Why I Advocate for Better Postpartum Care

Many of you know that I am a postpartum care advocate. (Yeah, I’ve only been talking about it since the birth of my son 4 years ago!) It was through my experiences as a doctor and a mother that I came to recognize the lack of care provided to new mothers.

Before I ever had my son, I spent time volunteering in a pediatrician’s office. I was waiting on my medical license to come through and eager to get more experience so when the opportunity came to work under another doctor, whom I held in high regard, I jumped on it.

He was a conventional MD with over 20 years of practice experience and an enormous patient population who adored him. (They still adore him.) He’s amazing at his job and his love for what he does radiates throughout his office.

It was during these child-centered appointments that I first came to realize how little support mothers have. During one of the numerous pediatric visits that take place in that first year, I would encounter mother after mother asking for help for her own conditions — her struggles.

This rock star pediatrician I was under did wonders with children, but when faced with a question about mom’s health, he’d promptly turn to me and say, “I don’t know, you should ask Dr. Brighten.” And then he was off. Swiftly out of the room and onto the next beautiful babe in need of his care.

And there I sat with mom, listening to her story, offering her suggestions, recommended testing and compassion. The latter is probably what she needed most.

As a women, my heart ached for these mothers. Everything, all the promises of joy and bliss in motherhood, wasn’t what they had come to know as their truth.

When I asked the doc I was working with how often he encountered a mother asking for help with her own health, he looked at me very somber and said, “All the time.” In his face I could see that it ate at him. What do you tell them when I’m not here, I asked. “To see their doctor. I don’t know what to tell them.”

And why would he? He’s an excellent pediatrician who did not take the path of women’s health, obstetrics, or general medicine. His role is to care for their children. But it was in those days that I found myself asking repeatedly, “Who is caring for the mothers — our mothers?”

Fast forward to the moment after the birth of my son, where my midwives provided incredible care for me. Where my son was looked after and I felt a great deal of support until 6 weeks postpartum.

Ah, the magical 6 week milestone. The moment you are told you can have sex, exercise, and be on your merry, blissful motherly way.

Six weeks also marks the onset of postpartum depression for many women. At 6 weeks, the disrupted sleep, chaos, inflammation, and stress all begin taking their toll. We can see the earliest signs of autoimmunity arising at that magical 6 week mark.

I’d like to say that I just saw a need in other women’s lives and decided to fill a need. But in truth (and you know I am a fan of honesty), my role in helping other women heal is just as healing for me. I was a mother who could have used a doctor advocating for my health. I had the knowledge as a doctor, but there is power and healing in having a relationship with your doctor and knowing someone has your best interest at heart.

I believe with all of my heart that if we are to create a healthier future generation, then we need to start with supporting our mothers and enabling them to create their healthiest selves. While this means working much further upstream, before a mother is even born, I think there is a need now to support mothers in those early months following birth.

This is my passion, and my contribution to a world without chronic illness, autoimmunity, chronic allergies, asthma, depression, and anxiety. It’s starts with you, momma. Which is why I set out to write a book that would be a mom’s go to guide to healing her body after baby.

The Mom’s Wellness Bundle

If you’re a mama or mom-to-be, check out this amazing (and first of its kind!) bundle curated by yours truly JUST for moms.

When I put the word out to some of the top experts in health and wellness that I wanted to put together a gift for mothers, the response was overwhelming!

The Mom’s Wellness Bundle is available for a limited time at a discounted price—just in time for Mother’s Day.

You’ll get the Mom’s Wellness eBook with more than 100 recipes, wellness tips, and mind-body medicine techniques created with the busy mother in mind. AND the Mom’s Wellness Bundle: a uniquely curated bundle of eBooks, e-courses, videos, exclusive interviews, and more than $400 in coupons for some of my favorite healthy brands.

You can also check out my book, Healing Your Body Naturally— The New Mom’s Guide to Navigating the Fourth Trimester or download your Free Postpartum Birth Plan here

 

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About The Author

Dr. Jolene Brighten

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Dr. Jolene Brighten is a Functional Medicine Naturopathic Doctor and the founder of Rubus Health, a women’s medicine clinic that specializes in women's hormones. She is recognized as a leading expert in Post-Birth Control Syndrome and the long-term side effects associated with hormonal contraceptives. Dr. Brighten is the best selling author, speaker and regular contributor to several online publications including MindBodyGreen. She is a medical advisor for one of the first data-driven apps to offer women personalized birth control recommendations.