Those of you who have had children know that so much of the transformation to motherhood happens behind closed doors. It is largely invisible to the world. It is also a monumental shift. It’s real work.
In a newborn group this week, several new moms spoke about how guilty they’ve felt that they are sitting around feeding babies while partners do everything (or don’t do everything and there’s conflict!).
As I sit back and think about all of the messages I’m hearing from you all in our community, I’m asking the following question: how can we as a society continue to view the efforts, work and time spent growing & raising babies/children as unproductive when it is so time consuming and so enormously productive?
Most of it is invisible and will be invisible for weeks and months to come, but we can recognize it as real. The barometer and markers for productivity are changing: it might be a messy kitchen and a less exhausted you thanks to a nap, or going a few hours without spitup on your clothes. It might be a child sleeping on your chest while that email doesn’t get sent. The key is for you as new mothers is to let your past standards change. To be like water. To acknowledge yourselves for all the work you are doing.
In addition to honoring your work, it is important that the changes in your life (with a pregnancy, new baby, growing child) are celebrated. You all deserve to be honored. It’s an enormous loss and important to acknowledge and grieve. It won’t be what it should be right now, but one idea I might offer for the pregnant people here is the idea of a Mother's Blessing). This is a mother-centric celebration (that can be made virtual!) where you are honored, seen, supported, celebrated. For those of you with new babies, this might be a great time to set up virtual or drive by meetups that allow for your baby to be celebrated. It’s a time to be creative, it’s a time to honor the work you’re doing and it’s a time to celebrate yourselves in any way you can.
Thoughts on pregnancy, birth and motherhood.