In many cultures, even today, new mothers and their infants are subject to a period of physical seclusion or confinement from the rest of the world. During this time, the support of relatives and local community plays a vital role in sustaining the family by caring for the older children, providing food and completing chores typically carried out by the mother herself. It is hard to imagine now that things were not so different for the generation of our own great-grandmothers.

No longer restricted by this custom, women today enjoy the benefits of improved healthcare, education and childcare options, which grant them greater freedom than ever before. Yet the stigma and judgement that come with pregnancy and early motherhood linger, whereas support of the local community has all but disappeared over time. Today’s society too often adopts a patronising, utilitarian attitude which blinds it to particular needs of parents and families. As a consequence, many new mothers experience feelings of loneliness and isolation from their social networks, unknown to them before. Some feel actively ostracised and judged when they should be encouraged and cherished.