I’ve never considered myself a particularly “political” person, in large part due to privilege but also because I tend to inhabit the healer/peacemaker role, always cherishing individual connections as opposed to larger group opinion. Then I became a mother and I experienced the huge gap in systemic biopsychosocial support once the focus immediately shifts away from the birthing person postpartum, (assuming they had access to quality healthcare to begin with.) Then the pandemic hit, and I experienced the incredible scarcity of economic support for parents, starting with unpaid maternity leave and lack of affordable and sustainable childcare options.
I had already been specializing in perinatal mental health and a mom of 2 when Roe vs. Wade was overturned, but it was then that it dawned on me that dedicating my life to supporting women’s wellness is inherently political because women’s bodies have been used as political battlefields throughout history. And we are seeing this play out again and again, especially during last month’s massacre in Israel that included particularly targeted and barbaric acts of violence toward Jewish women and babies. My ears ring with the wail of Palestinian mothers as they, too, weep for the stolen lives of their children.
Now it’s not only political, but deeply personal. If politics is defined by power relations and allocation of resources and status, then protecting birthing people’s ability to choose if, when, and how to bear children--and then prioritizing their well-being throughout their lifespans so that they can carry on raising healthy and compassionate individuals--seems to be THE MOST valuable investment of all.
So, this is what I remind myself and the young parents I am so honored to work with, when they are inundated with conflicting messages from Tik Tok “university scholars” and overwhelmed with the weight of this burning world that they have worked so hard to bring their babies into. When they are questioning their “first world problems” or what they are doing to make things better or “contribute.” That agonizing over that decision to try again after such a painful loss, that gazing into their infant’s sleepy eyes while chestfeeding through another seemingly endless night, that breaking through patterns of inherited intergenerational trauma in how they parent their own children and learn to re-parent themselves, is not only “doing enough,” but, in fact, revolutionary. And that this job is, in fact, the most important, challenging, and humbling one, even if modern civilization has yet to protect the sanctity of this. #realtalk #perinatalmentalhealth #reproductiverights #motherscall #collectivegrief #politics
Post and Image by Sharon Itkoff Nacache ATR-BC LCAT LPAT PMH-C