How Birth Affects Our Daughters
I am really fortunate at this point in my life to have a great social network of mamas.
We share many values and similarities in the way we strive to live our lives - but it wasn't always this way.
I became close with most of my best friends during my fifth pregnancy, while I was wrestling with depression and dealing with my mother's passing.
I'd heard of Mother Blessing ceremonies before, but I was both surprised and thrilled when I learned that my friends were planning one for me!
I knew I'd treasure that feeling of being so loved, nurtured, and supported for a long time after my baby was born - and I still do.
One amazing side effect of having this sort of tribe or community around you as a mother that we don't often think about, however, is the effect it has on our children.
I'm not just talking about siblings in the birth room (although we could!) - but a more subtle, yet deeper impact.
The cultural attitude about birth and pregnancy is a far cry from reverence, honor, celebration, and trust - yet this is exactly what we're unconsciously, effortlessly cultivating as we honor pregnancy, birthing, new motherhood and breastfeeding in our own social circles.
I hadn't really stopped to consider the "ripples in the pond" of birth empowerment, however, until one of my friends, who has four lovely daughters, told this story (shared with permission):
This weekend, we were with my pregnant sister, and the girls doted on her and adored her belly the entire time. They created their own ceremony, which included singing to the baby and wildflower petals being piled on my sister's belly.
They made my sister many necklaces and bracelets, including one with the name that L thinks they should choose: Periwinkle Iris.
And they made wishes for mama and baby. L wished for a beautiful birth.
THANK YOU ladies, for this community where, among other things, we honor pregnancy and birth, and teach our children to honor pregnancy and birth, too.
Hearing this lovely story brought tears to my eyes. Not only for the beauty of those moments, but for the potential future which holds many, many more.
Our kids are growing up seeing us support each other as mothers in a multitude of profound and simple ways.
They watch as we hold or comfort each others' babies.
They play next to us as we nurse, cook, and chat.
They make crowns with flowers and yarn left over from a Mother Blessing ritual we've put together.
They come with us when we drop off a warm meal for our friend who's just given birth.
My friend's girls already see birth and pregnancy as a beautiful thing, worthy of celebration and honor.
No one will have to teach them this as they grow older, and perhaps find themselves expecting babies of their own.
They already know birth is beautiful, and they understand how important it is to have loving support from their friends and family.
What a wonderful blessing for the future of all whose lives they touch!
What sort of messages did you receive about birth, motherhood, pregnancy and breastfeeding as a child?
How do you hope your children will grow up thinking and feeling about birth?
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