Are 40 days after postpartum enough?María Arellano
The postpartum quarantine is, in theory, the period of 40 days after delivery to recovered from the physical and emotional changes during pregnancy and birth. To return to normal, as people say….
But in practice this is very different.
The immediate 40 days after delivery is like a new period, a new stage in which the mother experiences profound changes, both physically and emotionally. It is unrealistic to say that 40 days are enough to assimilate the changes that are yet to come. We can say that quarantine is a myth: postpartum lasts at least one year.
A more realistic postnatal period.
It is enough to observe expecting women around you and add a dose of common sense to conclude that 40 days are just not enough. A study conducted by Dr. Julie Wray, from the University of Salford in England, ensures that the recovery period of six weeks is unattainable and mentioned that new mothers need at least a year to cover the entire postpartum period.
“Research shows that more realistic and favorable postnatal services are needed for women, and women need much more than six weeks to recover and have more support from the present six weeks after birth.”
In view of this research and the real needs of mothers and babies, maternal losses are unfair. Maternity leave in most countries is very, very far from the idyllic 52 weeks, except on specific cases such as Denmark, Sweden, Norway or Canada.
Getting to know the baby.
As you know, the baby develops in the womb for nine months. But at birth, it will take at least 9 to 12 months to become somewhat independent from his mother. It is only during this period that he can try to get the necessary attention to survive, to cry for food, for warmth, for love.
From the moment we see our baby’s face for the first time, women are not the same again. Definitely, being a mother changes your life. It changes our physique, our emotions and of course, our priorities.
We stopped being who we were and we have to get to know ourselves again as mothers. Our world begins to revolve around that little person who depends on us 24 hours. From the physical point of view, there are a lot of changes to get used to, a new body that we have to learn to love with new imperfections. Stretch marks, marks and roundness that are now a mark of our motherhood. From the emotional point of view, although the changes are not visible, they are much deeper. We live in a whirlwind of contradictory emotions, feelings that we have never experienced before.
Unconditional love towards the baby, a new dimension of the relationship as a couple, a different position in the family (you are no longer a daughter, you have become a mother), feelings of guilt (guilt begins to accompany you now that you are a mother), fear in the face of new responsibilities, and probably insecurity, frustration and sadness at times. Thus, a mix of feelings that turn us into a bomb of emotions about to explode. To deactivate it and recognize ourselves in our new role, we need time.
Going back to the sex life.
During the six weeks after delivery, the uterus returns to its normal size and position. It is normal to experience blood loss during that period in which, generally, sex goes into the background. But here also 40 days can fall short. You can not set an arbitrary deadline to say if the woman is prepared to have sex, because each one lives their own circumstances, which obviously are not only physical.
It is something that the couple should talk about and get back to it when both feel physically and emotionally prepared to resume a sexual life. It is a new stage for the couple, now they are parents and it is possible that their sexual life, as they knew it, also changes. It is an adaptation that requires more time, and of course, 40 days are just not enough.