Updated: Sep 20
(As featured in The Natural Parent Magazine)
You can understand why women are anxious about being pregnant in the middle of a global pandemic.
Aside from the fear of your baby contracting the virus itself, the pregnant and postnatal landscape is very different to pre-covid; the customary birthing classes have been cancelled, hospitals feel like a war zone and women across the globe have had to face the prospect of giving birth alone, without their partner or any support person. On top of all of that, firm visitor restrictions within hospitals and the non essential travel bans have meant new mums and bubs have not had the usual influx of visitors. Whilst seemingly devastating to not have your nearest and dearest admiring your adorable little human, the COVID climate has shown us there are some real benefits to this:
1. CHILD DEVELOPMENT
Current data is showing that new borns are regaining their birth weight quicker than they were pre-covid. How?
Less visitors = less interruptions and less distractions; ultimately allowing more time for feeding and mother/child bonding.
This is important as rapid weight gain during the neonatal period has a direct cognitive benefit for the child and can result in a higher IQ later in life.
2. BUILDING SECURE ATTACHMENT
In order to build secure attachment, your baby needs to feel safe, calm and understood by you. They need to feel secure knowing you will meet their every need.
While you watch, listen and learn your babys cues, they are picking up on yours.
Having more one on one time with your baby allows you to develop this bond and understand each other sooner.
Secure attachment promotes optimal neurodevelopment for your child, high self esteem and the ability to regulate ones emotions. Secure attachment gives children the building blocks to develop healthy relationships with themselves and others, and are less likely to suffer from disorders such as depression and anxiety.
3. YOUR WELL-BEING
Whilst learning how to meet every need of your baby, a new-mums life typically consists of doing laundry and making cups of tea for visitors. The pressure of having to wash your hair, keep the house clean and be able to hold a conversation is a lot to ask of someone who has recently given birth and is feeding every 2-3 hours.
Pregnancy and childbirth leave a woman's system utterly depleted which is why it is important to only do what is absolutely necessary during this time - rest, recover and care for your baby.
This is not a new concept, there is an ingrained tradition in China called “sitting the month” which is basically a month of postpartum confinement. The whole month is focussed on the health and recovery of the mother.
There is no TV, no books, no distractions or visitors (apart from a live-in mother or sister whose duty is to care for the new-mum).
Making your health a priority may quicken your recovery and can potentially prevent issues such as postnatal depression, insufficient milk supply, prolonged bleeding and anxiety and other longer term deficiencies.
There are many things that COVID has taught us - Gardening, puzzles and board games can be rewarding, teachers are angels, we touch our faces a lot and slowing down is do-able.
Your friends and family will be there arms wide open eager to meet your baby as soon as you are ready.
During the fourth trimester, get to know your baby, bond and heal.
It will have real impacts on your life and theirs.
Sara Laharnar is the owner of Tree of Vida Acupuncture, a womens health clinic on the Mid North Coast close to Forster & Taree. She is a passionate acupuncturist/herbalist dedicated to womens health, fertility and pregnancy support.