For many new mothers, the standard 6-week to 2-month recovery time allotted to most women after childbirth is insufficient. While some women seem to do rather well in the weeks after birth, the vast majority find themselves needing more time to physically and emotionally recover. Constant features in the media of celebrity moms bouncing back in a matter of weeks places undue pressure on mothers as well.
On average pregnancy lasts just over 9 months (40 weeks) and is very stressful on a woman’s body and mind. The delivery itself, whether normal or cesarean, often results in urinary incontinence, perineum and anal pain and tearing, back pain, and more. These issues take months – not weeks – to recover from.
Postpartum depression is also very common and lasts as long as six-to-seven months after childbirth. Regardless of a diagnosis of postpartum depression, the majority of mothers feel mentally unprepared to return to work after the usual 6-to-8 week maternity leave they are given.
Complete recoveries from pregnancy and childbirth can take up to a full year (1). There needs to be a change in how employers and hospitals support mothers, plain and simple.