Don’t be late for work if you are pregnant!
- Oct 26, 2018
- & Amelia
I am member of a Doula mentoring program with We Birth and we are looking at the current state of our maternity system and the impact that it has on women's lives.
Just a light easy topic J (not much to say). There is obviously soo much to say, but I’m starting right at the beginning.
How devalued pregnancy is in our society.
There is no nurturing for pregnant women.
You are lucky if someone will notice you to give you their seat on public transport.
If you are late- you’ll need to make up that time.
They are expected to keep running this crazy, rat race, despite the fact they are growing and creating our future generations.
In my generation : (I’m 43) I was brought up to believe “you can have it all” you can get that education, you can have a career and a family.
My mum’s generation: (She’s 69) She left school in Year 9, that was her expectation. Get a job, then get married, have some children and all before you are 30.
My mum had almost 10 years out of the workforce, raising my brother and me, she went back to part time work – (school hours 10am-2pm-where are these jobs now?) – It seems it was a simpler time.
How has it changed so much in one generation?
I was encouraged to
- get a degree
- get a masters
- have a career
- travel wherever you want
- You can do anything you want
- You can have it all
- Being a woman is no longer a barrier
However now when you decide to have children, our society maintains those same expectations. PLUS then as well as a super successful career you now have the complete dependency of your child, it’s usually your main responsibility to care for all their emotional and physical needs.
I work with women often in the middle of their pregnancy, mostly first time pregnant mums that are working full time and they are already feeling this pressure.
Being pregnant changes their priority and focus. It now is naturally and intuitively tuning in to their baby, this is often where they want to be —but already are struggling with this ‘juggle’.
How our society is now set up, women barely have the time to really connect with their body and baby whilst pregnant. How are women already on this endless juggle of ‘Motherhood, Work and Life’ before our babies are even born?
Women aren’t supported to take time off for appointments or birthing/ pregnancy classes by their employers, women are expected to make up the time, work late afterwards or come in earlier. How is this extra stress, anxiety and worry impacting the newly pregnant mother and baby?
In Sydney where the cost of living is one of the highest in the world — most couples’ budgets are set with two full time incomes in mind. The cost of having a baby has a huge impact financially and emotionally on new couples. Couples as they are welcoming their new generation into the world often are concerned with how they are going to maintain their standard of living, and keep the roof over their heads.
This is why so many women are working right up to the (EDD) Estimated Due date. The stress of finishing up their work, handing over to another employee, being organised for the baby and the fear of not having a full time regular income once the baby is born. All impact on the pregnant womens’ emotional and physical health and so also impacting that of the baby.
The connection a woman has with her baby even before they are born is so strong and this relationship should be being nurtured and supported from the first weeks of pregnancy and throughout this time.
The society that we survive in is not giving the woman and her baby the time or space to connect before birth. Women themselves are not giving enough time and space to adjust to this life changing event that is about to happen — this period of CHANGE in their lives is barely acknowledged.
Women I speak and work with want to work right up to their due date so that they can potentially have longer on the other end of maternity leave with their baby………..I totally understand that however the CHANGE is huge and it is real.
We need to prioritise and support this time to help women prepare for the adjustments.
The loss of the life before you have you baby is real — the freedom — the choices you had that you didn’t even realise you did.
This massive change of
- being home most of the time,
- being by yourself with very little help,
- and what many never talk about it’s the emotional head space that a baby takes up
- the constant worry, doubt and trying to understand if your baby is hot, cold, needs to poo, vomit, burp or fart?
This is early motherhood!
How does one week staying at home after years working full time prepare you for giving birth, and being a full time stay at home mum for the next few months?
It doesn’t —you do need to think about how you are emotionally going to cope with the changes.
Also in those last months and weeks of pregnancy your priority should be to rest- re group, take stock and realise that your life after birth is not going to resemble your previous existence.
*You really need to nuture, hydrate, connect and love your beautiful body that is growing this little human.
*Look for your support teams before birth. (online and face to face)
-Build connections with them before- as its soo much harder to connect with women you don’t know, when you are SUPER sleep deprived, delirious and possibly have poo or vomit on you….(that’s the reality.)
Partners can have a major role in this period of adjustment- although often are not encouraged to appreciate this special time. Two weeks off is usually the most a partner will have in parenting leave, however its usually after week two that things start to change for the baby again and they can often during this time become more unsettled.
Partner leave helps to initialise, stabilise and build the confidence of both parents in their roles, and their connection with their baby. This connection and time would greatly reduce the isolation felt by new mums in those early weeks, and most likely have an extremely positive impact on the new mums’ mental health. Imagine the impact of four weeks parental leave would have on new families if this was standard practice. It is being done in various parts of the world- not so often in Australia.
I bring together mums to be and new mums often- both online and face to face through the “WonderMUMS Club” that I facilitate. I validate this time in their lives and the journey they are about to start. By helping women to support and hold each other up, they see the importance of the role they are doing and value it no end……..even if our society doesn’t.
Rebuilding our village is key in ensuring that pregnant women and new mums are supported emotionally throughout this critical time.
If we as a society are devaluing these initial stages of pregnancy and early motherhood so much — think about how much we actually devalue the parenting side of motherhood.
But that’s a whole other series of blogs..