Have you been having constant fights with your partner or co-caregiver of your baby about how to put on the diaper, how to change the baby’s clothes, how to burp the baby? While this behaviour might seem very normal for you since you are the ‘mother, after all’, it might not be as natural as you think. You might be experiencing maternal gatekeeping.
Maternal gatekeeping refers to a situation where a mother feels that only she is capable of taking care of her little one. Health Shots got in touch with Obstetrician and Gynaecologist Dr Nandita Palshetkar and Shreya Mitra, Postpartum and Parenting blogger, to understand what maternal gatekeeping entails and how to avoid it.
In simple words, a mother undergoes maternal gatekeeping when she restricts her partner’s involvement in tasks regarding their baby. “She would want to decide how the child must be cared for, how the dad must spend time, analysing the quality time the dad spends, being unable to trust anyone else with the child etc,” explains Mitra.
While many things may seem normal for a new mom, there are particular behavioural traits that can help you spot maternal gatekeeping.
These symptoms might seem harmless, but they have a major impact on new mothers. Dr Palshetkar shares the side effects of this parenting style:
The uncertainty and conflict over parenting roles also create tense surroundings, affecting the overall well-being of the mom.
This kind of isolation can end up in a narrow social circle and decreased support network, impacting the mother’s mental health.
Excessive gatekeeping may additionally exert pressure on the relationship between the mother and father, inducing anxiety and fostering resentment.
The physical and emotional toll of handling parenting duties alone may additionally lead to exhaustion and a decline in well-being.
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Constantly assuming childcare duties can also wear down a mom’s confidence, fostering a feeling of being liable alone for the child’s duties. This dwindled self-worth can impact numerous aspects of a mom’s lifestyle.
Maternal gatekeeping can also inadvertently hinder the father’s potential to shape a strong bond with the child. This additionally impacts the mother’s personal experience of shared parenting, impacting the overall family equation.
Persistent gatekeeping behaviours may have lasting results on the mom’s intellectual capability, contributing to situations that include tension or despair through the years. Addressing and resolving gatekeeping problems is important for the long-term welfare of both parents and the kid. This can also lead to depression and anxiety.
Here are some tips to prevent maternal gatekeeping:
Establish a basis for open exchange of feelings with your spouse. Develop a safe space to discuss parenting expectations, issues, and aspirations for a mutual understanding.
Regularly express gratitude for your partner’s contributions, fostering a happy atmosphere and reinforcing the collaborative efforts in raising your baby.
Actively involve your partner in numerous childcare tasks, distributing responsibilities equally to promote bonding and dedication towards co-parenting.
Support and encourage dedicated bonding time between your companion and the child, and understand the significance of their time together to improve family connections.
Acknowledge and respect the differences in parenting styles, without judgment or attempt to manipulate. Embrace the diverse views that can enhance your child’s upbringing.
This demonstrates a collaborative method that fosters a sense of partnership in raising your child.
Establish clear boundaries to ensure that both dad and mom have the space and opportunity to contribute to parenting duties.
Regularly reflect on your own parenting beliefs and behaviours, and ensure that they align with a healthy and cooperative parenting style that benefits both you and your partner.
Professional guidance can offer treasured insights and techniques to overcome obstacles and strengthen your co-parenting rapport.