Share this with your partner to help them understand what you may be going through!
Did you know that a woman can still be considered postpartum even 2 years after giving birth? Did you also know that after birth, women go through a hormonal, mental and physical transition called matrescence?
Matrescence refers to the psychological and emotional process of becoming a mother. It is a term that describes the significant transition a woman undergoes as she moves from pregnancy through birth and into motherhood. Matrescence is similar to adolescence in that it is a period of intense change and growth, but instead of navigating the transition from childhood to adulthood, a woman is navigating the transition from womanhood to motherhood.
During matrescence, a woman may experience a range of emotions and changes, including physical changes, hormonal shifts, identity shifts, and changes in relationships. She may experience anxiety, guilt, and uncertainty, as well as joy, love, and fulfillment. Matrescence involves a complex interplay between biology, psychology, and culture, as women navigate the expectations and norms of motherhood in their particular context.
The concept of matrescence recognizes that becoming a mother is not just a biological event, but also a significant life transition that requires support and understanding. By acknowledging the unique challenges and experiences of this transition, we can better support women as they navigate this important life stage. By providing them with a safe space to feel and express their emotions we can help women regulate their nervous system which in turn will help them heal.
Emotional safety refers to the feeling of security, comfort, and trust that allows us to express our emotions, thoughts, and feelings without fear of judgment, rejection, or harm. Emotional safety is an essential component of healthy relationships and personal well-being and comes about when we feel seen and heard.
In an emotionally safe environment, individuals feel supported, respected, and valued. They can express their thoughts and feelings without fear of retaliation or negative consequences. Emotional safety requires open communication, active listening, and a willingness to be vulnerable and empathetic.
Emotional safety is particularly important in intimate relationships, including romantic partnerships, friendships, and family relationships. When emotional safety is lacking, individuals may experience anxiety, stress, and a sense of disconnection. This can lead to difficulties in communication, conflicts, and feelings of isolation.
Creating emotional safety requires active effort and a commitment to empathy, understanding, and compassion. This involves actively listening to others, being willing to see things from their perspective, and responding in a non-judgmental and supportive way. It also involves being willing to set and respect boundaries and being honest and transparent in communication.
An emotional threat is a behavior or statement that is intended to cause emotional harm or distress to another person. This can take many forms, such as verbal or non-verbal communication, physical actions, or social interactions.
Some examples of emotional threats include:
Threatening to harm someone's reputation or social standing.
Using insults or name-calling to hurt someone's self-esteem.
Refusing to speak to someone or giving them the silent treatment as a means of punishment.
Withholding affection or emotional support as a means of control.
Using guilt or manipulation to get someone to do what you want.
Emotional threats can have a significant impact on a person's mental and emotional well-being. They can cause anxiety, depression, and other negative emotions. It's important to recognize emotional threats when they occur and take steps to protect oneself from further harm.
If you feel that you are being emotionally threatened, it's important to seek support from trusted friends, family members, or mental health professionals. It's also important to set boundaries with the person who is making the threats and to communicate clearly about what behavior is acceptable and what is not.
Creating a Safe Space
Becoming a new mom can be both an exciting and overwhelming experience, and it's not uncommon for a new mom's nervous system to become dysregulated during this time. Here are some ways to help a new mom regulate her nervous system:
Encourage slow, deep breathing: Deep breathing exercises can help calm the nervous system and reduce feelings of anxiety or stress. Encourage the new mom to take deep breaths in through her nose and out through her mouth, and to focus on the sensation of her breath moving in and out of her body.
Practice gentle movement: Gentle movement such as yoga, stretching, or walking can help regulate the nervous system and reduce feelings of tension or anxiety. Encourage the new mom to move her body in a way that feels good to her, and to take breaks as needed.
Provide emotional support: Being a new mom can be emotionally challenging, and having emotional support can help regulate the nervous system. Be a listening ear for the new mom, and provide emotional validation and support.
Encourage self-care: Encourage the new mom to take time for self-care activities that help her feel relaxed and rejuvenated. This can include taking a warm bath, getting a massage, or doing something she enjoys.
Help with practical tasks: Feeling overwhelmed by practical tasks such as cooking, cleaning, or caring for the baby can contribute to dysregulated nervous system. Offering to help with these tasks can provide relief and support the new mom in regulating her nervous system.
Overall, helping a new mom regulate her nervous system involves providing emotional and practical support, encouraging self-care, and practicing gentle movement and breathing exercises. Remember to be patient and compassionate, as it can take time to adjust to the new experience of motherhood.
Sexuality After Birth
Sexuality after giving birth can be a complex and individual experience. The postpartum period can bring about physical, emotional, and hormonal changes that can impact a woman's sexuality.
Here are some things to keep in mind about sexuality after giving birth:
Physical changes: The postpartum period involves physical changes, such as vaginal dryness, discomfort or pain during sex, and changes in body shape. These changes can affect a woman's confidence and desire for sexual activity. Words of affirmation and validation is so important at this time.
Hormonal changes: Hormonal changes during pregnancy and postpartum can affect libido and sexual desire. For example, breastfeeding can cause a decrease in estrogen levels, which can lead to vaginal dryness and a decrease in libido.
Emotional changes: Becoming a new mom can be emotionally challenging and stressful, which can impact sexual desire and enjoyment. It's important to prioritize emotional well-being and self-care during this time.
Communication with partner: Open and honest communication with a partner about sexual needs, desires, and expectations can be helpful in navigating the postpartum period.
Healing and recovery: It's important to give the body time to heal and recover after giving birth. It's generally recommended to wait until after the 6-week postpartum check-up before engaging in sexual activity, however for some women it may take longer and that's ok!
It's important to remember that every woman's experience with sexuality after giving birth is unique. Some women may experience a temporary decrease in sexual desire or enjoyment, while others may not experience any changes. It's important to prioritize self-care, communicate openly with a partner, and seek support from a healthcare provider or therapist if needed.
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