Valerie Gommon Midwife’s Blog

French minister Rachida Dati returns to work five days after caesarean

Posted on: January 8, 2009

I have just heard about this story in today’s Telegraph.  Apparently Rachida Dati the French justice minister has returned to work, smartly dressed with make-up and high heels five days after giving birth by caesarean!

Gosh!  How do I comment on this one?  I really feel that women feel under intense pressure to be glamorous and function “normally” after having a baby.  Who exerts this pressure – well I think it is largely women themselves, and certainly this high-profile woman is sending a message to thousands of other women.

My reaction is that this is just crazy!  She has had major abdominal surgery (for that is what a caesarean is), she has had a baby and she should be at home resting and spending time with her baby.

Women obviously do vary in how they recover after a birth, but they need time to adjust to life with their new baby; their sleep will be disturbed, they will be physically tired and hopefully they will be making breastmilk and learning how to breastfeed.  Women need a “babymoon”!  There are, of course, dangers of postpartum haemorrhage (which although rare is serious), infection, mastitis and depression.  I do think that other cultures where women are cosseted and fed for up to a month after birth may have it right.

On the one hand, women are working until the eleventh hour before the birth, putting themselves at risk of high blood pressure and premature labour, and on the other hand not allowing themselves any recovery time.  I am not suggesting a return to the 10 day “lying in” period, we know that it is actually beneficial to be mobile as soon as possible (even after a caesarean birth) but shopping with a two-day old baby really!

I shall be discussing this issue later today on www.bbc.co.uk/threecounties/local_radio/

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2 Responses to "French minister Rachida Dati returns to work five days after caesarean"

Val, this is crazy. What about the baby? He/she needs their mum, they need her breastmilk! How many men would be back to work so soon after major abdominal surgery? How is this going to make the vast majority who barely can make it to getting dressed before midday – the usual experience of a woman with a five day old baby. You are right to call for the return of a bit of cossetting for postnatal women. Bet this French woman doesn’t cook the tea, or change the nappies, or get up in the night. Why have a baby at all if you are going to miss out on the wonder of the first few weeks? She could have set a wonderful example of the importance of motherhood …. alas …

That’s so sad… I really feel for her little baby, and for her. She must feel under an enormous amount of pressure to return to work so soon after not only having major surgery but having a tiny little baby too.

I agree with you, I really believe women should rest after birth and not enough women do… I wonder if this has anything to do with the high rates of PND these days?

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