Thursday, April 9, 2009
We often talk about the newborn baby, but how often do we celebrate the newborn mother? Did you know that in many places around the world, that after the birth of the baby it is the newborn mother that is given special treatment and celebrated? Some cultures support women staying quiet with their baby for the first 40 days as the mother is given daily massages, good healthy meals and is required to do nothing but rest and breastfeed. In other cultures, after the baby is 1 month old, the mother is celebrated within the village with music, food and dancing. Her passage into motherhood is something to reveer and respect. In our culture, we often focus only on the baby, which is certainly a miracle and something to celebrate! But in this process, we forget to honour the journey the mother has just made, her right of passage.
Regardless of how birth unfolds, weather at home, in the hospital or by cesarean, birth is a transformative experience. This moment in a woman's life when she is asked to draw upon every ounce of strength and courage she has to birth her baby, changes a woman forever. It changes how we see the world around us, our purpose for being here and the strength that we didn't know we had. It can be a completely empowering experience that reminds us of how capable and strong we are and allows our hearts to grow to their full capacity. This is something to celebrate and honour!
I had the privilege to witness this beautiful baby's birth and support his mother and father in their birth experience. I am always amazed at how babies come into this world, how they find their way and how mothers know just what to do to bring them here. As a baby is born, so is a mother born. Even when it is not a mother's first baby, she is always born anew with each child. I remember saying to a friend after the birth of my daughter "I should know this stuff, I'm not a new mother." My friend said to me "ah, but you are a new mother to her!" In that moment I realized as I nursed my newborn baby, I also needed to care for myself as a newborn mother.
So the next time you are with a new mum, consider how you might celebrate her journey. It may be with a loving massage, or a good meal, or even just listening to her story as she shares her life changing experience with you. This delicate postpartum time can be so much more than duckie diapers and onsies, it can be a time of true celebration and honouring for both the mother and the father. It is a birth of the family.