Putting Mothers Back in the Heart of the Community
Who are the most important people in the world right now? Who is doing the most important job there is? Presidents and Prime ministers? CEOs? Extortionately paid footballers or scantly dressed Popstars?
You guessed it. It's none of them. It is the women who are working tirelessly, day and night, night and day to grow, to birth, to raise their children. The children who will one day become those CEOs, those Popstars, and those Prime Ministers, as well as the humble shopkeepers, street cleaners, neighbours, lovers and parents. It is the mums who think they're worthless, who think they're doing a terrible job, who feel unseen, unappreciated, unheard. The mothers who are hidden away in community centres with kids crawling the walls around them, sipping tea, being sociable, distracting from the separation they feel from society and the loneliness they feel in doing the most important job on Earth.
The other day I went to visit a friend with her two week old babe sleeping peacefully in her arms. She was so very touched that I had brought her a meal that it prompted me to ask:
“Has anyone else brought you a meal?” “No,”, came the reply. She didn't mind, she'd stocked the freezer, she'd done it all herself, her husband had cooked a couple of meals, it was fine really…
To me, that is NOT fine. It is NOT fine that a woman two weeks post partum believes she should be preparing her own meals, let alone making meals for guests arriving that night while her partner goes out climbing for a few hours. It is not ok that women don't know how important their rest, their health, their sanity really, REALLY is. Not just in their own little family, but to the wider society as a whole. It is not ok that women all over the world are either financially or emotionally forced back into work within weeks or months of experiencing the most miraculous, life changing event of their lives, often times leaving their newborn babes in the arms of someone who has no personal interest or connection with them. Do we not understand what heart ache, what guilt, what separation anxiety this can cause both to mother and child?
I'm making it my life mission to really value the work that mothers do. I can think of nothing more important in this world than holding a woman's hand and reminding her of how powerful she is as she crosses the vast ocean of bringing life to Earth. I can think of nothing more needed than taking a new mother a meal so that she and her family can rest and simply enjoy/adjust/heal from the birth experience. I can think of none who deserves or would appreciate more, some firm loving touch to ease the shock and the tension left over from birth – however positive the experience, it is still a shock to the body, every single time. How many women do you know who had even one massage in their 6 week post partum period of 'rest'?
If you are one of those supermums who gave birth to her child, and a week later was walking, dazed, around Tesco doing the weekly shop, then please, just stop. Go back to bed, with your baby, or your toddler, or your ten year old, and take some time to rest, and reconnect. On the grand scale of things, nothing matters more than your love for your child, and your child feeling your love. Do whatever you must do to reconnect with that child, however old she is, or however distant you feel you have become. Nothing is irreparable. Sure, things could have been different, if you'd known more, or if you'd had the loving support that you needed, but maybe you missed out like most other women I know. And maybe it's time to give yourself a break. To pat yourself on the shoulder and splash out on a massage, or ask a friend to come round and mother you for a day or an evening. You could return the favour to her.
And if you're not that mother who has just given birth or is so badly in need of some loving care right now, then find a mother who is, and give her some love! Fill her home and her heart and her belly with your love and her babe will grow all the more strong and beautiful for it. She will never forget you either.
Let's put our mothers of the world firmly back in the centre of our communities. Let us honour and revere and celebrate them like nobody else on earth. Imagine the crowds that roar at a football match, at a political rally, or a pop concert. Imagine that we, as a wider community could get that excited, that enthusiastic, that encouraging and supportive of every new mother that stepped out into the world with her new babe in her arms for the first time. Imagine what that would do for a new mother to be seen and truly valued like that. And truly, why would we ever value anybody more? These women are our sheroes. Not the footballers or the film stars. These women are the carriers of our future life on earth. Everyone knows that the first two years of human life are the most formative. So let's give humanity a bit of a leg up, and start loving the new mothers of our world back into their rightful place at the heart of our communities.
Mothers, I love you, each and every one!