She May Not Be OK, So Be the One Who Asks

She May Not Be OK, So Be the One Who Asks

After having my second baby in 2016, I distinctly remember a feeling I had that was so incredibly different the second time around. We would introduce people to our little boy, or speak with someone on the phone and the questions would come up…

“How’s the baby?” “How is he sleeping?”

But very rarely, and usually only from those whom I was closest to, did any sort of question come up related to me. And unlike before, I noticed it. And it bothered me.

I suffered some pretty extreme complications after a very quick and dramatic birth. I lost half of of my blood supply and needed a blood transfusion; all while we were living in Canada, away from most of my support system that could offer ME the care that I needed to recover and eventually care for my family.

Of course, if they had asked, the conversation may have taken an awkward and unexpectedly dark turn. Maybe that’s why many don’t?

Because no one wanted to hear about the real thoughts I had while nursing the baby in a quiet and dark house. The grief I carried for our birth plan gone awry. The guilt I felt for my oldest who didn’t understand why Mommy didn’t feel well. The cold sweat I would break into when the realization would hit me that my husband could have been left to care for our family alone.

So my heart sank when I saw the interview with Meghan Markle. The reporter, very innocently, asks how SHE was doing. And her response?

“…thank you for asking, because not many people have asked if I’m OK,” Markle said.

I saw the look on her face, and I knew before the words were spoken. She was not okay. And given the intense amount of scrutiny and criticism she has had to endure, I don’t know how any one would be. Although many would disagree, given her status and resources.

But they are wrong.

Regardless of circumstance. No matter race, ethnicity, economic status. If they are a seasoned mom or a new mom. IT IS OK TO NOT BE OK. We need to be asking new moms how they are on a routine and regular basis. {And we need to be asking tween moms and those who just sent their babies off to college how they are too!} 

Because this gig is HARD.

And giving birth is really, really hard. And recovery takes time. The way we are expected to immediately bounce back to care for our families and not take the time to let ourselves heal is unfair and frankly, it’s misogynistic. Be the one that asks how a new mom is doing. You just might be that lifeline they need to tell their story. To open that door to getting the help she needs. To save her life.


 

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