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 BIRTH OF A MAMA

 

Today on my birthday I am so excited to celebrate with you the ‘birth’ of the new website.


On this date 10 years ago I also became a mother.


Knowing that my daughter and I were born on the same date, meaning also that my mother and I gave birth on the same date, awakened within me an impulse to learn about matrilineal descent. This was heightened as I became a new mother in a country where a baby’s identity and belonging are determined through the maternal line.

 

Years later when I learned that like all pregnant women,  that when I was just a developing baby in my own mother’s womb, I already carried the oocyte, or egg, that would eventually become my daughter, I felt I had learned the most fascinating and mystical aspect of womanhood and life itself. The thought that all women pregnant with girls embody 3 generations within one body confirmed my deeply held beliefs about the interconnectedness and cyclical nature of life.

 

But when I became a mother I didn’t feel anything mystical, sacred, cyclical or interconnected. Instead, despite the joy I felt at having my daughter, I also felt lonely, uncertain, disconnected and more than anything that something was missing. An almost primitive force had been awakened within me, and I longed for something I had never known, yet suddenly its absence was unbearable.

 

I set out to find what was missing ….a community of women, traditional healing practices , a return to ways more in sync with the natural environment , and the ability to navigate the constant shifts and changes in early motherhood while living within a societal framework that highly values time management, productivity and independence.

 

Today as a mother of 3 I am honored to play a role in the collective reclamation of ancestral women’s wisdom. Each time I think of how my daughter and I were born on the same date, and my mother and I gave birth on the same date, it is as if the universe confirmed my calling to support women navigate early motherhood by recognizing that along with the birth of a baby, there is a birth of a mother.


SELF CARE DURING THESE TURBULENT TIMES


I keep thinking of what is happening at Standing Rock between the First Nations Indigenous People’s of this Land and a for-profit corporation , the Dakota Access Pipeline. As the name Standing Rock symbolizes, it feels like we are all collectively being pushed to ‘ take a stand ’. Being pushed to take a stand, whether in the election, or between the profits of a corporation and indigenous rights, can be uncomfortable because you have to reject one thing and embrace another.  Having to take these difficult decisions while also being exposed to so much turmoil and human suffering either because you are personally experiencing it or through media can take a toll.

 

This is even more true for pregnant women and new mothers.

 

During pregnancy and in the first months after giving birth your heart is so open.  A pregnant woman and new mother is the embodiment of  ‘we are one consciousness’.  You are literally in a symbiotic relationship where two bodies are as one. You have transcended the normal bounds of time and space and instead can connect to all that is universal and good. During pregnancy and breastfeeding the power of your hormones, in particular Oxytocin, leaves you with rushes of feeling love, unity and peace. On the flip side if you are ‘threatened’ , meaning you do not feel safe and supported, either during pregnancy, while giving birth or when breastfeeding it is likely that your feelings of insecurity will be even more heightened and in very extreme cases leave you feeling traumatized.

 

So what can you?

 

Please read below Self Care Practices for Open Hearted Women

 
  1. Limit or refine your social media and media exposure – if you have a friend who you admire as an activist whether Vegan, or against Trump, or whatever – even if their cause is also YOUR CAUSE, now may be a time to decrease exposure to provocative posts.  Being aware of an issue is one thing, viewing disturbing images on repeat or absorbing inflammatory language at a time of such receptivity and sensitivity can overwhelm the system.

  2. Spiritual Activism – if I would define this in one sentence to me it means RAISING CHILDREN WHO DO NOT HAVE TO RECOVER FROM THEIR CHILDHOOD.  As the saying goes ‘ hurt people, hurt people’. So mothering babies and children who do not have to recover from their childhoods is the biggest gift you can give to them which in turn ripples out to all of the people they will connect with in their lifetime. You can make a difference by nurturing and nourishing children who make a difference. As someone who has been an Activist for over 20 years there are times my activism and involvement in social justice movements looked like political demonstration and times when it looked like mindful meditation.

 
  1. Ceremonial Bath – warmth in all its forms is good for new mothers. The warmth of the sun, warming foods, a warm tea and even warm lighting relax the central nervous system and calm nerves. Warmth also increases blood flow bringing more oxygen to your tissues and cells.

 
  • Fill a warm bath

  • Light a candle

  • Burn copal, palo santo, sage, osho or sweetgrass

  • Infuse bath with rose, lavender or almond oil

  • Listen to soothing flute music or other music known to promote relaxing brain waves

  • Set an intention for peace in your heart, think of a time a friend came through for you, picture the difference you made in a loved one’s life, think of all the people of good will on the planet who believe in harmony, love, peace and unity


CREATE YOUR OWN EARLY MAMAHOOD GUIDE


Read the following questions and write down your answers in a journal

 
  • How do you cope when things don’t go as planned?  

  • How do you deal with change?

  • What does your support system like?

  • What does your ideal post partum look like?

  • When was the last time you felt vulnerable?

  • Do I know how to ask for help?


We talk a lot about Self Care in our culture, especially for women and new mothers and this emphasis on self is often transferred directly to our babies. No sooner are they born and they are encouraged to Self Soothe, put themselves to sleep, sleep ‘independently’ and so forth. The take home message is that ideally everyone should be able to take care of most things by themselves or at least be moving in that direction. This outlook is both unrealistic and denies our human need for CONNECTION, and like all extremes there is a middle ground between dependency and independence and that is INTERDEPENCE. The moment a baby is born Self Care temporarily goes out the window. In those first weeks and months after giving birth if mama needs to take a shower there’s usually someone else who will have to care for baby. The same is true for all of the practices that replenish a new mama from yoga, meditation, a massage or time with friends. So what can you do?  If you’re still pregnant reconsider the  ‘ boundaries’ directive so many pregnancy books give. Sure no one wants a combative colleague showing up at your house the day after giving birth but make a list of the people you do trust enough to support you in the vulnerable and intimate time after birth. Create a list of friends who will bring warm food, pick up around the house or bring flowers. If your support system could use some strengthening whether you’re a couple of months  or  years post partum you can write a Community Care Plan similar to a birth plan. Ceremony creates Community so planning any type of ceremony post partum is  good for strengthening your community.

 

A SIMPLE LIST OF RESTORATIVE PRACTICES FOR MOTHERS

  • Setting a meal train up for at least one day a week the first month after giving birth when friends will bring a warm meal

  • Planning a Ceremony wither Baby Naming, Placenta Burial, Birth Story Circle or simply inviting friends over at 40 days post partum to celebrate you becoming a mother

  • Ceremonial Bath once a week

  • Sunshine, time outdoors, fresh air, being next to natural running water, time under the moonlight

  • If you are 6 months to a year post partum consider taking a Doula, Herbalism, Yoga, Breastfeeding Counselor or Childbirth Education course to be around like minded women and share women’s wisdom


MIDWIVES FOR PEACE


Today I am meeting with the other birth guardians who make up Midwives For Peace.

We are a group of Palestinian and Israeli mothers and birth guardians who gather together despite the ongoing armed conflict that divides our communities based on the belief that PEACE ON EARTH BEGINS WITH BIRTH

 

I’ll be sharing images and stories on the BIRTH OF A MAMA Facebook and Instagram pages so make sure to connect there. Thank you for receiving and reading this first newsletter. I invite you to connect to the new website as more offerings and a special Giveaway are coming soon!

 


All my love,

Genevieve

BIRTH OF A MAMA

 

Copyright © 2016 Birth of a Mama, All rights reserved.


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