When I got out of high school, I knew I would go to college, it wasn’t even a question. I picked a major in Computer Science because, well, I can’t really offer a reason. I think because I knew there’d be a job for me at the end of it; but I had no affinity for it. I can’t even say I knew what it really was. That probably should have been my first red flag.
Our language has a profound impact on our thoughts and beliefs. Words are powerful. They can create or destroy; increase confidence or insecurity. Some of the common language we use when it comes to birth and babies is disempowering to mothers.
Some women come out of the labor room with unexpected negative emotions. They can range from guilt... to fear... to rage... to hurt... to anguish. These mothers need our support so they can bring out the strong, confident mama that's inside them. Dismissing their feelings will not help those feelings magically disappear. Insensitive words only make things harder for her. It can be uncomfortable being with someone who is grieving. To be blunt, this is not about the comfort of others; it is about supporting mothers so they can do the best job for themselves and their babies. Mothers deserve this, and babies deserve this.
Here are some common pitfalls to avoid.
There is a meme going around facebook right now that seems to be supportive of new families; however, it has raised a few concerns for us.
In this meme, the caption first reminds moms that "babies bring visitors so use them wisely.” Then the image says:
"We have a new baby and we know you would like to hold our baby. Snuggle time will be offered on a first come, first to serve basis. Ideas to get to the front of the line:
Many have liked and shared this meme, probably appreciating the often forgotten concept that visitors to the home of a newly postpartum family should expect to help, not to simply hold the baby and be entertained while the mother - who has just gone through the arduous process of birthing a baby - cooks, cleans, and spends her already diminished energy being social. This is a great thing to point out to newly expanded families and their guests. However, the idea of visitors doing some sort of service and being "paid" in time holding the new baby is quite troubling.
Melissa and Ellen are birth doulas, childbirth educators, placenta encapsulation specialists, and Parent Effectiveness Training instructors serving the Denver, CO area. They are passionate about pregnancy, birth, baby care, and parenting. They bring over twenty years of combined experience to their premium childbirth classes, doula support, parenting classes, and placenta encapsulation services in the metro Denver area.