June 6, 2012
MadreBonita is a Japanese nonprofit organization supporting mothers’ mental & physical healthcare, providing a holistic fitness program designed for women after childbirth.
The program is designed not only for the physical fitness but also for the mental wellness of mothers .
There is a paradox concerning childbirth in Japan. When you have a baby. First thing you hear is Congratulations. And The survey shows that Japan is the country where neonatal motality rate is the lowest in the world. That means we can give birth safely in Japan with good sanitation and medical treatment. But things are not so simple. Every year in Japan 100,000 mothers suffer from postpartum depression within a year after childbirth. That is 10% of all mothers with babies under 12months. 80% said I was nearly there even though I wasn’t diagnosed as depression. So many mothers are living on the edge with little babies in their hands.
In 1998 I gave birth to my little son. Now that I am a mother of a teenager. I still remember the hardest time I had. A year after childbirth. The doctor told me the baby was growing well so there is nothing to worry about. But I myself was feeling very unstable and exhausted. Everyone’s attention was concentrated on the baby. The mother was left alone with pressures and fatigue.
I was surprised for 2 reasons. First of all because I had never been informed I was going to be like this. It was never taught at school. It's all hidden. Secondly because there is no system for mothers to stay healthy. When you look at the Japanese maternal healthcare paid at public expense. For expectant mothers there is free parenting class, regular checkups, a lot of information. The National Health Insurance takes care of the cost of birth. For babies free immunizations, free checkups, free medical care. But there is almost nothing for mothers.
So it is wrong to blame mothers for depression or child abuse. Lack of understanding lack of professional or social support are causing such problems. That’s I found out 14 years ago.
In order to bring solution to this we developed a postpartum fitness program. Currently 50 classes are held in 9 prefectures in Japan. And also we did a research on postpartum life in Japan asking 620 mothers about the bodies, minds and the relationship with their partners to let more people know about the reality of women after childbirth.
By the end of june the English translation of the research will be released and will be sold at kindle. We would like to introduce the reality of women after childbirth and how mothers are coping with hardships in Japan. We would like to welcome you to join the conversation with us on how to solve these problem like postpartum depression or chilabuse.
founder, executive director