For many of us, modern life relegates parenting to an on the job experience. It’s often a lonely journey and can leave one filled with anxiety and worry.
One thing’s for sure, we are not alone on this wonderful, exhilarating and often emotionally complex ride that is the experience of raising a family. But if you look around, there is wisdom and guidance everywhere and you simply need to seek it out.
Every day you find yourself wondering, “Am I a good enough parent?” “Will I be able to take care of my child?” Trust me when I say, trust your instincts and your intuition about how to best meet the needs of your baby or child. Even when that nagging feeling, the one that lays in the deepest part of your unconscious that sneaks in and questions whether or not you will know how to do the right thing.
I am a Clinical Psychologist, but I am also a wife and a mother of four children. Like you, I want the best for my family and my children and I want to be the best I can for them whenever they need me to be.
I have found that society in general is often ambivalent about Motherhood and the devaluing of Mothers in society impacts those of us going through the everyday struggles of trying be present and mindful not only in our relationships with our children, both born and unborn, but with ourselves as we struggle to maintain our identity as women.
Motherhood deserves to be celebrated and if society is too complicated or consumed by lifes frivolities, than we have to do it ourselves. So how then do we nurture our Motherhood?
It starts at the prenatal and goes through the postpartum period and there are many ways to infuse that remarkable journey with spiritual, physical and emotional care. It starts first with allowing ourselves the free reign to experience all of our feelings, both positive and negative. Pregnancy, labor, birthing, marriage, play and for many career, are the things that make us who we are but it is not until we conceive a child and start our personal relationship with that child in utero, that we fully understand, in almost biblical terms, the profound responsibility and the humbling experience of bringing a child into this world.
I’m of the belief that communication begins at the earliest stages of a child’s development in the womb and a Mother cares for and communicates with her unborn baby in primarily five different ways:
Biologically – This happens through the choices the Mother makes to provide healthy nutrients to the unborn child.
Behaviorally – Tuning in to the unborn baby and accepting the fact that you both are in this together, can often allow you to create certain environments that externally nurture a calm pregnancy which may in turn create a calm experience for the baby in utero. Many believe that if you listen to calming music the baby will respond and become peaceful insuring a steady heartbeat; often a positive influence on the healthy development of the fetus.
Emotionally – The Mother’s emotional experience is often the same for her unborn child. If the Mother is scared, or anxious she communicates those emotions through her hormones and blood pressure, which in turn effects the biochemistry of the fetus. There is a direct connection to the placenta, the organ the baby receives all of its life sustaining needs from and since the placenta produces many of the hormones responsible for maintaining the pregnancy, it is important to be mindful of the sources of stress in our lives and do whatever we can to mitigate that for ourselves. High stress floods your body with the hormone Cortisol and at the very least, there are correlations between high levels of Cortisol and Colic.
Intuitively – Intuition has served women well over the years. Mothers who listen to their own inner voice will find that the unborn baby will respond in turn. This mind, body, spirit experience has historically been dismissed by the medical community at large and yet, sometimes a Mother’s intuition is all you need.
Spiritually – It’s easy to toss off the notion of spiritual focus through this process, but whether it’s classically derived religious expression or alternative beliefs, the practice of mediation as defined simply by quietude, and Yoga as defined simply by taking care of your body and any number of other supportive therapies available to you, should be embraced and used, if for no other reason than the fact that they support the Mother on this great journey.
Because your identity as a Mother begins at conception, being mindful of your own needs is loving because it reflects your commitment to the well being of both yourself and your baby.