Article in brief: The author looks at the excessive pressure that society imposes on new mothers instead of providing them with time and space to recover and enjoy their moment.
As I become an aunt for the first time, I am filled with pride and joy as I carry my nephew in my arms. However, this feeling is quickly diminished by the overbearing family “traditions”. The concept of childbirth has completely changed these days. The mother comes out of labor and is overwhelmed by an army of relatives, all eager to fulfill their duties of being there at the birth. And as she is wheeled into the recovery room, the new mother and baby are immediately forgotten, as the greetings and celebrations begin. This goes into the late hours, and even though the new baby keeps mommy up all night, there is no accord for her rest the following day. Exhausted and beaten down? No problem – the party must go on!
It reminded me of how distressed I felt when I became a mother, because instead of being given a chance to recover, to understand my feelings, and even to feel concern for my premature twins, I had to deal with all this chaos. Despite all my inner turmoil, I had to keep a brave face because the visitors wouldn’t stop pouring in, and my family would not say no to receiving them, for fear of losing face, or upsetting anyone – anyone but me. The focus these days is no longer on delivering a healthy baby, but rather on throwing a lavish reception for your guests. You are judged by what you wear and what you serve. Every detail matters, except one: how the new mother is feeling. This extravagant display robs the new mother of this precious bonding time with her newborn – a moment that can never be replaced.
What makes the matter worse is that this social status is embedded so deeply into people’s minds that even those who are already mothers don’t remember the significance of this time. Here we are trying to convince our mothers and aunts that we would like some alone time, to cherish our newborn, our new family, and we are looked at as if we are foreign creatures asking for the impossible. And there’s always that one comment from an elderly woman about the size of your belly asking if there’s still another baby inside! Because that’s what a new mother under so much pressure wants to hear!
I don’t know how or when this practice started but it is getting out of hand, as every family tries to outdo the other with the quest to keep up with the Joneses. The joy of having a new baby is overshadowed by the stress of unnecessary preparations such as hospital decorations, catering, and baby favors. The new mother’s life is about to change and those few days in the hospital are probably the last time she would be waited on hand and foot by nurses and midwives, but with this demand from society, she misses out on that too. Once the visitors are done flocking around the new mother, she is left more exhausted than ever and now has to go home with the daunting task of raising a new baby without any rest or experience.
This needs to end and people need to remember what motherhood is all about, and allow these new young mothers to feel happy as they bring in a new life. The next time there is a birth in the family, let’s remember to be a little less hard on the new mother, and send some genuine prayers instead!
Bahar is a recruiter by profession, an aspiring writer by night, and a mom of toddler twins. She has an unending thirst for learning, as she completed her BComm in Canada, an MA in Dubai, and continues to develop herself with reading and research.
With her column, she shares her journey as she grows and learns more about this crazy beautiful world we live in.