I am still bleeding, by the way. It’s been almost eight weeks. I definitely didn’t think I had this much blood in there.
I know everyone was wondering, that’s why I’m mentioning it.
No, I’m mentioning it because I just read this really good piece about postpartum care, and how the U.S. is shitty about it. In attitude and in practice. Not a huge shock, really. When are these articles ever like, “U.S. fantastic in treatment of new mothers! Surpasses all other countries in respect for women and their vaginas!”
So the article was pointing out that in a lot of cultures, everyone expects women to take a couple months to heal. Other people, usually women, help out around the house a lot, and the new mother just focuses on breastfeeding and lounges around and eats and stuff. Maybe takes bubble baths. Possibly gets her nails done.
I’m using words like “just” and “lounges” because I am an American, and I’m deeply steeped in this keep-it-going culture, and I can’t apparently manage to describe recovering from birth and caring from a newborn in terms that make it sound like a big enough deal on its own to fill two whole months.
“Wait,” my descriptions imply, “So, like, she’s not also running a business? So, she must be working from home at least…Maybe developing some sort of app? Plotting her next novel? PLEASE tell me she’s at least cooking dinner and running errands and working out? ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME? Well, what the hell is she even doing then??”
Because I kind of feel that way, secretly, even though I have basically done nothing in addition to caring for my baby for the last two months.
In the piece, one woman mentions that women are literally still bleeding, long after they’re expected to “bounce back” and reclaim their old lives and be totally self-sufficient. Our bodies haven’t finished healing, and we’re supposed to look and act as though nothing even happened here, it’s all good. It’s all just the same as it was.
Secretly, I’ve been the slightest bit ashamed of all the help I’ve needed.