MOTHER Lab: Mother’s Day Edition

Sereena Jivraj, Leah Franklin, Eimaan Anwar, Mansi Rana

The first goal healthcare providers have once a baby born is to directly place the newborn in contact with the mother’s skin. This “golden hour” of skin-to-skin contact “stimulates behaviors that help to meet the newborn’s basic biological needs, activates neuroprotective mechanisms, enables early neurobehavioral self-regulation, and reduces stress.”1 Essentially, it has been scientifically proven that a mother’s bond with a child is like no other. During this week’s special edition Mother’s Day post, I’d like to delve into what motherhood means and some of the challenges new mothers face during the postpartum period.

Some of the first words that come to mind when people consider the word “motherhood” include growth, exhaustion, comfort, caretaker, love, 24/7 job, and more. There is an incredible amount to unpack beneath the term. In many cases, mothers are there for their children from the time they are tiny cells, to the gymnastics and karate events, to the days their children have their own children. Whether they are mothers through the act of conceiving and birthing a child, through adoption or surrogacy, or simply through their actions of cheering on a child in need of love, they are known to be a child’s number one fan. They devote their whole being to ensure the safety of their children. No matter how many times their teenager yells “I hate you!” or storms out of the house, a mother’s love for their child will never waiver. 

So, let’s deep dive into some sacrifices a woman makes in the process of growing, birthing, and caring for a child, shall we? 

Everyone knows about the nine long months of growing a tiny human. But what are some sacrifices of pregnancy, birth, and postpartum that the average person isn’t aware of? For starters, lochia, also known as vaginal bleeding and discharge after birth, can last for up to 6 weeks2 after birth! So, on top of breastfeeding, stark fluctuations in hormone levels, and changing 10-12 diapers daily, they also have to somehow deal with one of the biggest menstrual cycles of their life for weeks after birth. Oh, and you know how new moms handle this continuous flow? Mesh panties or diapers. Like mom, like baby, right?

Another common misconception of bringing life into the world is that the pregnancy belly “deflates” immediately after birth. But realistically, after nine months of growing and stretching those muscles and skin, it can take up to two months for the uterus to return to its pre-pregnancy size. Between the heightened emotions a new mom experiences after birth and the realities of her body continuing to change, new moms deserve a lot of appreciation and TLC!

Now that we’ve covered some hidden truths to creating life, I hope we can all think twice before snapping at our mothers for having to repeat ourselves or for getting on our nerves. Mothers endure so much and after all they do for their children, they deserve unlimited flowers and chocolate! Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there!

References: 

1 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4235060/

2 https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/9682-pregnancy-physical-changes-after-delivery

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