Although I didn’t know it yet, as I became pregnant, I entered the most financially vulnerable period of my life.
I went from being the money earner in the household (with a partner who studied), to working from home, to not working at all. I’d told my employer I’d be back at the desk two weeks after giving birth. I was naive, silly, and wrong!
First off, although I didn’t get it with any of my births, birth care providers that I’ve spoken to at the Awaken Your Inner Birth Goddess Summit like Nicola Goodall from Red Tent Doulas recommend that any birthing mother receive at least 40 days of bed rest after giving birth.
This is called traditionally the “babymoon” and ensures that the ligaments and tendons, including around our womb, that have been stretched from the birth go back into place optimally, so we don’t get all those annoying post-birth issues like wetting our pants when we laugh!
Postnatal care providers like Heather Bruce believe that wrapping the belly so it goes back into place, and resting in bed, is the combination needed for our bodies and bellies to go back to their pre-birth physique — without it, we are stuck forever with that floppy baby belly, regardless of how hard we work out!
Yet, how many pregnant women out there have a partner or family who will prioritise them staying in bed for a whole six weeks, and do all the housework and baby care for them? It’s not uncommon for us to have a partner who doesn’t support this at all!
This is very much where the role of the postnatal doula comes into play — or at the bare minimum a nanny, cook and cleaner, if you don’t have a partner or family who will do it all! I didn’t!
In the past, it was called a tribe. Today, it’s called money. And for the sake of your long term health and recovery, you definitely need to have it. But how do you do the budget, when at the time when you need to spend the most, you also have your earning potential cut down to zero?
There will be other health costs you may need to pay for and consult post-birth, too. Lactation consultants for example. Women’s physical health therapists. Ultra nourishing foods, tonics, or supplements. And other health professionals according to your needs and the needs of your baby.
So this article is going to focus on what I wish I’d known prior to giving birth to my babies so that I could look after myself and them, the best I could during these vulnerable weeks, months and years.
With all the focus on health, birth, and babies, there is little out there to educate about what we as new mothers need to do to take care of ourselves financially and emotionally. Let’s change that!