Are you interested in learning more about diverse parenting styles? I found The Danish Way to be spot on and was fortunate enough to have one of the authors, Jessica Alexander, agree to write a series of guest posts based on Danish parenting styles. This is the second in the series.
Becoming a new mother is, perhaps, one of the most challenging endeavors any woman will embark on in her life. No matter how well prepared she is, no matter how many books she reads, the shock of new motherhood can still be, well, shocking. The emotional, psychological, and physical toll taken from sleep deprivation, hormones, and the insecurity of doing things “the right way” is something no one can really prepare for. And yet, sadly, many women choose to isolate themselves rather than seek others for support during this difficult time. This may be due to exhaustion or depression or possibly feeling wary of being judged by others. It may also reflect American cultural in which we tend to be more insular.
This is paradoxical because it can be extremely detrimental to a new mother. Support from friends, family, and parent groups has been clearly proven to help new mothers deal with stress and thereby see their children in a more positive light. This improves everybody’s quality of life, particularly the growing child.
Denmark, a country voted as being the happiest in the world, incorporates a concept called “hygge” into their everyday life. This means “cozy time with family and friends”. The word “hygge” dates back to the 19th century. It is derived from the Germanic word “hyggja” which means to think or feel satisfied. It is being together with others and feeling connected in a nice, stress free atmosphere. Because Danes value hygge so highly, they all try to make it happen on a regular basis. It is a team effort and it is a huge reason why they are constantly voted as one of the happiest countries in the world. Feeling connected gives meaning and purpose to all of our lives and it has been proven to make us happier.
People with good social ties live longer, have stronger immune systems, are more resilient and better able to cope with stress. And this, not surprisingly, is particularly helpful for new mothers who are struggling through one of the most extraordinary and laborious rites of passage in life.
So, if you or someone you know is about to embark on the journey of new motherhood here are some tips to incorporate “hygge” to ensure a happier mom and baby.
Seek out other new mothers. Ask a local doula or midwife, join a “new mom’s” group, or ask around your IRL social network to find out who is having a baby around the same time in the surrounding area. Many hospitals offer breast-feeding groups that can offer more than just lactation help. In fact, sometimes moms who are not breast feeding at all attend!
Andresen, P. A., & Telleen, S. L. (1992). The relationship between social support and maternal behaviors and attitudes: A meta-analytic review. American Journal of Community Psychology, 20(6), 753-774. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/618341659?accountid=12874
Brown, B. (2012). Daring Greatly: How the Courage to be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead. New York: Gotham Books.
Cohen, S., Doyle, W. J., Turner, R. B., Alper, C. M., & Skoner, D. P. Sociability and susceptibility to the common cold. Psychological Science (2003): 14, 389-395.
Medina, J. (2014). Brain Rules For Baby: How to Raise a Smart and Happy Child from Zero to Five. Seattle: Pear Press.
Pressman, S. D., Cohen, S., Miller, G.E., Barkin, A., Rabin, B. S., Treanor, J. J. Loneliness, Social Network Size and Immune Response to Influenza Vaccination in College Freshmen. Health Psychology (2005).
To read more about The Danish Way of Parenting; a guide to raising the happiest children in the world click here: https://www.amazon.com/Danish-Way-Parenting-Happiest-Confident/dp/014311....