sábado, 12 de diciembre de 2009

The Community of Motherhood

This month what has most struck me is that women are talking about community. They are happy with their care, the one hour prenatals where we pick an issue and talk about it indepth; they like the library where they can browse or borrow a book; they like how their muscles feel after yoga class, but most of all, they LOVE their community.

Through the different spaces offered at Luna Maya- yoga, childbirth education, mother's group, workshops such as infant reflexology and just our physical space, women are talking, talking and talking. And through all that talking comes bonding. And it turns out that pregnant women, even though one may be indigenous and struggling to understand our imposed rituals, another may be mestiza and struggling to understand why a scheduled cesarean might not be the safest choice, and another may be a women's rights advocate who never really considered what might happen when a woman "chooses" motherhood- have a lot in common. Almost everything really.

What I most love to watch is how racial, economic, social and tribal lines that have divided us over centuries start to dissolve as the belly's stretch forward. It turns out that we are all secretly, or vocally, pretty scared of labor pain. It turns out that during pregnancy we all have a day where we feel that no one understands us, not even ourselves. And it turns out that when we sit in circle with other women in that same place, we don't feel as lonely anymore. And we aren't expected to fix it all by ourselves either.

Denying community to pregnancy is denying a basic physiological reality. Until recently babies were always born to a community. There was a tribe waiting on the other side of the woman's skin to welcome the baby in, teach important rituals, pass on tradition and name and honor the child. Nowadays we sometimes are lucky enough to be able to "hire" a doula- a surrogate sister who will walk us through the steps of the postpartum shadow until we know it won't go away and we know it is part of us. Nowadays women are tired and alone and drop their babies off at the day care "community" as quickly as possible. This is absurd. And its not community.

So, I've been thrilled to hear the women lingering, chatting, walking out together to get a coffee, or making plans to walk together. This is community. A community who cares that your baby was born and will hold you through it. Just as we can't expect women to birth alone, we can't expect women to mother alone.

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