I was making a queue at a local hospital for my son’s usual hospital visits. A man walked in with an infant aged three or four months. The mother of the child was standing at a distance watching. She looked young and presentable in navy blue jeans and a green t-shirt. She did not know which vaccinations her baby had received.
The nurses and other mothers looked at her surprised. How can a mother not know which shots her child has received? Why had she not been taking her baby to hospital for scheduled hospital visits?
People were applauding the man for his heroic efforts. At public hospitals, it is rare almost impossible to see a man at the child’s welfare section. Clinical visits are left for mothers. This man wowed everyone.
Before raising fingers towards the young mother, it is important to understand why she did not take her child to hospital for periodic visits. This is where postpartum counseling comes in.
Once a mother gives birth, everyone forgets about her wellbeing and it is all about the baby. Has the child breastfed? Why is he crying? Is he growing well? No one really asks about how the mother is doing. Is she stressed about the colicky child? Is she eating? Is she getting enough sleep?
With our case study, it was apparent that perhaps the woman did not expect to have a baby. The look on her face said a lot more than what people were commenting. She looked confused. To some people, she was ‘slaying’.
Postpartum counseling is an important aspect. Many women in the country need it especially first time mothers and those who carried unexpected pregnancies. Counseling helps them understand the beauty of having a baby. It assists them navigate through issues relating to raising a child.
It can be stressful especially in a society where women are the caregivers. Many fathers are not actively involved in taking care of their children. Mothers do the raising fathers pay bills and school fees. They do not know how difficult it is to stay with an infant with all the crying pooping, and noise.
Counseling sessions give mothers an opportunity to meet other mothers and share the burden. This way, a woman does not carry the weight alone.
The worst that can happen after having a baby is postpartum depression. It is a health problem that affects women across the world. Some women do not even know they have it until it is too late. Postpartum counseling is helpful and hospitals need to introduce it.