This headline, Most New Moms Exhausted: Study, is so obvious it looks like it might have been ripped from the pages of The Onion. But it's no joke. A new study from the School of Public Health at the University of Minnesota shows that nearly 1 in 6 women are back to work within ONE MONTH of having a baby and concludes that women need way more support (and time off) for post-partum healing. Too often the focus shifts radically from mom to baby, and she's left in the dirt (or at least in the office bathroom, sweating and tending to plugged ducts, hemorrhoids or who knows what). Maybe this study will help spread the word that for many of us, bouncing back is much more complicated than fitting into pre-pregnancy jeans.
Two articles in Slate today on the ups and downs of breastfeeding:
One, from a pediatrician saying yeah, breast is best, but maybe not as best as we think. The other's about pumping, personally and historically. Includes a highly informative slide show about one of the least illustrated aspects of motherhood.
Ladies, start your engines. In reverse. Caitlin Flanagan is here to tell you how much you are screwing up your lives, your kids and your marriages by not being a good housewife, old school style. Here's a long, remarkably evenhanded profile from Elle, and a short, suitably scathing quip from Gawker to tell you what it's all about.
Perhaps the most offensive nugget presented in the Elle piece is Flanagan's assertion that her husband's kindness after her chemo was payback for all those years of domestic servitude. "If marriage is like a bank account, filled not only with affection but also with a commitment to the other person's well-being as much as to one's own, I suppose my balance was high. I suppose that all the days I had made a home for my husband, and all the times I had ended my writing days early so that he could work late or come home to a hot dinner and not a scene of domestic chaos—all that, as much as the desire and intensity that originally brought us together, were stores in my account.”
First, there's the horrifying fact that she's implying those who don't similarly subvert themselves are less deserving of care. Then, there's the fact that a woman's "well-being" might actually benefit from being able to work late herself, or from just having a career at all. C.Flanagan simply doesn't seem to think this is so. The problem, for us, with her as so many of the other mommy reactionaries, is the homogeneity. How is it possible to steamroll details like financial need and personality and ambition and fulfillment out of the picture? Are we hoping that our ever-growing drug industry will smooth out the edges for anyone who isn't happy doing what Flanagan suggests? Little yellow pill style? Her technique seems to be to boldly deny difference, or to scare the dissenters into submission. Either way, yuck.
Points for Liv Tyler for calling bullsh*t on the epidemic of postpartum celebrity insta-weight-loss. It's a nice counterpoint, for example, to the terrifying baby-as-accessory spread in this month's Vogue. We can't find a link but in case you miss it, there are lots of pictures of a sterile, dominatrix-style super (model) mom spoon-feeding and transporting her baby around town (and suburbs) in platform heels, huge sunglasses and the odd trench-coat. The fantasy of impossible shoes and motherhood is certainly an interesting one--a blatant rejection of safety precautions?? But there is one pair of platform mules that should probably be given a once over by The Consumer Product Safety Commission.
This NY Times article about the popularity of sleep drugs offers some insight into why "sleeping through the night" is more about cultural expectations than biology. The article includes explanations for why we drift in and out of sleep (and lie awake at 4 AM) based in part on the sleep habits of the oft-studied !Kung bushmen of the Kalahari desert.
A study at the Mayo clinic found that 89% of parents had weird, scary thoughts about their new babies ... and almost none of them had a "problem." 89%! We feel so much better.
Ok, now that we've gotten onto fashion, we can't resist the critique.
split ends and flyaways.
First, we must give some post-partum props to Jennifer Garner for (almost) pulling her shit together for the event. It was nice to see someone looking exactly where they should be 3 months out of the gate–instead of the usual Hollywood hyper-shrunkenness.
We're so not on the same page with the press saying
And what was with the frizz? Maybe it was just the improved resolution...
Maybe it's because all the celebrity muses are pregnant. This spring's fashion is looking remarkably belly-friendly. From Daryl K's 'Love Is A Battlefield' haute schleppiness to everything by Ella Moss to the pregnant bridesmaid look from Marc by Marc Jacobs, a lot of what's currently in the stores could easily hide at least five months worth. Before, or after.