Thanks to the work of Dr Oscar Serrallach, we now know about Post-Natal Depletion: a physical and mental deterioration caused not just by the process of giving birth and breastfeeding, but by the stresses and strains of modern parenthood. It has been a breakthrough in how we view mothers, and how we can better support mamas.
I would like to suggest a new term for us to consider right now – a term I'm calling Post-Pandemic Depletion. Taking Dr Serrallach's definition, and instead of birth and breastfeeding, looking at the mental and physical stress of modern parenting in a pandemic, I believe we're looking at a very similar outcome.
We've been through a lot. It's been a time of great stress and worry, as well as joy. But we can not just allow the world to go back to ‘normal' without acknowledging the toll this has taken.
Just as we can't assume and ignore the effect on a mother's body and identity when she becomes a mother, we can not ignore what mothers have had to do over the past four months – and the toll it may have taken.
This episode is both a warning and a call to arms. Let's honour what we've done, and promise ourselves to listen to our bodies before we just dive back into life again.
We can't keep making that same mistake.
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