Women, of course, lean on and depend on their partners. I certainly do. My husband is my rock, and the only person in the world who truly knows and understands me. But there is something about having that womanly support to compliment his support. Women just understand certain things. Sometimes we don't even have to say it, we just know.
Being a doula and childbirth educator, I enjoy sharing and educating mommies-to-be on how women are amazing creatures. Our bodies can grow, birth and nourish a baby all by ourselves. Through undisturbed birth, and positive birth and parenting experiences, women become highly in tune to their "mommy-instincts" - those hormones that help us nurture and protect our babies. Our bodies are actually natural "vaccines" for our babies - during a natural birth the baby ingests the mother's vaginal bacteria to help form proper gut integrity. Through kissing and being close to baby, mother will automatically create antibodies that are then released in her breastmilk to help baby fight off infections. I like to remind women they know what is best for their baby, and to find the support that suits her needs, even if those needs differ from her best friend, her own mom, or mother-in-law.
|My Birth Team|
Witnessing the birth process is truly awesome and humbling. You literally see a woman transform into a mother; you feel her fears, perseverance, exhaustion, strength, joy and ecstasy.
Unfortunately, in today's American society, many mother's are subjected to fear-based pregnancy, childbirth and parenting from "experts" in magazines and so-called "reality" TV shows. Their perception of reality is so warped from the media that even when their "mommy-instincts" tell them otherwise, they ignore (or are told to ignore) and question these feelings and emotions. We all know that birth is highly managed in a hospital setting, doctors and nurses just waiting for something to happen so they can go in to "save the day". Post-partum is highly managed too - between all the pediatrician check-ups, poor breastfeeding advise, the push for formula and solids and numerous schedules to follow for eating, sleeping, bathing, playing, etc - no wonder and new mom questions her ability to mother. She clearly can not make a move without consulting with her doctor!
Finding a mothering or parenting group that resonates with you can be so reassuring. For me, I loved attending my local La Leche League and ITAV meetings. I always looked forward to that monthly meeting, and left feeling refreshed and connected. La Leache League, It Takes A Village .
Recently I was watching a animal documentary, studying a group of monkeys in Puerto Rico. They tested the female monkeys and concluded the ones that spent more time with other females had lower cortisol levels and lived longer. So, I guess hanging with your friends reduces stress, makes you happy and keeps you healthier!
"Inna put her two [midwife's] bricks on the ground and told Leah she would stand on them soon. She moved me and Zilpah on either side to lend support when Leah squatted over a bed of clean straw. Zilpah and I became Leah's chair, with our arms around her shoulders and beneath her thighs. 'You lucky girl, ' Inna said to Leah. 'Look at the royal throne of sisters you have.' " - from The Red Tent by Anita Diamant.