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In thinking that mothers put an awful lot of pressure on themselves.

(33 Posts)
BumWiper Sat 18-Jun-11 09:37:27

Time and time again I read posts both here and on RC about mothers putting themselves under so much pressure after the birth,be it natural or caesarian.

From being perfect hosts to visitors,to hen do's,to breastfeeding,to keeping a house in order
,the list just goes on and on.

Just this week I was out with a couple whose lovely DS was born at 33 weeks by CS 9 days ago.I went to introduce myself to find the mother hoovering!!Her in laws were coming to stay and apparently couldnt tolerate mess.I said give them the hoover if they want to clean,cause you're not doing it for at least six weeks.Not the first time I've come accross this.

So AIBU to think that we are not superwomen and that labour and birth needs recovery time?And that the people around them should be more insistant on them resting,no matter how well they feel?

yankeecandlelover Sat 18-Jun-11 09:42:22

I never did. I wouldnt have been dressed for weeks. Dh brought all my meals in on a tray. People phoned if they were going to visit and were fine if I said could they leave it another week or so.

Meglet Sat 18-Jun-11 09:46:06

I learnt a hard lesson as I over did it after my EMCS with DS. Tried to keep going, doped myself up with painkillers for weeks, had visitors and went out and about too much.

I was the laziest, diva ever after I had DD. Stayed on the sofa, no visitors, bugger all housework, read Grazia and the weekend papers, lived of M&S ready meals and got pizza delivered. Was great smile. XP and my family helped look after DS so he had a whale of a time.

Flisspaps Sat 18-Jun-11 09:48:06


I felt the need to be up and dressed and made up and functioning 'as normal' straight after DD's birth (3rd degree tear, PPH requiring iron tablets and nearly offered a blood transfusion)

ILs came to visit days 3-5, and I found it incredibly hard even though they weren't staying with us (they had booked a nearby hotel). FIL was surprised when DH told him to make his own cup of tea. I have a vague recollection about something being said about the hoovering but I can't be sure.

Next time I shall sit in my pyjamas as I think that it acts as a reminder that the woman has just gone through a massive physical upheaval and needs recovery. I suppose that particularly with our parents and grandparents generation mothers didn't come out of hospital until about a week/ten days after the birth so they had already started their recovery before getting home.

Samvet Sat 18-Jun-11 09:51:11

totally agree. We are supposed to be perfect at the mum business and I had no bloody idea how hard it would be. I thought I had to be a perfect mum and housewife if I wasn't working. I also thought baby had to sleep perfectly etc etc made the early weeks a misery. If I have another it would be very different! I think antenatal classes/NCT should prepare mothers better for that bit, not just the labour which is after all a small part and just the beginning! Why don't these classes include more about coping with a new baby?

BumWiper Sat 18-Jun-11 09:57:14

Samvet those parents who ask me for advice on babies when they come home seem to fair better.I don't sugarcoat the tiredness,mental exhaustion so they go into it eyes wide open,and I'm always at the end of the phone and am quick to tell them to rest.

Caz10 Sat 18-Jun-11 09:57:15

I found it v difficult after having dd2 not to be back to normal really quickly. Whole heartedly agree with everything above, but the reality was a few days after birth I was on my own with both Dds and needed to be up and about taking dd1 to nursery etc. I feel massively cheated of any kind of "babymoon" period, but can't see another option?sad

cunexttuesonline Sat 18-Jun-11 09:57:42

i remember my family, plus the inlaws arriving when DS was 2/3 days old (not 1st time they had seen them, I had family en masse arriving in the delivery room when he was about 1 hour old!). Anyway, i didn't get dressed! i wore my nightie and goonie and put on a pair of leggings but htat was it. I got the impression that they thought i should be more presentable, but fuck them! And the housework was done before they got there but that was because DH did it. i do think people should be more understanding when you have just given birth!

Once he was about 1 week old, then I felt the need to be washed, dressed, make up on every day and hopefully out of the house, just to try and stop myself feeling too groggy and down.

BumWiper Sat 18-Jun-11 10:00:59

Hmmm maybe a volunteering programme for all new mums whether they have one,two,three or ten children.I'm supposed to be just for parents of premmies but I do call out to term babies too if asked.

BulletWithAName Sat 18-Jun-11 10:04:14

YANBU if that's what they want. But some people want to be up and about and back to normal. I had my DD by c-section at 2.30pm, was up and about and doing everything for her by about 9.30pm. Couldn't bear to be stuck in a bed with a catheter. I insisted the hospital discharge me the next day because I absolutely hate hospitals. I just couldn't lay about and have everything done for me, it's just not my style.

TheCountessOlenska Sat 18-Jun-11 10:07:02

I think having your first baby is such a massive shock to the system that you feel that you must get "back to normal" - not realizing that things will never get back to normal i.e how things were before the baby arrived!

The morning after I got home from the hospital I had this bizarre need to get showered, dressed, make up on and then every time dd slept, I frantically cleaned the house! I think it was about regaining some sense of control and normality.

Looking back - I was insane! I was in quite a lot of pain and trying to establish breast feeding - I should have been in bed!

BulletWithAName Sat 18-Jun-11 10:07:58

Just to add- DD was my 2nd.

sunshineandbooks Sat 18-Jun-11 10:09:56

I think this is a very complicated issue.

In part the pressure is created by the media. We are bombarded with with celebrities who are back in their pre-pregnancy clothes and jet setting around the world five minutes after giving birth. Even if you are not into the whole celebrity culture, it's still hard to avoid these images and stop them sinking in subconsciously. Also one of the ways the media has corrupted the message of feminism is to peddle the myth that anyone other than a SAHM should have a baby and be back at work bossing the men around almost instantaneously (assuming she's not a lesbian and not having a baby at all that is).

The truth is that having a baby takes a big toll on your body and you need time to recover. The people who return to 'normal' almost immediately are exceptional and it is not something to be aspired to. Most of these people have a small army of support unseen in the background. The vast majority of us do not and it's ok to take time.

Then there's the fact that even in 2011 a woman is judged on the state of her home much more than a man is. So much of the time if a house is very messy and a woman and her DH live in it together, people will come away wondering how on earth she has let it get like that. Why is the question rarely related to the man? Until that changes, a woman with a newborn DC may still worry about her house looking as though she's not coping and get up and put the vacuum cleaner over instead of resting. Of course, if she's got a good DH he won't let her and put it round himself.

I also think it's human nature to not want others to see our vulnerability. You wouldn't normally greet anyone in your PJs unless you are very comfortable around them. So you get dressed if visitors are coming and it seems to have become part of our culture to besieged by visitors at a time when you could really do with the peace and quiet to adjust to having your new baby. Plus I think every woman has a fear of being thought 'unable to cope' with something that is so natural and happens to so many women. Despite the progress made with understanding PND, so many women are still terrified about the stigma they might face if they are diagnosed with it. Having had my own DC now, I never ask to go visit people with newborn babies until after a month (unless they are very close friends that I would see in PJs regularly anyway).

I agree that NCT classes etc should concentrate more on telling people about the post-birth realities. My MW also used to tell me she was regularly shocked by the unrealistic attitudes many couples had towards babies and how shell-shocked they were once the baby arrived.

darleneoconnor Sat 18-Jun-11 10:10:05

Not so long ago women were kept in for 3 weeks after birth. Even the 'perfect 50s housewife' wasnt expected to do housework or childcare for older dcs fo4 the first few weeks.

revolutionscoop Sat 18-Jun-11 10:11:08

I had dd1 at 6am, was home from hospital at 4pm, and hoovering upstairs half an hour later. It just seemed wrong at the time to put the baby into a room with a slightly dusty carpet! I tend to overdo things generally, with housework, entertaining a lot, baking like a loon, then sometimes just collapse in a heap and have a couple of days where it's a struggle just to get the minimum done & the dcs ready for school, because I'm just so thoroughly exhausted. I wish I could be more sensible & consistent.

killingTime Sat 18-Jun-11 10:15:44

The pressure wasn't from me - it was from my DH and family - expecting to be waited on or allowing people to come with such expectations, having a good whine and moan if I was sleeping when they came round or things were messy or food not cooked- deliberately trying to sabotage bf or coming up to wake us as they wanted to see us. My ILs objected to take away as we should have cooked ffs while watching me popping pain pills like sweets literally days after giving birth.

The comments were upsetting especially in a sleep deprived hormonal state in a period of adjustment - took to my third to think and say fuck it to them all. It is not new mothers who need to hear this but parters and families.

BumWiper Sat 18-Jun-11 10:15:50

Agree 100% sunshine

fuckmepinkandcallmerosie Sat 18-Jun-11 10:20:29

When I had DS, which is 20 years ago now, the norm was a 5 day stay after a normal delivery, sections were 10 days, and the babies were taken away every night at 8pm to the nursery and brought back at 8am.

I am not for one second advocating a return to those days, but I do think it's helpful to remind mothers/aunties etc of that - they can talk about all the stuff they did when they came home from hospital, but none of them are likely to have had a 6 hour discharge and been home the same day.

emsies Sat 18-Jun-11 10:23:40

I was amazed at people wanting to wake the baby up for a cuddle!!!

I was told by my midwife to rest after quite a traumatic long labour ending in Emcs . When the nursery nurse came a few days later to weigh my daughter she gave me a lecture about being up!!

pink4ever Sat 18-Jun-11 10:25:34

I am soenvywhen I hear of women whose dh did all the housework/cooking after their cs. I have posted on here before about my dh's behaviour after my cs(both). Quick synopsis-came home to find no forumla,dh too busy building a new bbq so had to take 3 dcs(including the 6 day old) to shops. Came home and he buggered off out leaving me to entertain inlaws,sil and niecesangry. I still cannot hear the word bbq without my blood pressure going through the roof!.

ilovedora27 Sat 18-Jun-11 10:28:09

Depends on your personality. All my friends and family saw me at the hospital/at home but I didnt get dressed for them. I never used to always get dressed when I had visitors pre kids either.

My parents and DH did all the cooking or had takeaways. I went back to uni after 6 days and got a 2:1 but a lot of the work at home was carried out by my husband who did loads. Also my mum and dad were on hand constantly. I was never expected to make anyway tea and definitely not cook. I have never cooked for my parents and I am 27 and very much doubt I ever will. I dont think they would dare eat anything I had cooked!

I am not the kind of wife that cooks or waits on anyone though and never will be. I think I look at things differently I wasnt on MN at time but saw it as I provided a baby by doing the birth then everyone should pamper me. It wouldnt have occured to me to get up and do cooking or making drinks for everyone.

ilovedora27 Sat 18-Jun-11 10:31:19

Also why does it matter if people see you in your pjs. I have pics of me straight after birth in a really loud print nightie on facebook. I also sit in the garden in my pjs and its not like your naked.

superjobeespecs Sat 18-Jun-11 10:50:04

when i had DD i was out and about at around 2/3weeks post birth before then OH and my aunt done everything. i was very lucky to have a pushy aunt who had a bad experience of coming home from hosp with my cousin to dirty dishes and all my uncles family sat in the front room. she gutted my already very neat and clean house from top to bottom for me and built up the cot with OH then stayed whilst i BF DD as she BF all my cousins and i wanted her opinion on how i was doing blush. with DS to come, i intend to be in my jams till around noon every day unless we need to get a weekly shop in or pop to town. OH already knows he'll be taking DD to school in the mornings then i'll pick her up afternoons--maybe--. im lucky in he does most of the housework anyway and can cook grin

BumWiper Sat 18-Jun-11 12:50:56

pink how is your not-so-DH still alive?

noblegiraffe Sat 18-Jun-11 13:25:49

I found the phrase 'major abdominal surgery' after my CS mentally quite useful. I kept thinking 'If I'd just had major abdominal surgery, I wouldn't feel bad about letting other people do stuff....^and I just have^'. Because you've just had a baby, what has just happened to you kind of fades into the background, whereas if it had just been surgery, that, and your recovery, would be the focus.

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