The physical, mental and emotional changes that females go through during pregnancy is much greater than I could have ever expected and I will never fully understand the depth at which these occur. With that said, I will be the first to admit that I knew the bare minimum about what these changes look like.
I thought I understood the basics about the anatomical changes that occur within their bodies, but that was hardly scratching the surface. Rarely did I think about the mental and emotional changes that go along with these physical changes. This topic had come up in conversation numerous times with my wife and she had mentioned she just read an excellent book that outlines the pregnancy from a female perspective. I was super eager to read this as I wanted to understand what she was going through.
The book was called “Like a Mother: A feminist Journey through the Science and Culture of Pregnancy” written by Angela Garbes which provides the reader with a comprehensive look at the female perspective of pregnancy. This is a book that I am very glad that I took the time to read. I was able to connect with my wife and better understand when she was describing to me what she was going through or how she was feeling!
While I was reading this book, it became more and more apparent to me the need to be patient, supportive and encouraging to my wife as we travel through this journey. There are so many decisions and other aspects that she has been tasked with having to decide and decipher while pregnant, most of them I was not aware of. These decisions need to be made thinking about what is best for mom and baby, and can be very overwhelming to do on their own. In turn, its super important, that I as a the closest support be open and ready to listen to what she is going through.
Garbes outlines many aspects of pregnancy from the female perspective that often gets overlooked or dropped onto the shoulders of moms to be tackled alone. I really appreciated the way that she explained what females were going through during pregnancy and helped me better understand what my wife was going through. With the amount of information accessible to our fingertips and others with strong opinions stating their opinions unwarranted, Garbes tries to provide the scientific information for moms to make decisions on their own and be OK with making the decision that best fits their unique situation.
There were numerous aspects of this book that I enjoyed, however, below are a the two specific aspects that stood out to me more than any of the others and provided many learning opportunities for me.
The Power of the Women’s Body
I knew that the human body was an amazing structure before reading, however upon completion of Like a Mother, I am even more in awe of the female body. The ability to be able to adapt the inner workings of their bodies to be able to grow and develop a new life is amazing, and something I took for granted prior to reading this book. Feeding babies is another facet of the female body that amazed me. The ability to detect illness or other needs in their babies, and being able to address that through breast milk boggles my mind! I realize that not all moms are able to breastfeed, but the general idea of this practice is astonishing.
This has to be my biggest takeaway from reading Like a Mother. Garbes outlines that the care for postpartum moms is not adequate enough to help the new mom on their road to recovery; unless it is warranted due to adverse events during the birthing process. The baby has frequent checkups and appointments once born to make sure all is well, but not nearly the same attention is given to the mom who has just completed an enormous journey that took its toll on their bodies. There are injuries suffered both physically and mentally through the process of childbirth and the mothers are usually just sent on their way, forced to fend for themselves on the road to recovery.
Since reading this book, we have begun discussing my wife’s aftercare. We will be searching for a health care providers with specializations in working with postpartum mothers to help with a speedy recovery.
I would recommend this book for both new moms and dads. It provides a lot of relevant information to help make tough decisions and gives a road map as to what to expect as the pregnancy develops through to full term. Garbes also does a great job reassuring new parents that you are ALLOWED TO and SHOULD DO what works best for the both of you and not worry about anyone else’s opinions.
I believe it gives dads a very accurate perspective as to what moms are going through and tasked with just because they are the ones who will be carrying the babe. It is crucial that we as dads understand these things and become involved to help support!
Until next time,