Postnatal Support for New Mums – Life After Birth by Dr Diane Speier
Natalie Nuttall, co-founder of local perinatal mental health charity, Smile Group, talks about how mums might benefit from reading Dr Diane Speier’s new book on the transition to motherhood.
There’s a section dedicated to Support For New Mums which lists services relating to breastfeeding support, mental health and more in Cheshire – specifically Macclesfield, Knutsford,Congleton, Sandbach, Wilmslow, Poynton, Alderley Edge and Prestbury – here.
I am a wearer of many hats as a mum of two, a charity co-founder and PR consultant. I’m excited to have teamed up with perinatal specialist, writer and international speaker Dr Diane Speier to support the publication of her new book Life After Birth; A Parent’s Holistic Guide for Thriving in the Fourth Trimester.
When I had my first child, I dutifully went to antenatal classes and I read every book known to man on pregnancy, birth and parenting (some of which I’d now happily burn or disregard as they were so prescriptive or rose-tinted!)
It felt like the focus was very much on labour and delivery, yet not necessarily the bit when you actually become a mum and face the reality of life as you never knew it before. Ironically I’d never even heard of the ‘fourth trimester’ until well after my experience of postnatal depression with my first child, which may explain the gap that existed between my expectations and reality.
While we may never be able to truly prepare ourselves for parenthood until we experience it first-hand, with hindsight there is so much I wish I’d known then that I do now. Having co-founded Smile Group eight years ago and seen so many new mums and dads feeling overwhelmed by the transition, it seems that we could be a bit more honest in (compassionately) sharing our experiences of the reality of those first few months.
When I read Diane’s book Life After Birth I only wish I’d read it before I first became a mum nearly nine years ago. The book focuses primarily on the postnatal period and delves into the physical, emotional, hormonal reality of this often intense time of adjustment. It made me realise how much I had punished myself by not resting and how out of tune I was with what my body was desperately trying to tell me. It also helped me to appreciate how fragmented and lonely our Western outlook is compared to other global traditions, where families descend to support new parents and rest and nourishment are deemed a priority. After all, everyone is clamouring to hold the new baby, but who is holding and supporting new parents?
From the sardonic humour of ‘slummy mummies’ and their ‘say-it-as-it-is’ humour, to the filtered insta posts of ‘perfect parents’ there is a plethora of content out there. The media plays an integral role in conditioning us to believe that we should be experiencing motherhood in a certain way. In truth, there is no ‘should’ – it’s more a case of getting comfortable with not knowing it all and finding your own way.
The more honest conversations we have about the ambivalence of becoming a mum – the fluctuating sense of boredom, amazement, exhaustion, bewilderment and everything in between – the less likely we are to feel like we’re not measuring up to an ‘ideal’ (that doesn’t even exist).
So go easy on yourself, be informed and aware, but also remember that we’re all just winging it and we’re in it together.