Giving birth to a child is a physical and emotional experience that's as exhausting as it is exhilarating. Afterward, every new mom needs recovery time, even if she had a relatively easy birth. Factor in a C-section or other complications and the need for care after birth increases exponentially
For many women around the world postpartum
support comes from partners, family, and friends who rally to help out and give the new mom a chance to regain her strength and focus on bonding with her baby. The type of support moms get and the length of time they receive that support vary around the world.
In China and India, many new moms practice the tradition of postpartum confinement
after the birth of a child. Confinement is a period of time, usually from 30 to 40 days after the birth of a child, when a new mom rests and avoids physical work.
The mom stays home and is attended by close family and friends. Some women even hire a professional confinement "lady" or maid. These helpers cook special recovery meals for the new mom, teach her how to bathe, swaddle
, and care for her newborn, and tend to the baby when mom needs rest.
In India the confinement period can last anywhere from 40 to 60 days depending on where the woman lives. In addition to rest and special meals, the "confined" new mom might also receive a daily massage to soothe her body and help her blood circulation.
Part of the reason confinement traditions aren't more widespread is that forty days at home, with or without professional help, is a luxury that's out of reach for most women.
In fact, many new moms around the world have to go back to work as soon as possible after their child is born because they have no access to paid maternity leave.
The U.S. is one of the only developed countries without a national paid maternity leave program. Compare that to countries like Sweden where new mothers and fathers are eligible for 48 weeks each of paid leave after the birth of a child, the UK (39 weeks) and Russia (28 weeks). Even India and Malaysia both offer 12 weeks of paid leave to their new mothers.
The Duchess of Cambridge will live with her parents, Carole and Michael Middleton after giving birth to her first child. Carole’s younger brother, Gary Goldsmith confirmed that Catherine will indeed be using mum’s help.
“The fact that they’re taking the baby to Carole’s for the first six weeks is genius,” Goldsmith said of the Middletons. ”Carole’s a brilliant mum – she is 10 years older than me and practised on me – and I think it’s the right thing to do. It will take the pressure off Kate.”