Help! I am slipping.

Written by: Dianne Edmonds Posted on 15 Nov 2011 1

Mothers can cope with many things, and go through the day and night soldiering on to attend to feeds, nappies, teething babies, washing, work, putting things away, teaching children moment by moment while learning themselves. They may start early in the morning if their husband works in the daytime, and manage nearly all day....until that time.....5pm strikes! It’s like the clock striking midnight. Suddenly everything changes.

At a mothers group I attended (as a physio) some years back, in the session about postnatal changes and looking out for the signs of postnatal depression, all the mums there told a story about the end of the day scenario. Their husbands would phone to say they would be late, or another ten minutes at work would turn into half an hour or an hour or more, when “something just happened” at the end of the day. They had managed all day at home, doing the tasks at hand, almost keeping on top of them, until that last part of the day got longer and longer and longer and longer.

Then, what happens? The cycle starts! Tiredness sets in ten times more than it was at 4.30pm, unless that was the turning time if it had been a 3am start to the day. The pressure cooker juggle time starts, with dinner needing to be ready soon, a baby or toddlers needing food, you are getting hungry yourself and you really do need some adult conversation or someone to at least hold the baby NOW! This is the time that your back can start aching, some women feel like it’s breaking, as fatigue sets in and those muscles don’t do their supporting job so well any more. And your pelvic floor?!!! Has anyone heard of a pelvic floor that could go through childbirth and bounce back immediately to cope with the pressures of holding everything up against gravity at the end of the day? Women who have an aching back and and an aching pelvic floor really struggle to put a smile on at the end of the day and say “hi honey, how was your day?”. And when you don’t and you just want a rest......does the ideal happen in your house?

Would this be, you made dinner in the morning, you got an adequate amount of lying down rest during the day and a sleep maybe too? The toddler slept at the same time that the baby did, and you enjoyed a cup of tea and a restful activity because all the washing was done, put away and your house looked neat and spick and span, and shiny too because ......just like the books do. OR IS IT LIKE THIS – nappies thrown on a pile on the lounge, the baby didn’t have a sleep and neither did you, did I have a shower or not today because I can’t remember – and you want me to say “Hi honey, how’s your day and some......”. Where do we find the happy middle ground?!!!

There was a cartoon around a while back that had a picture of a woman with a hugely messy house, and when the man of the house returned, he asked what had happened. She said nothing, I just didn’t do what I normally do each day!

Most of the work around the home from the time of having children is unseen. It takes a strong woman to stay on top of this, and do some things to recover from the enormous changes physically and emotionally from pregnancy and childbirth. In some countries, the tradition is that women don’t do anything apart from look after their baby for the first 6 weeks, to bond and rest and allow their body to recover. Ours is often quite different, so it is no wonder that we see and hear of so many women with pelvic floor problems, as their muscles often don’t get a chance to rest and recover fully, and after another pregnancy and childbirth, and a toddler running around, it can become even harder to recover if you don’t recover well the first time around.
That brings us back to the start, and that crucial hour of timing of returning from work. Oh if only a man would realise the power of that one hour and come home a little early when they have a wife or partner at home with a baby, toddler and/ or children. This would bring health into your home and help the nation of women who need time to rest and recover from bringing these wonderful children into the world.

If life is becoming increasingly challenging, there is understanding and help that can come from sharing and learning from the experiences of others. To find out more follow the links in our story "Looking back on it now" to the Beyond the Baby Blues website, and click on News + Updates to see news, articles and two of the authors on the Kerri-Anne show.

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