The Reality of Postpartum Social Support Changes
Pregnancy and postpartum are two of the most significant times of transition for a woman’s life. While there are many expected changes that occur during these times, there is one that many people don’t usually talk about: the shifts in social support.
When Social Support Fades
For many first-time mothers, their family and friends are among the most significant sources of support. This can include everything from emotional encouragement and validation to tangible assistance with childcare, household chores, and more. But as time goes on, the amount of help they receive can often begin to diminish.
This dip in social support is common and can stem from a variety of different causes. It can be the result of friends and family’s own responsibilities taking precedent, or perhaps feeling like they aren’t equipped to provide the assistance that is needed. It can also be the result of expecting the new mom to be able to take on more and more on her own; as if transitioning into motherhood is simply a matter of getting used to the rhythm and taking care of everything without help.
Replacing Social Support
It’s important to recognize that although there may be a decrease in social support, this doesn’t mean that new moms have to go through the postpartum period alone. There are plenty of online and physical services available to new mothers that can lend that extra helping hand. Here are a few:
Postpartum Support International
– Offers phone, online and in-person support for women in the weeks after giving birth
– Connects women with local postpartum care professionals
– Provides resources and education about mental health related to postpartum
– Experienced and trained support for the care of a newborn
– Help with feeding, scheduling, and general newborn care
– Provide emotional and physical support for new mothers
Mommy and me classes
– Connects new mothers with a community of like-minded individuals
– Offers parental education, advice, and resources
– Provides a safe and interactive environment to foster bonding with baby
Find What Works For You
While it can be incredibly challenging to experience a lack of social support during postpartum, there are many available services that can offer the help and reassurance that many mothers are looking for. It’s important to remember that everyone’s postpartum journey looks different and that the best approach is to find whatever works best for you and your situation.