As news focuses on a woman in D.C. and whether or not she had postpartum depression, I choose to turn attention to the postpartum bliss that happens to women having babies everyday around the world. That’s right. Women are having babies right now, yesterday, the day before, the day before that, last week and last month. Most of them are riding the bliss of new motherhood speckled with dreamy nights blended into daytime and the hormones of new found love flooding their bloodstream. Yes, the women experiencing postpartum bliss actually outnumber those experiencing postpartum depression and it is happening everywhere, as 80% or more mothers do not experience depression of any kind.
Those first few moments of a mother holding her little one are mixed and riddled with ecstasy, exhaustion and surprise. There might be some fear in there, if it’s her first or even her second, as – “how am I going to do this?” settles in with the reality of a new person now living at home. For most mothers and fathers, however, this is a joyful blessed experience that brings people closer together and tends to draw in community, thanksgiving, service and love. Who doesn’t want to visit a newborn baby? Statistics say that new parents receive more visitors, happy emails, flowers and food offerings than most anyone for any other single occasion. Mormons are especially gifted at showering their new parents with frequent meals so no cooking is required.
If the fresh mother and father are so lucky, they will have family over to prepare meals, clean-up messy blankets and shower them with loving affection. There is nothing so healing as staring into the eyes of a new person who has freshly arrived here on planet Earth. Their smell, their tiny movements, their little lips, all bring individuals more into the present moment than most other occurrences save maybe the sexual act.
The act of breastfeeding, done by most new moms, triggers the release of oxytocin into the bloodstream which not only helps the mother heal from birthing, by contracting the uterus, but floods her system with amazing feelings of bliss. Yes, new motherhood is filled with a mix of dreamtime lucidity, daytime frailty and over-all wonder at how this all happened so fast. To some women, their hormones leave them feeling depressed, but for most women – it’s just a beautiful miracle they are trying with all their will to adjust to gracefully.
Yes, postpartum bliss is happening everywhere to the delight of mothers, fathers and children across the globe. So, occasionally we hear about those who have had their hormones go awry and struggle to stay in joy following the birthing of a new child. Let’s just not misread and over-emphasize that fact for the overwhelming numbers of blissful parents every place. Remember, whatever we focus on – increases. Joy is generally an accompanying feeling to new parenting, even if it does include sleepless nights and a sense of being overwhelmed. There is nothing quite like the presence of a new little soul. And that is good news.
By: Stasia Bliss