It’s ancient history in the grand scheme of a life now, but every so often I think back to what it was like just after giving birth — scared, wounded, overwhelmed, too inexperienced to even know what kind of support I needed — and think, wow, the whole way we handle postpartum health here is really bullshit, huh.

The way the process of making life interacts with medicine — all of it, from pre-natal visits to labour to all the check-ups after — it’s not bad, per se. It’s WAY better than when we just used to straight-up die all the time. No complaints there. But when you have an uncomplicated birth like mine, they kinda end up looking at you and saying… well, you’re fine, off you go then! You’re a mom now whether you feel prepared or not, call us if things “get bad.” I was told there was support “if I needed it,” which felt like an insurmountable ask both to recognize in myself and then access it.

It blew my mind when I learned that, in other countries, new mothers are encouraged to go for pelvic floor therapy, by default. Do you know how much grief that would have saved me if that was just automatic, and not set up like it’s the “fail state” of a postpartum body? Or how in other countries, someone actually comes to your home and sits with you to talk about how things are going, instead of how I received one phonecall while making dinner and fielded mandatory questions about “whether I felt safe in my environment.” Or how my single personal medical appointment, at ten weeks, was a cursory physical assessment followed by being chided that I hadn’t started having sex again yet.

Meanwhile, baby’s got like five appointments in their first two months, and everyone wants to know how they’re doing, right down to the timing of their poops. There were two people involved in this process, but apparently, once you give birth, you’re supposed to just… keep an eye on yourself, I guess. Like you know any better. Like you know what you need, or what’s available to you. Like you have the attention to spare.

It’s just very obvious that how we handle the (physical AND mental) health of postpartum mothers is deeply flawed. The art of raising humans interacts very poorly with the way society is structured right now, full stop, but it’s really obvious when you take a look at how mothers’ health is treated vs. babys’ health. The machine works — again, we rarely die now!! — but so many screws rattle loose every day that it’s hard to believe it works at all.