The importance of privacy to the mother and baby was previously discussed in Chapter 5 - "The First 48 Hour", page 326. After that initial adjustment phase, it is also important in the first 3 - 4 months after childbirth that mother and baby spend as much time as possible around each other and away from the disturbances of the wider environment. Some of those factors were covered in Chapter 6 - "Baby Moon", page 335. Whilst the baby won't have any complaints about this suggestion, some mothers do!
For those women who were used to a vital social scene prior to the birth, staying at home full time for several months, primarily nurturing their little one, may seem an intolerable prison sentence. For others it can be a thoroughly enjoyable experience to have mainly that focus and the accompanying social isolation. It is often the case, that even if desiring and expecting a reduction in social contact, many new mothers get a shock at just how much they must throttle back their outside-the-home activities.
Frustrations in this area are invariably caused by inflexible desires and false expectations. The best way to avoid this is to start accommodating these changes, gradually, throughout your pregnancy as discussed in Chapter 4 - "Sur-rounding Environments", page 209 and onwards. When the time comes, you will be better prepared to feel right about staying in, and you will have prepared the ground for others to support what you and your baby need.
Reorganising the Essentials
If restricted to the home with a new baby, you may think that there are certain essentials (like food, banking, children to school, etc) which must be gone out for. But I have found that there are always ways of getting around such things. The first is to cut out what is not necessary to have. This will reduce the demand for acquisi-tions. Also attend in advance to those things which may need attention during baby moon. Secondly, stock up before the birth on things you consider essential. Even ask others to stockpile for you and then provide when asked. The third is to delegate. Here you call upon all those generous people who have said - "And if you need anything, don't hesitate to give me a call". Well now you do! Give them your supermarket list, or phone through your order to be home delivered or picked up by someone else. Arrange for someone else to pick up your older
children for the next month with the repayment that you will do it for them when you get out and about. Pay your bills by Internet or get someone to do them when in town.
Sometimes organising other people to take on these tasks is more of an attitudinal problem (in them and you) than a logistical one. Mothers these days often feel pressured to be Supermum and may feel either that they should not be asking for help, or may subtly resist relinquishing the last domain of their power (i.e. the domestic domain). By all means be a Supermum - to your baby that is - but that doesn't mean having to be everybody else's Supermaid!
Longing For Freedom
Apart from the practical reasons for staying around the house, a mother has to face the personal challenges this increased domesticity can create. Every new mother has moments when she hears her mind shouting - "I MUST GET OUT OF THIS HOUSE AND AWAY FROM THAT BABY!"
But rest assured, there will come a time for space away from baby, but the cue will come from him, when he knows his own world will not collapse without you and when, rather uncannily, he grows to understand your own needs for freedom away from him. This can vary greatly between children, beginning around the age of 4 months (for very short periods) so that by 8 months most babies will happily detach from their mother (onto some other well-trusted person) for an hour or so without anxiety. But such maturity in your little one will come more easily if he has every opportunity to bond well and learn to deeply trust in you early on.
For a first-time mother, and even for one with previous children (who has had a taste of greater personal freedom but who now finds herself back in a more restricted role), an unresolved longing for "freedom" can become a subtly self-destructive force. Identified or not, it can manifest as frustrations projected onto your baby; as dissatisfaction in your day to day work; as friction in your relationship - especially if your partner gets to go out all the time. But it is not just domicile enchainment which causes this. It is also the psychic dependence an infant has upon their mother. You can feel like you are never alone, even when you are!
Mothers with young children all have different needs and desires they would like fulfilled Sometimes it is simply the