What I've Learned From Motherhood
Being a mother is one of the hardest and most challenging things you can do in life.
After nearly 20 years of being involved in supporting mothers during the childbearing year and beyond as a birth and postpartum doula, childbirth educator, and women's health advocate I am still awed and amazed at the power of women through the journey of pregnancy, birth and parenting and very concerned about the challenges parents face in embarking upon this path today in our current culture.
As a mother of two boys, 15 and 4, who were both born at home through long powerful labors, and the years of breastfeeding and the never-ending journey of making complex choices about healthcare, education and raising them consciously, it still absolutely amazes me what mothers and fathers go through in life.
This is not an easy journey, especially in today's world where parents get little support socially to navigate the many ongoing choices facing us today, while also having dramatically increasing costs of living, limited education choices, growing financial obligations and steep childcare costs.
Not to mention that babies come out of our bodies! Really! Regardless that every single person on the earth was gestated within and born from a women's body, and that I've witnessed many births, and have done it myself twice, it still boggles my mind! People come from people! Though it's a fact of life - it's still a mysterious amazing process!
I remember the first birth I attended (that child just had his 17th birthday!) and how for days afterward every woman I saw on the street I looked at with wonder thinking how incredible and astonishing our bodies are, how strong women are, and what infinite creative potential we each hold within - not just to birth babies but to be sexual empowered embodiments of creativity in every aspect of our lives.
I think if more people honored and respected the journey of birth and life, and the power of women's bodies, that women of all ages and stages of life, whether they are mothers or not, would be so much more highly regarded and valued in our whole world.
If mothers were not so discriminated against, then young girls would receive much greater support, education and love as they grow, we would have more safe options for pregnancy prevention, greater choices in the healthcare of our bodies, and greater leadership positions in politics, economics and society. How we treat mothers, the women who raise children, affects how all girls are raised and the choices available to them as they grow into women.
I feel the treatment of mothers and birth today creates ripples through our entire lives and families of how women are respected and valued.
It makes no difference whether you choose to have children or not, that's a big choice that should not be taken lightly, and no woman should feel obligated or pressured into the journey of motherhood.
It's a huge responsibility to care for the life of another human being - for the next 18 years or longer. Even just the simple things like feeding your kids good healthy meals 3 times a day, every day, is a huge task! Let alone birthing them, breastfeeding them, keeping a roof over their head, and teaching them to be honorable, ethical, happy individuals in the world.
Mothers need support. We need to support mothers.
We need more midwives, doulas, parenting coaches, family advocates, educational choices, maternity and paternity leave, higher quality maternity and infant care, and compassion.
We need less judgement, more social support, more places that welcome us to come with our babies and kids, so we can leave the house, have a cup of coffee at a cafe, and have diaper changing areas, play spaces and not be looked or treated with condemnation for having a child that might make noise occasionally.
We need you to stand up and reach out to moms you know, listen to them, love them, and be there for them.
Because mothers change the world.
There is no experience in my life more transformational than becoming a mother. It creates changes in women - both physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, financial and social.
Before being a mom, I was already working as a birth and postpartum doula as well as a massage therapist specializing in pregnancy and women's health. I attended births, I was passionate about birth advocacy, and was very involved in activism for a better more conscious world socially and environmentally.
However, when I became pregnant it changed, and became a much deeper more personal mission for me to help do something to transform this world for the better.
When you become a parent, suddenly it's not just about you.
It's not just about your partner, or friends, or tight-knit community, or even just about your children. Becoming a parent makes you realize that we each need to do something to help the whole world because this is the home for our children, your children, their friends, their future beloveds, their future children, and the many generations to come.
Our children can't have a good healthy future if the world around them is poisoned, violent and out of balance.
We need this planet to be a safe, healthy home for them to thrive. We want to raise children to be leaders, as they are inheriting the mess of the generations that have come before. We need to support them to be able to come up with the solutions to change this for the better.
Nothing ever has jolted me in such a dramatic way as becoming a mother. Suddenly, it's about standing up for the wellbeing and rights of all, for a greater good. It's not as important to be liked or to say the right thing that makes one popular among a few people, when the rights and wellbeing of many are being discriminated against. It raises us up to see a higher perspective of humanity and what we need to do to honestly create change.
I feel that honesty is truly needed about how this is not an easy path - but it is worth it!
I love my children, I love being a mother and I am so grateful for all I've learned and experienced in the joy of watching them grow up.
Mamas - you're awesome, you're strong and you're more powerful than you know!
For all who care about the future of humanity:
- Speak up for the rights of women, children and families today.
- Take action to create change in birth, parenting, education and healthcare today.
- Reach out and help a mothers and children in your community.
- Learn about birth, women's health, and parenting and be an advocate.
- Create baby and child-friendly spaces in our world.
- Listen to moms, hear their stories, and learn about what's really going on before making judgements or offering your advice.
- Support the women you know to make conscious, educated, informed choices for their healthcare and life.
- Value the role of fathers and fatherhood, don't diminish their relationship to the child or mother, and support them too!
- Support choice in childbirth, help ensure access to midwifery care and mother-baby friendly hospitals and birth centers.
- Create birth and parenting networks in your community to support families.
Together we are making change!!!
I want to hear from you, what do you feel is most important that we can do to create change and support for mothers and families today?
What were the biggest challenges you've faced becoming a mother in today's world and how would you have liked it to be different?
Please leave your comments below. THANKS!!!