Universal Experiences of Having a Baby

Childbirth varies greatly from country to country, depending on cultural differences and the healthcare system of the country.

Childbirth varies greatly from country to country, depending on cultural differences and the healthcare system of the country. Some of these details can make a huge difference in what the parenting experience is like for new parents.

Childbirth varies greatly from country to country, depending on cultural differences and the healthcare system of the country. Some of these details can make a huge difference in what the parenting experience is like for new parents. However, whether you are living in France or another country in the world, there are some circumstances about parenthood that don’t change across cultural barriers.

Universal Truths

Some experiences of having a baby are maintained no matter where you are. It can be difficult to prepare for some of the after effects of childbirth, such as postpartum depression and the challenges that come with taking care of a newborn. However, many of the challenges after having a baby are strictly socioeconomic issues that affect those without the resources to properly and thoroughly care for themselves and their baby.

Growing a baby consists of a huge physical change for both the mother and the baby. No matter where the baby is being born, there are always some risks involved during childbirth — risks that are accentuated greatly for mothers who don’t take the proper precautions and examinations prior to having the baby.

Postpartum Depression

One challenge that many mothers experience after having a baby is postpartum depression, which is a mood disorder that causes acute sadness, fatigue, and anxiety. After giving birth, these feelings can make it difficult for a new parent to complete basic day-to-day activities, which can exacerbate these symptoms of frustration and exhaustion.

Maryville University cites the American Psychology Association by saying, “As many as one in seven women suffer from PPD, a condition that can present itself anywhere from a few days up to several months post-delivery. It has no boundaries, either, because it can affect any new mother without regard to her background, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, or whether it is her first time or fifth time giving birth.”

Even when mothers have taken all of the necessary precautions and give birth to a perfectly healthy baby, the emotional strain and chemical releases during pregnancies can spark PPD in even the most prepared mothers. All new parents should be prepared for the possibility of an emotional struggle with PPD after giving birth to a new child.

Baby Weight

Having a child is a really joyous experience. However, once the child is born, many mothers go back to worrying about aspects of themselves they made allowances for due to the baby, such as baby weight. After having a baby, many women worry about shedding off the extra weight they gained during pregnancy, which can be difficult when taking care of a newborn.

This is a common concern for new mothers who have spent the last nine months housing another life in their body. However, it’s important to remember that even after the baby is born, your body is still completing a process, and it’s okay to give your body time to heal before worrying about getting your pre-baby body back.

Cost of Having a Baby

The cost of raising a child isn’t a concern in some places; especially in Europe, where the majority of individuals have access to universal healthcare. In Germany, having a baby and all the necessary prenatal care costs less than $500, with insurance. In other European countries, such as France, the average cost of having a baby without insurance is about $3,500, which is thousands of dollars cheaper than the cost in the U.S.

In the U.S., the average cost of having a baby is over $10,000, and can be nearly as expensive even with insurance. The cost of healthcare, and the lack of assistance many parents receive, sometimes means that parents don’t have the funds to keep their newborns healthy. This can make parents unable to provide their children the medical attention they need to stay healthy, or to not give them the amount of healthy baby food necessary for them to get nutrients they need.

According to Ohio University, “Data shows there is a great need for more child welfare workers in the United States. Child protection service agencies investigated an estimated 4.1 million child-maltreatment allegations nationwide in 2016, according to the latest federal data.” This can often include neglect or not providing them with the food they need to stay healthy.

Families in the U.S. often struggle due to a lack of social programs to help families have the resources they need to be happy and healthy. On the other hand, France has several strong social welfare programs that cover healthcare for pregnancies, as well as other medical expenses. Employers also provide allowances for families with children, and cover any expenses needed by children with special needs.

After Having a Baby

After having a baby, parents continue to worry about a lot of different areas of their lives, including their relationship with each other. Babies require so much time, energy, and attention, that many parents worry they won’t have energy for their romantic relationship. However, it’s important to lean on each other and give each other breaks while raising the baby.

Fortunately, France has a great healthcare system, especially for childbirth, so parents don’t have to worry excessively about the cost of having a child. Parents may be given a stipend for child care benefits.

France is also considering increasing the amount of paternity leave fathers can take to four weeks, which could be a huge help for parents who are trying to rebalance their lives after a newborn. In most developed countries, paternity leave only consists of a couple of weeks, so that fathers can help mothers for a short while right after the baby is born.

Although a father isn’t recovering from having a baby, they do play a huge role in helping out the mother after childbirth, and they also need time to bond with their newborn. Unfortunately, most countries don’t give new fathers as much time as they might want to bond with their baby.

Having a baby is very different, but also very similar all around the world. Most new mothers go through the same process of growing a baby inside of them. However, not everyone receives the same amount of care, which can make a huge difference in the outcome of the pregnancy. Still, many new parents share a lot of the same concerns and surprising experiences of parenthood after having a baby.

Article by Guest Contributor Dan Matthews

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