My Expert Midwife reveals new motherhood is the loneliest time for Irish mums
I think we've all felt this.
A total of 75 per cent of new mothers admit to feeling lonely after giving birth, according to a survey in Ireland carried out by My Expert Midwife.
While 25 per cent of these mums admit to feeling more lonely than they expected to feel during the post-natal period, a third of the mothers surveyed revealed that the months following the birth of their babies were the loneliest they had ever felt.
In a survey speaking to over 100 Irish mothers who had given birth in the last five years, My Expert Midwife discovered that only 14 per cent of mums surveyed felt as though they were fully prepared for their post-pregnancy period.
Mental health was revealed as the area where Irish mums felt most unprepared for post-birth, with the physical recovery being a close second.
In fact, over half of the mums surveyed stated that the fourth trimester was harder than they had anticipated.
Registered midwife and co-founder of My Expert Midwife, Lesley Gilchrist, commented:
“The fourth trimester can leave women feeling underprepared as it is a time of new experiences and mixed emotions.
Despite the fact that you have this wonderful new bundle of joy joining your family, women are often adjusting to a new way of life, and recovering physically and mentally from pregnancy and birth – often getting little sleep.
Women tend to receive a lot of support during their pregnancy journeys, including information on what to expect throughout every milestone of each trimester. However, when it comes to the transition from pregnancy to post-partum, there is a lot more uncertainty and less of a focus on physical and mental recovery.”
Over half of the mums surveyed expected post-birth recovery to take six weeks or less, however for a massive 78 per cent of mums, it took between 12 weeks and a year to feel fully back to themselves.
Half of the mums surveyed also admitted to feeling underprepared for the sleep deprivation that comes with minding a newborn.
Registered Irish midwife and childbirth expert Avril Flynn, commented:
“The post-natal period can be a lonely time for women, despite the fact that they might have close family around to help, so I’m not surprised that so many women said they felt lonelier than they had ever felt before.
It is important that we continue to work to help women feel as prepared as possible for life after giving birth - their physical recovery, their mental wellbeing, making time to heal and look after themselves. Every woman will recover differently and in their own time, so it’s crucial that they don’t put any pressure on themselves.
The fourth trimester is supposed to be an adjustment period for mums and babies to allow physical and emotional change.”
Last year My Expert Midwife undertook research which showed that most new mothers in Ireland put their own physical and emotional needs on the back burner after their babies are born.
In fact, when it comes to the recovery period, the My Expert Midwife research established that three quarters of Irish mothers don’t even consider making a post-birth recovery plan for their physical or emotional recovery, despite the My Expert Midwife midwives recommending a minimum of 30 minutes a day for recovery.