Matrescence and Why the Postpartum Period is Critical for Mothers

mom in postpartum period laying down holding belly
Picture of Lauren Hays

Lauren Hays

Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, PMHNP

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Matrescence: The Changes mothers experience in the postpartum period

Pregnancy and childbirth go beyond welcoming a new life—it initiates a remarkable journey called matrescence.

Coined by anthropologist Dana Raphael, matrescence describes the transformative physical, hormonal, emotional, and mental changes that women experience in motherhood. Think of it as a mother’s version of adolescence!

In this blog, we’ll explore the meaning of matrescence and shed light on the critical importance of the postpartum period for all mothers.

The Impact of The Postpartum Period on a Mother's Mental Health

Matrescence is a profound process where women navigate new roles and evolving relationships.

During this time, they undergo significant psychological and emotional shifts—adaptations to new routines, redefining their identity, and forging a profound bond with their child.

Exciting as it may be, matrescence also presents challenges, such as stress, anxiety, and even depression. So, why is the postpartum period crucial?

The postpartum period, also known as the “fourth trimester,” is the time after childbirth when mothers experience physical and emotional changes while recovering.

Proper rest, nutrition, and supportive care are vital for postpartum recovery. Research reveals that inadequate support during this period increases the risk of postpartum depression, increased anxiety, and bouts of anger, or what’s called postpartum rage.

Ensuring a nurturing environment for mothers is key, allowing them to prioritize self-care and nurture their newborns.

Mom laying with Baby In Postpartum Period

It Takes a Village to Raise a Child

Here at The Matrescence, we understand that this journey is best traveled with a supportive community of like-minded moms.

As the saying goes, “It takes a village to raise a child,” but it also takes a village to uplift a mom. Surrounding yourself with a tribe of understanding moms can be a game-changer!

Together, we can navigate the challenges and joys of motherhood with confidence, ease, and understanding.

Curious to join our incredible community of mamas navigating alongside you? Discover more about our motherhood community and how we can support you at every stage of your journey.

Prioritizing Maternal Health

Another essential aspect of the postpartum period is maternal health. Maternal health involves an understanding of the physical and emotional changes that women go through during pregnancy and childbirth.

Due to the changes in hormones and other physical and emotional factors, mothers are vulnerable to mental and physical health disorders.

Therefore, it is critical to provide access to and education regarding maternal health that may include counseling, therapy, or medication and continuing to break down the stigma of needing those resources to help women and mothers heal.

The Challenges Faced By Mothers in the Postpartum Period

Matrescence, the journey of motherhood, comes with its challenges, including emotional and psychological changes that require proper care and support.

The postpartum period is a critical period for mothers as it provides an opportunity for mothers to reorient their lives while learning to navigate their personal journey through motherhood.

Providing supportive care during the postpartum period can lead to successful maternal and child health outcomes while reducing the risk of postpartum depression and other mental health disorders.

Preparing for postpartum, accessing maternal health resources, and building a supportive community are some of the ways that can help mothers navigate the postpartum period. Therefore, it is essential to prepare for the fourth trimester to ensure mothers receive the support they need during this critical period! 

Postpartum mom lifting baby

Preparing for the Fourth Trimester Course

That’s why we created our signature course Emotionally Preparing for the 4th Trimester, written by a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner and mom of three who recognized the gaps she was seeing (and suffering through). 

Our course is designed to be an all-encompassing resource for women looking to better understand matrescence and the postpartum period.

We recognize that beyond just the physical changes of pregnancy, there are psychological and emotional changes that require a level of support and education that is too often overlooked.

Throughout the course, women can expect to learn about:

  • managing sleep and fatigue
  • nutrition for emotional wellness
  • the connection between physical activity and emotional resilience
  • strategies to build your stress resilience toolkit
  • the various presentations of postpartum mental health problems
  • how to communicate & get on the same page as their partner, and
  • how to prioritize and advocate for their mental health and overall well-being
  • and so much more including guided meditations

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Picture of Lauren Hays, PMHNP

Lauren Hays, PMHNP

Lauren was a licensed and trained registered nurse in the NICU and has since made a career shift to focus on mental health. Lauren is now a board certified Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, focusing on women’s health and wellness. She is a mom of three precious little men who has turned her pain into passion.

mother with eyes closed pressing her face up against her infant to calm her anxious feelings

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