These two words define and drive everything that Motherlove does, from their organic farm in Colorado, to their herbal care products, the educational classes taught by founder Kathryn Higgins, to the Nurturing Life Foundation, Motherlove’s non-profit which supports mothers and children all over the country. So it’s no surprise that Motherlove has had such a beautiful, long-standing relationship with The Leaky Boob, extending their support of mothers and children to our Leakies and their breastfeeding journey with their babies. The Motherlove website sums it up well:
What is Nurturing Life?
It is fostering an environment where development, growth, and health are encouraged, and doing so in each facet of our life, including each stage. True beauty can emerge in your life and others’ as you nurture life in yourself, your friendships, romantic relationship, through pregnancy, birth, in your relationship with your children, and more, and yes, even your garden.
“At Motherlove, we use Nurturing Life as our mission statement because nurturing moms and babies together is essential for both to thrive. During pregnancy, moms are reminded minute-by-minute of this relationship and we typically focus on our health and wellbeing because it’s tied to our child’s life.” (Nurturing Life – Self Care for Mothers, by Motherlove Herbal Company)
Last week we focused on the stage of life that creates new mothers: pregnancy. Ushering new life into the world is such a beautiful thing, but is often accompanied by challenges and changes. With the many changes and new sensations that new mothers experience, it can be such a natural time for her to focus on her health and well-being. But what happens once the baby is born?
It is so easy to think that, other than adjusting to caring for a new person in the family, everything else immediately returns to normal. But that is often not the reality of new mothers. The parts of their body involved in growing a baby do shift back toward the way they were, but some of them will remain forever altered. Others require a little patience and eventually some hard work, such as toning ab muscles to tighten the postpartum abdominal gap. But a new mother’s body isn’t done changing either: now that one set of hormones is subsiding, another floods her body as she produces milk to feed her new baby. We often treat birth as the end of the journey, where changes end and all is back to normal. But this far from the experience of most women.
Moreover, beyond stretch marks, curvier hips, extra baby weight, and lactating, there are other completely natural and normal challenges that new moms face. But very few like to talk about them, and so many moms don’t have the support that they need to welcome and experience the postpartum changes as they come. Instead, they are rushed back to work and/or housework, and they feel the unrealistic expectation that they just be “ok” because their beautiful new baby is there.
Postpartum depression doesn’t just go away because there is a new baby. Traumatic birth experiences aren’t healed by adorable baby sounds. Hemorrhoids don’t just disappear because a bundle of cuteness has been born. These and many more issues are considered too embarrassing or shameful to discuss, and many new mothers feel that they don’t have permission to take the time to find help. They must bounce back immediately, and so they hide their real struggles and end up struggling with self-loathing and depression much longer than necessary, if they ever recover at all. Silence is no healer. Stuffing feelings down and clamping a lid on them only serves to incubate them and grow them into much more serious issues.
Let’s talk about the empty womb, the sense of emptiness inside, the fears we have, the struggle to fall in love with our babies, the dislike of our bodies, the anger, the horrors of the birth experience, the dark thoughts, the painful hemorrhoids, along with the rest. These are the realities of postpartum, just as much as baby cuteness, breastfeeding, dirty diapers, and sleepless nights. You are not alone in dealing with these things. Look for understanding and information from those around you, from trusted online resources, and if you just can’t find the support and information you need in those places, get in touch with a professional who can.
And partners, friends, family members, neighbors, and co-workers who think new mothers should just get over whatever is bothering them, they are the ones who need to get over themselves and provide helpful support for the new mother. Nurture her so that she can feel free to nurture herself. Self-care is deeply impacted by those around us, either for better, or for worse. As a new mother adjusts to caring for another little person and her body heals from giving birth and keeps changing in the postpartum, how can we show her the kind of support that allows her to nurture life within herself so she can share that nurturing life with her baby and beyond from a place of health and well-being?
Good luck to everyone! Please use the widget below to be entered. The giveaway is open from August 1, 2014 through August 8, 2014. A big thanks to Motherlove for their ongoing support of TLB and all breastfeeding women; please be sure to visit their Facebook page or follow them on twitter and thank them for their support of TLB and this giveaway opportunity.
This giveaway is restricted to U.S. residents only.