Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Birth Matters: So Does Motherhood

 I believe in birth.  I believe that women's bodies were made to birth naturally and that most women, if left alone medically and supported emotionally, will birth and that experience will be both powerful and transforming.  I believe that birth matters for not just the mother and the baby, but also for the family unit as a whole.  I can attest that had I not been successful in my VBAC last march, I would have had a different kind of recovery and our bonding as a family would have been very different and might well have been more difficult, but difficult is not impossible.

You see, I've been reading a lot of different blogs and articles lately about the importance of your birth on the bonding process and the impact your birth can have on your child for life.  Whether its the physical trauma of a csection on the body of the mother and the baby or the stress put on the spine of an infant when misaligned for long periods before a vaginal birth or the emotional trauma of a long separation after surgery for a mother and child or the emotional impact of the use of pitocin during labor, there is no doubt that birth has the power to profoundly affect the developing relationship between a mother and child.  However, I don't think birth defines that relationship.  It is the start of the relationship and for a time it might set a tone for the relationship, but it is not the final word on your relationship.

I don't care how rocky the start might have been between you and your child, how many "mistakes" you think happened in your birth, how many interventions happened in your birth, or how traumatic your birth was for you and/or your baby, as long as you are both alive at the end of it, there is still hope.  After a birth, comes motherhood and the choices you make as a mother matter even more than the choices you made in birth.  Not just the choices you make with your newborn, but the choices you make with your toddler, preschooler, and even your teen.  What is dynamic and awe inspiring and humbling about motherhood is that it is completely based on the unique, idiosyncratic relationship you have with your child.  Just as your relationship keeps evolving, so, too does your mothering skills and what is even more inspiring beyond that is that it is never too late to change.  Even if your children are adults, your relationship with them is still important and although it gets tougher as they get older, your role as their parent is never not important and is still impactful.  If you doubt me, think about how strong your emotions are about your own parents whether you have good, strong relationships with them or not.  Ambiguity and ambivalence are not descriptors that are often used for the relationships between parents and children at any age for good reason; the depth of our emotions (positive or negative) prove how important and primary the relationship is to us all.

So, if you feel distant, take steps to get closer.  If you feel like you are not bonded, do some bonding activities.  If you made choices you now regret in your birth, in your newborn parenting, in your young child years parenting, or even last week, let your child know about your regrets.  Let them know that you want to make a new choice now and then make it.  Every beginning is just that, a beginning.  It isn't the whole story.  It's never too late to make a new start.  Birth matters the way every introduction matters, but it's not the end.  If it was adoption would never work and we all know that adoption does.  Beautifully.  Take heart, mama.  Make a new story for you and your child with the choice you make today.

Thanks for reading,


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