How Nail Polish and Nipple Cream can Reduce Maternal Health Barriers in Rural Vietnam
If you asked me to name a universal truth in this world, one that transcends race, religion, socioeconomic status and cultural context, it would be this: Motherhood is hard. Yes, it’s usually many other wonderful and rewarding things as well, but I’d be pretty hard-pressed to find a mother who could tell me unequivocally that her journey thus far has been nothing but smooth sailing. When I was a kid, my mother placed a magnet on our refrigerator that read: “Every mother is a working mother”.
As a child, I never fully grasped the wisdom of that simple statement, but as I moved into adulthood I gradually began to notice how so many women around me were tirelessly constructing their schedules, priorities, professional careers, and sometimes–it seemed– their very identities around motherhood, and it finally hit me just how much truth that fridge magnet carried with it.
In fact, that seemingly innocuous little magnet served to highlight another common thread of truth that ties mothers of all different backgrounds together: Often new mothers and their support networks are so busy focusing their energy on the baby’s needs that the mother’s physical, mental and social needs can go unidentified and unmet. Despite some increasing awareness of this issue in countries like Canada, Australia and the UK, there is still a long way to go in recognizing and addressing the multitude of potential post-birth challenges for women all around the world.