My Facebook feed is showered with the news of babies-expecting mothers showing their bellies, can’t wait to meet our baby, Beyoncé is having twins, baby showers, newborn babies, baby play dates, babies laughing, baby’s day out, baby’s first words, baby’s dressed up, baby is 5 months old so we photographed her next to five apples…Babies. My Facebook is screaming Babies R US!
I think we may have experienced the second Baby Boom.
All this baby talk on social media got me thinking:
Why are babies’ first years counted in weeks? Why is crawling a milestone? Does every expecting mother use lotion on her belly? How painful is pregnancy and childbirth?
The biological process of growing another human being inside of your own body is fantastic. The fact that a woman would give up her body for the sake of a baby is honorable and deserves congratulations. The selflessness of parenthood is incredibly admirable.
I commend all the women currently coping with your changing body, trying to stay healthy and fit during pregnancy, struggling with body image during pregnancy, managing pregnancy aches and pains, coping with weight gain during pregnancy or body image pregnancy depression.
Likewise, fathers can be subject to the joyful symptoms of their partner’s pregnancy, a condition known as the Couvade syndrome. “When pregnancy symptoms such as nausea, weight gain, mood swings and bloating occur in men, the condition is called couvade, or sympathetic pregnancy,” according to Katherine E. Wynne-Edwards with the American Scientist.
All those struggles before the actual pain of giving birth. How painful is childbirth? Pain is subjective, different for each person, and there is not a universal scientific measurement of pain. “It is well recognised that pain intensity, like other sensations and perceptions, is a private experience that displays considerable variability both across patients and within a patient across time,” according to “Pain measurement in humans.” Though there is not a specific measurement for pain, labor pain can be compared to kidney stones, cluster headaches, severe burns and complex regional pain syndrome, trigeminal neuralgia (inflammation of the trigeminal nerve). So don’t worry men, you have opportunities to experience excruciating pain as well!
Even after the process of pregnancy and giving birth, the lasting duties of parenthood begin. Women continue to relinquish their bodies to the baby. According to Pat Shipman with the American Scientist, “Not only must she grow the baby inside her womb for 9 months, but also she must continue to care for and protect the helpless infant for another 12 months after birth.” The article continues, “In the womb, the fetus is basically part of the mother. Once born, the baby is effectively at a higher trophic level than its mother, like a parasite feeding on her, which increases the metabolic demands on her.”
In addition to the difficulties of caring for a raising a newborn baby, after birth women can experience postpartum depression (PPD), also known as postnatal depression. Baby blues, a short period of mood swings, sadness, and weeping, is common after giving birth. “Levels of the hormones estrogen and progesterone are sky-high during pregnancy—higher than they will ever be at any other time in a woman’s life—and after delivery of the baby and the placenta, they plummet. This neurobiological process triggers the baby blues,” according to Fit Pregnancy. Men can also experience paternal postnatal depression (PPND) disease and symptoms.
If you are experiencing any depression or anxiety, don’t feel guilty but rather reach out for help. These symptoms are usually more common than believed.
Parenthood is difficult and enduring, good luck to all those who are embarking on this adventure of creating and raising a baby!