral into depression.

That I would know how to live in my new and very foreign body. 

That this stomach wouldn't make me feel hideous.

And my mind wouldn't make me feel less than they deserved."

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As Lawton explains, no one poked or prodded her. No one checked her stitches, her healing, or her sanity until eight weeks postpartum. "And even then, it was a pat on the back and I was sent on my way," she wrote.

"Our world forgets about mothers.

We slip through the cracks.

We become background noise.

And in that, we learn our role... our place in our family unit... to always come last."

But, as Lawton emphasizes, society cannot put mothers last because, just as their babies need them to thrive, these women also need support to help them as they transition into this new phase of their lives.

"Our babies need us. To be healthy. To know that we are worthy. To know that Motherhood, while natural, can sometimes feel like the least natural role in our life. And that deserves attention," she wrote. "Mothers deserve attention. We need our world to fuss over us the way they fuss over ten fresh fingers and ten fresh toes. We need to be seen. We need to be heard. We need someone to not only ask if we're okay but to check time and time again, just to be sure." 

"We're not just a uterus," Lawton added. "We're not just a lifeline to a new and precious soul. We're mothers. And we need someone to make sure we're ok, too."

While it might seem logical to focus on the newborn child after birth, it's wrong to assume that new mothers can "take care of themselves" simply because they're adults. Both mother and child need TLC in those weeks and months after birth, and we need to recognize both are vulnerable in their own ways. Without this acknowledgement, we will continue to leave women behind to suffer in silence.

Cover image via flywish / Shutterstock

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