Happy Mother’s Day!
Motherhood itself is a miracle, isn’t it?! Silly as this holiday may have seemed before you had children I hope you lend it some credibility now. Becoming, surviving, and improving on motherhood are some of the greatest challenges a human being can face. I think we can all agree: Hallmark did something right in creating this holiday. It’s not easy – but it’s transformative and fun and filled with joy – and poop, struggles, exhaustion, and struggles.
Oftentimes during pregnancy, childbirth, and the early days of having a baby I believe the miracle of motherhood itself is overlooked. On this sunny Mother’s Day, after a really long nap, I sit down to write about something that is important to me, my family, and a big part of my business making bamboobies and other accessories for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers: When a baby is born – a Mother is born TOO!
During the early years of motherhood I think that, over time, becoming a mother does bring out the best in us, the child in us and – amazingly! – a new ‘me’ and ‘us’. Three improvements on ourselves – and our families as a whole. I hope you think about these things as you mother – and struggle and giggle through the next few weeks and years with your littles.
The best of us
We strive to eat better and take better care of ourselves when we’re pregnant – and others (from strangers to doctors) encourage us to do so. But then we let it all go when we stare into the eyes of our newborn baby. And so does everyone else!
As soon as the baby is born our focus shifts from pregnant mother to newborn. We must work to retain a focus on our selves and to watch the miracle that is unfolding. We are literally becoming mothers before our family and friends’ eyes – we’re developing every moment of every day a new set of skills and habits and strengths. We need to encourage our supporters to help us in these endeavors – none of it is easy! But… it’s all part of a transformation that makes us, our children and our larger families better.
I think that having children helps us in the long term and that, over time, being part of something bigger than just our selves brings out the best in us. Not only is there no room for selfishness when baby needs something but we strive to better our work, our bodies, our relationships with supporters and family. We strive to become the role models we want to be for our children.
The child in us
During pregnancy, shortly thereafter and when I brought my baby home I thought that asking for help was SO STRANGE! I’d never done it before – and it seemed against my nature. But – I needed help. I needed water when I was breastfeeding. I needed a hand out in the shower and with the diapers and laundry and dishes and cooking and ….. So I learned. And learned. It wasn’t easy at first – and then sometimes I asked too much and dialed it back a bit.
We get a second chance with our children to discover our child-within – and to rediscover our own childhoods.
At the moment of giving birth to a child, is the mother separate from the child?
You should study not only that you become a mother when your child is born, but also that you become a child.
– Dogen Zenji
When we have a baby and return form the hospital or just begin those early days of self-care and care for our infants we can feel like children: helpless and needy. This isn’t by design, but it certainly isn’t wrong – we really do need help! We do need to work together to get through this transformative phase – and beyond.
When my first and second got a bit older I realized it wasn’t just me that needed help – and that my first child and I liked working together. My first two – 22 months apart and growing fast – taught me that I wasn’t the only one who would ask for help. And to ask for participation can be fun!
As they grew I realized that having children gave us a chance to become children again. Halloween, Christmas and New Years, and 4th of July – all holidays became new again! Drawing and painting, legos and blocks, origami and book-making – it all became new again. Reading and Writing – Discipline and Fighting – all new again.
A new ‘me’ and ‘us’!
What does this mean to change our whole family structure – and sex and household responsibilities and work roles? Did we think that having a child meant that just one new thing was happening our family/household? What a shock the whole thing can be!
A new woman – a *mother* – has been born! And our family roles and structures will never be the same. I hope they’ll be better – but they’ll never be the same. Bodies, minds, families and needs have all changed in the instant a child is born. And husbands/partners, mothers and others will all be changing with her.
A new ‘us’ and a new ‘me’ – it’s all part of the excitement that lies ahead… And ahead doesn’t just mean the first few months with an infant. It means years – and forever.
The next few blog posts here at bamboobies will focus on self-care, self-love and transformation for mothers. We hope you’ll join us – we look forward to hearing your thoughts and insights.
In the meantime, Happy Mother’s Day!