Sunday 16 March 2014

The Journal of the New Mother

Why are we so quick to want our old bodies back after we birth our babies? What’s so awful and shameful about the fine lines and soft belly?  There’s real wisdom and experience in those lines!  And that belly held and nourished life for nine months.  And that body continues to sustain life and will hopefully do so for many months (I am referring to breastfeeding here).  I wonder if part of our desire comes from mass society’s fixation on tighter, firmer, and smaller body parts?  In my experience, there’s not much joy in this focus – it is narrow.  Sure, going for hardy walks with a baby can be enjoyable, though, in all honesty, the underlying motivation is often for the tighter, firmer and smaller parts.  As new mamas, we have just experienced transformation on all levels – body, mind, and spirit.  We are forever changed on all levels.

There is also a keen focus in society on the joy and jubilation of being a new mother.  And sure, we all need to hear about the beauty and bliss, yet how about sharing some of the gritty bits on becoming a new mom as well?  It’s not to wallow in the challenges, but it is to be authentic and honest about our experience as new mothers.  This reflection comes as part of my personal process of understanding my role as a new mom, and also in light of a recent tragedy in my community; a mother of a young child who chose to end her life much too soon, in my opinion.

Women need a gross amount of support and self-care during the first year of motherhood - more than I ever thought possible.  Who is meant to spend 24/7 at home, often spending large amounts of time on her own with her baby?  Yes, I have experienced many precious moments with my little guy snuggling, giggling, and smiling.   Yet, there have also been many moments when I wanted to pull out whatever remaining strands of hair I have left on this head of mine.

All-in-all babies are our greatest treasures and some of the best teachers around.  Having said this, I am forever grateful for my little guy – Joseph Skye.  J