Here’s the deal:
You deserve so much better than APNO.
No other dermatitis on the human body
would a physician prescribe
and an antibiotic
all at once.
Because we actually diagnose what is causing the dermatitis (rash/lesion)
and treat with the appropriate treatment.
If it is fungal, we prescribe an antifungal.
If it is bacterial, we prescribe an antibiotic.
If it is inflammation due to an irritant or contact dermatitis, we prescribe a steroid.
We do not just throw
the whole kitchen sink at it
and hope for the best.
For some reason,
when it comes to nipples,
suddenly we no longer take the time
to diagnose and
There are several reasons for this:
Our patriarchal society that does not value appropriate diagnosis and treatment for a condition that mainly affects people who identify as women.
Leading to poor training for physicians and other healthcare professionals in how to diagnose and treat this primarily woman issue.
Postpartum people are not prioritized by the medical system. The only people assessing the nipple concerns are lactation consultants who, while amazing and so incredibly valued and needed, are not trained and it is not within their scope of practice to diagnose and treat nipple lesions/dermatitis.
What do we do?
Lactating parents deserve better than APNO.
You deserve the time and expertise of someone who can accurately diagnose and appropriately treat the specific issue.
Find a physician/midwife who will take a good history and do a quality physical exam and figures out what is causing the specific concern.
At Fourth Trimester Doc, we are breastfeeding medicine specialists and provide in home care in the postpartum period for mothers/postpartum people and their newborns. Send in a contact form via our website or call to schedule a free consultation. We would love to be a small part on your journey of motherhood.
Matrescence (n): The process of becoming a mother
My favorite word. A word that is so simple in description, yet so complex, so forgotten, so deep, so neglected. A word that has become the focus of my life both personally and professionally.
Matrescence (when pronouncing it, think adolescence) is a term that is just starting to make its way into the spotlight… finally! Finally, there is a term that encompasses all of the hormonal, emotional, spiritual, social, and physical changes that a woman goes through when transitioning into motherhood. We have a whole field of adolescent medicine which focuses on this transitional period in life when there are large hormonal shifts, identity and emotional development, and significant physical changes. But when it comes to the transitional period for women with similar magnitude and breadth of changes, the term is still in its infancy, just becoming realized.
Matrescence was first coined by Dana Raphael, Ph.D., an anthropologist and breastfeeding advocate in 1973 in The Tender Gift: Breastfeeding: “Childbirth brings about a series of very dramatic changes in the new mother’s physical being, in her emotional life, in her status within the group, even in her own female identity. I distinguish this period of transition from others by terming it matrescence to emphasize the mother and to focus on her new life style.”
Interestingly, around that same time she also coined the term “doula” to identify a woman who served as a supportive companion to a woman during childbirth. It took 35 years until matrescence was revived by Aurelie Athan, Ph.D., clinical psychologist at Columbia University, and applied it to maternal mental health. According to Aurelie Athan, Ph.D.: “Matrescence is a developmental passage where a woman transitions through pre-conception, pregnancy and birth, surrogacy or adoption, to the postnatal period and beyond. The exact length of matrescence is individual, recurs with each child, and may arguably last a lifetime! The scope of the changes encompass multiple domains --bio-psycho-social-political-spiritual-- and can be likened to the developmental push of adolescence.”
Aurelie Athan wrote about, presented on, created a course, and even created a certificate program about matrescence, but it wasn’t until Alexandra Sacks, MD, a reproductive psychiatrist, wrote her Op-Ed in the New York Times in 2016, later presented a Ted Talk in 2017 and since published a book on the topic that matrescence has started to become truly acknowledged.
My first introduction to thinking more deeply of this sacred time was when I first heard the phrase that is often said in the birthing world: “The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new." – Osho.
This quote has never really sat well with me and I think it is because I see matrescence as so much more than the that moment of birth. A mother is born months and sometimes even years before a baby emerges from the womb. The transformation may begin with a dream, a longing, or even come as a complete surprise when looking at a pregnancy test or gazing into the eyes of her baby, months after it was born. Her matrescence will forever change her, whether she holds a child in her arms, her heart, or her dreams.
A woman defines for herself when she identifies as a mother. Is the woman who has a miscarriage and grieving the loss of her unborn child not considered a mother? Is the woman who has been struggling with infertility, getting invasive testing, taking medications, adjusting her lifestyle all in the hopes of conceiving not considered a mother? What about foster and adoptive mothers? Or the woman who has given birth, but maybe months later has yet to feel like a mother? That definition belongs to no one but the woman themselves.
This blog will be a forum for discussing all topics related to the process of becoming a mother. It will be a place where we will be Making Sense of Matrescence. Thank you for being here. I am so grateful that you have found this space and that you are taking this journey with me to honor and learn about this transitional time.