The famous forty are the 40 days, approximately, immediately after the birth of the child. It is often confused with the puerperium, the period we need to recover after childbirth.
The puerperium covers more than 6 weeks of quarantine. It is a physical and emotional recovery process that women need after 9 months of pregnancy and after giving birth. According to various studies and theories, it can last from one year to two years, even three.
One year to recover from childbirth
A 2015 investigation, developed by Dr Julie Wray, of the University of Salkford, UK, found that “We women need at least one year recover after childbirth. The hormonal and physical changes a woman’s body experiences during pregnancy don’t end with childbirth.
The puerperium also involves physical and emotional changes to adjust to the new reality of being a mother. The researcher interviewed women from various countries who had given birth two to three weeks, three months and six to seven months after the birth of their children.
Wray discovered that for Ideally, most mothers should have at least 12 months of postnatal recovery. “Women feel it takes longer than six weeks to recover and need support beyond six to eight weeks after birth”said the researcher.
The aforementioned research refers to the estimated time that new mothers believed it took to recover after giving birth. But for the Argentine psychologist Laura Gutman, author of the famous book “Motherhood and the encounter with one’s shadow”, He puerperium lasts up to 2 or 3 years of the child’s life.
Mom and baby are the same emotional unit. Childbirth “breaks” the physical unity that mother and child were during the 9 months of gestation. While they are no longer a unit, they are still emotionally close and breaking up takes time.
For the family therapist, the puerperium is a period in which there are situations that are not entirely physical, but no less real for this. The birth was a strong “emotional breakdown” in which we went from being one to being two.
the shadow itself
The puerperium confronts us with what is beyond our control. To come out reconstituted and renewed from this reunion, it is necessary to be aware of the process we are experiencing and to recover after giving birth.
As we find ourselves in that terrain that moves between the mystical, the energetic, and the emotional, we have a newborn baby in our arms that we need to care for. But precisely the baby cries because it expresses the pain and fears of the woman that have been unleashed after the birth.
Perhaps our grandmothers fared better because their only occupation was home and children. But today’s active, orderly, enterprising, successful woman is something else.
Mothers have to move from the immensity of their emotional world to the concrete world. The latter involves work, money and daily worries. We are not prepared, nor is our environment, to make this transit safelywithout falling into despair.
When there is no time for reunion
Faced with this complex emotional situation described by Gutman, it is clear that waiting for the woman to recover her pre-pregnancy normalcy, her sexuality, her working life, It’s an impossible fantasy to achieve in 6 weeks.
The truth is that not all mothers are lucky enough to be able to devote themselves entirely to caring for their child, while he recovers physically and emotionally. Many, millions, have other children, they don’t have the help of their father, they have to go to work. There seems to be no time to meet herself.
The reality faced by millions of working women and mothers is that there is no maternity leave in their countries to allow them to recover after giving birth. The woman has to go out to work, she has to look for someone to take care of the child and she loses opportunities.
The reality of working mothers
Only 34 countries adhere to the International Labor Organization (ILO) recommendation to grant:
- At least 14 weeks of maternity leave.
- A fee that is not less than two thirds of the previous income.
Most maternity leave is not tailored to the needs of mother and child. With few exceptions:
- Croatia grants 410 days of post-natal leave.
- Countries such as Montenegro, Bosnia and Albania also offer 365 days of post-natal leave.
- United Kingdom, 315 days.
- Norway, 315.
- Sweden, 240.
At the other extreme are most countries in Africa and Asia which do not exceed 8 weeks. Moreover of attachment to the child, is a matter of physical and emotional health that the woman can recover after childbirth.
We still have a long way to go in recognizing the needs of the woman who has just given birth and her baby.
The post Women need a year to recover from childbirth first appeared in research-school.