Mother the Mothers.

As a midwife you would expect that the most questions I get asked are about pregnancy and the birth.  Of course it is true that couples do ask about these things but when I run my Beautiful Births antenatal classes it is very apparent that couples also want to know about babies.

How do you hold a baby?  How do you stop them crying?  How warm should he be? What is a vest?  All very relevant questions as it is a fact that for many their own baby is the first they will hold, let alone care for.  It is a sad fact that in our society we are generally not growing up around babies, helping our mothers, sisters, cousins and community to raise the children as happens in other cultures.   We have a generation of women not experiencing raising babies at all until the birth of their own.  Not surprisingly, women  leave a world of work where they are the expert and in control to the unknown world of parenthood, full of conflicting advice from everyone else who is always knows best.  New mothers often feel lost and out of control, like they are not good enough and just don’t know what to do with this new human being.  Invariably they end up reading what I call baby manuels – one routine fits all babies.   Well, unfortunately babies don’t come with manuals.  But mothers do come with an instinctive knowledge of how to care for their baby.  They know how to provide for their babies.  They know how to calm their babies.  They know what their instincts are saying.  They just don’t know they know!  My role is to help new mothers to listen to their instincts, understand their babies and themselves and believe in themselves as good mothers.

I so often see new mothers running the house, greeting  adoring guests and aiming to look trim and pretty before the first week is out! In other cultures new mothers are treated with utmost respect.  They are banned from chores and are waited on for weeks following the birth, allowing her time to bond with her baby and regain her strength.  Other women surround them and cherish them.

As a mother myself I cannot value the support I got from fellow new mothers enough.  Mother and baby groups like BabyCalm are invaluable to learn from each other, appreciate each other and realise that what you are going through is ok and normal! We can address reality and realise that as long as we provide love , support and guidance then we are good enough mothers!  In my BabyCalm classes we learn to understand our babies and how to soothe them, understand sleep (or lack of) and our roles as mothers,  which leads to calmer babies and happier parents!

Mothers need other women’s support throughout their journey through motherhood.  So let’s support and cherish our new mothers.  Bake them a cake, take over the family meal, offer to clean their house or do the washing or shopping.  You can even get a group of you together to provide a meal each day.  These mothers are raising our next generation so lets take time out to care for them too.

Erika Thompson, Independent midwife, Beautiful Births www.beautifulbirths.org and Baby Calm teacher.  Serving Hampshire, Dorset and parts of Wiltshire.

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One Response to Mother the Mothers.

  1. Sarah says:

    Very true Erika – can’t wait to read more!

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