Top reason to take an independent childbirth education class #9:
SELF CARE AND SELF LOVE
When I was a little girl, after a trip to the Jersey Shore, my siblings and I each came home with a hermit crab. My hermit crab had a camo shell, so I decided to call him “General.” After a couple of weeks, General started acting weird and sick, so my mom tried to convince me he was dying and to take him out to the yard to dispose of him. I was distraught. Something in me knew that he was not dying, so instead, I took him out the the rocks by our pool and continued to feed him and give him water for several days. One day on my visit to General, I noticed a shriveled and dead crab body next to General’s shell. When I lifted his shell up, a noticeably smaller crab emerged. General was really Ms. General and she had a baby. She sacrificed her shell and her life for her little crab baby.
Women are capable of tremendous things when it comes to motherhood. Our bodies change and we grow an entire human inside of us, then are capable of feeding it all on our own! It’s incredible. It’s also incredibly exhausting and difficult.
Our culture tends to be fairly fetal obsessed, and although growing a baby is surely the point of the whole process, the fact that a mother is born too should not be overlooked.
Too often, the health and emotional well being of mama is dismissed for discussions of epidurals and love handles and what cheeses not to eat. This is missing the point a little though.
The midwifery model of care, regardless of whether or not you are choosing to deliver with a midwife, is something to take note of in pregnancy. This model puts women at the center of care and recognizes her as the primary care provider of her baby, even in the womb. With this, guidance and education is the focus, not statistics and fear tactics. In order for a woman to be in the place where she can fully take care of her fetus and newborn, she has to be able to take care of herself.
Women in pregnancy need to make space for themselves and their own wellbeing. Being able to tap into methods of doing this before baby is born will be invaluable in the early postpartum period and really for the rest of her parenting career. There is a strange dismissal of women as “selfish” when they take care of themselves as a mother, but doing yoga, eating certain foods, meditating, running, retail therapy, pedicures, massages, retreats, vacations, a night out, etc., are all ways to help build our self love and mental sanity. These things are important to mothers more than maybe anyone.
Brief hospital birth classes don’t often look at the whole picture of motherhood in discussing birth options. Independent childbirth educators tend to spend more time talking about a mother’s intuition and her need for time for herself, including while she’s in labor.
I believe strongly in the concept of “mothering the mother” and in promoting self care and self love in women while their pregnant, so their able to be empowered and confident, rested, self assured, strong, and healthy in labor and beyond. This is something I stress in my childbirth preparation classes and with my doula clients.
There are still a few spots open for my September 20th class at Cafe of Life in Durango. This is an 8hr crash course on all things pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. Offered on a donation basis and all are welcome, regardless of birth plan and place of delivery. It’s never too early to sign up for a class! Please email or call to pre-register by September 16th.