The overall picture is of recent mothers engaged in a juggling act, carrying
multiple and sometimes conflicting responsibilities while experiencing high
levels of social, physical and emotional health challenges.
I have to say, it's disheartening to read the results of the new Childbirth Connection study summarized here and have to agree that they are right on par with what I experienced as a new mom. That leads me to wonder if there's really any effective way to prepare young, pregnant, starry-eyed moms-to-be for their new role as parent of a newborn if their heads are filled with visions of cute nurseries, easy breastfeeding and 50/50 division of newborn duties with their significant other. Truly, it may not be possible for the message to really sink in at that time. But if it could, I think we may see moms better able to cope with the demands of a new baby and better able to advocate for themselves and what they need at home and from medical professionals.
If anyone has a recommendation for a book or video that properly prepares pregnant couples for new parenthood, I'd love to hear about it. And I'm not talking about a "What to Expect" book. I'm talking about a realistic portrayal of modern parenthood in America, especially when it comes to the first few weeks of caring for a newborn.
Perhaps even reading about preparing for the change wouldn't do any real good but if there's a good one out there, I could at least recommend it to my pregnant friends and save them from having to figure it all out from square one.