Mother’s Day is a day set aside to honour and express gratitude for the most important relationship we will ever have as human beings. It is the one that nourished and nurtured our footing here on earth, providing us with the wherewithal to take up the journey on our own behalf, as we grew into the capacity to self-sustain. The mother is the teacher of the heart.
Nature has built into the mother-child relationship an abundance of evolutionary strategies that serve both in their best expression. Motherhood for women can be likened to the fruiting of their femininity and to ensure the process is repeated from generation to generation, it comes with built-in life-enhancing benefits.
Dramatic and profound physical, emotional, and mental changes occur in a woman’s being due to hormonally mediated changes that occur during pregnancy birthing and in the post-natal phases. These changes have been demonstrated to enhance a woman’s wellbeing provided that she has enjoyed a healthy, stress-free passage from Maiden to Mother. Of course, if the opposite occurs, such as the pregnancy, birthing and early parenting is fraught with trauma, stress or deprivation, then the reproductive process can deplete a woman’s health in the long term, along with impairment of the child’s developmental progress.
As far as the mother’s health and well-being is concerned, in Traditional Chinese Medicine, a natural health system that enjoys remarkable success in treating infertility and reproductive issues, the understanding is that if a woman is healthy going into a pregnancy and remains so for the duration, birthing and early parenting phase, then she will come out of this major life transition with better health than when she went in. The reverse also applies.
So, aware mothering benefits a woman, of that there is no doubt. But it is not just about the mother – it is about the quality of the fledgling human beings that mothers bring into the world. We do not own our children – they belong to themselves, and it is the role of the mother to nurture her child to her best and highest expression as a human being – and women are biologically programmed to do this.
For the offspring, healthy, balanced, aware mothering sets the tone for the entirety of that child’s life on all three levels, physical, emotional and mental. There is plenty of documented evidence to support this statement. And the most compelling research clearly shows that the closely bonded connected presence of the mother during early formative years creates a more balanced and functional human being – a human being whose consciousness is centred in the heart.
We learn how to nurture ourselves from our mother. The way we were nourished determines the value and self-worth we grant to ourselves, including the priority we place on our health and wellbeing on a day-to-day basis. Do we take care to feed ourselves with nourishing and vital foods, or do we trash our bodies with junk food? Do we grant ourselves relaxation and rest to restore and restock or are we so stretched that we are digging an early grave for ourselves through the chronic degeneration of our bodily systems. Do we establish healthy and life-enhancing habits that ensure that our body and soul is functioning at its optimum? Or do we continue to abuse our bodies with excess, because we never feel satisfied or that we have had enough?? It is the quality of mothering that tips the balance either way. If our mothering was less than adequate, that is no reason to pass the baton of dysfunction to our offspring, especially with the information and assistance available in today’s world.
In reality however, ours is a motherless society. Mainstream thinking pays lip service to the notion of ‘Motherhood’, and really, traditional mothering, as nature intended it to be, is being cut out of the picture in many instances. That is, unless the woman is prepared to believe in herself and her innate biologically designed strength and wisdom to create, birth and raise a healthy child. When she has this belief she can enrol help, if needs be, to achieve her dream. Without it, the reproduction merry-go-round has become a goldmine that plays on women’s fears.
Natural fertility is now marketed as an unattainable dream for many while IVF is promoted as the norm if a couple has been unable to conceive for twelve months. Natural birthing has been hi-jacked to become a medical condition, the message swallowed by many woman, when they are told that it is ‘too hard’ to birth without medical assistance, which more and more includes cutting the baby out of the womb.
And, in an increasing number of cases, babies as young as three months are being abandoned into day-care centres, devoid of the close interconnected one-on-one bonding that human babies need to grow to their best expression as adults, often because of peer pressure – a recent Careforkids survey found that 40% of non-working mums feel stigmatized for staying at home.
Studies show that there is strong evidence that the first two years is incredibly important for attachment. And yet, according to an Australian Institute of Family Studies report more than one in ten women are back in work before their babies are three months old while 44 percent wait until the baby turns twelve months before returning to paid employment.
Honouring motherhood is not about lip service to a notion that makes us feel all warm and fuzzy inside, but it is about truly recognizing that we have to shape our society to support and uphold the role of the mother, not for the sake of the mother, but for the future generations that are the adults of tomorrow. The harder we make it for natural mothering to be upheld and practiced, the more dysfunctional the human beings of the future will be.
Interestingly, the Gillard government has just announced a crack-down on teen mothers asserting that they need to have their noses to the grind-stone again by the time their baby is six months old. The intention behind this proposed budget cut reveals a government that has lost track of what it is that creates a truly great society – how we care for and nourish our young. To read further commentary on this issue please click here to read my last blog post on the subject.