I chose the name Moving to Motherhood for my business for all the meanings it conveys. But the most important one is the one that some of us might not think about, and that is: moving to motherhood of ourselves. Many of our mothers are awesome — I’m sorry to those of you whose moms are not awesome, but what I’m saying applies to you even more — Because my point is that we all know that our mothers are inadequate. They are just not enough; they weren’t, and they can never be, all that we want from a parent (bringing to mind the song lyric: “but if you try sometimes, you get what you need!”). What a heavy expectation we place on that poor woman. Think of all that she did, all that she still does in most cases. And we, many of us, are still angry at her, for all that she will never be.
And then we embark on parenthood, and we forget! Or, we think, in a ridiculous burst of pride (maybe this is necessary for conception?), that we are going to be different! We will be the perfect mothers that our mothers were not. Hmm. News flash: we are not perfect either. What a crazy cycle this can seem, of suffering and blame, until we realize how well it really does work, and that our job is not only to be the best moms we can be for our children, but also to use this experience of parenting like we use any other experience – to learn about ourselves, and to grow up, and to accept ourselves (and our mothers) in our glorious imperfection. By “Accepting Ourselves,” I don’t mean we should each tell ourselves we’re wonderful and treat ourselves to a spa day! What I mean is: Observe where we really are, our true level of imperfection, because it is only from reality that we can begin to change. As good parents to ourselves, we are not self-indulgent, we are real and we are strong. It is now, as new parents, if we haven’t already done so, that we begin to parent ourselves, and then, if we’re really lucky, to feel gratitude toward our own parents for all that they are, and feel gratitude toward ourselves for all that we are, AND feel gratitude for our children, for all that they teach us.
How does Parenting Ourselves Relate to Birth?
When we give birth to our babies, we give birth to ourselves in a new role as a parent, and, as in any other role we accept in life, the better the conditions for this transition into a new experience, the better that new experience is likely to be. While we are resilient and may recover from a tough start as a mom, who knows how the imprint of one’s birth experience can move forward with us, affecting us in our roles as mothers and in our impression of our power? Part of growing up, and parenting ourselves, is to accept responsibility for making this transition to parenting the best it can be, not only for our babies, but for ourselves. Ask yourself:
- How do I want to feel when I first greet this baby?
- What do I want my baby to see and feel in her first moments as an individual on the planet? And,
- How can I create the optimal conditions for this first meeting?
We cannot depend on others to make this transition a beautiful one, or the way we want it. Others have different priorities, and different demands placed on them. We must determine what we want, and then we can find the helpers that will support us in creating a birth experience that will nourish us and bring us forth into motherhood with vitality, gratitude and power.
That is where I can help. I am a childbirth doula, and doulas “mother the mother” through the birth experience. Hiring a doula can be part of this experience of parenting ourselves; it is asking for the help we need to create a supportive environment for the transition into one of the most arduous, and rewarding, self-reflective experiences we might have. If you’re interested in more information about doulas, check my doula research links, and contact me.