(Click to read the blog on mother.ly)
As an anthropologist who studies human fatherhood at the University of Oxford, I’ve run up against a widespread and deeply ingrained belief among fathers: that because their bodies haven’t undergone the myriad biological changes associated with pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding, they’re not as biologically and psychologically “primed” for caretaking as women are.
As a result, they feel less confident and question their abilities to parent: Will they be “good” parents? Will they bond with their babies? How will they know what to do?
As my own personal and professional experiences dictate, the idea that fathers are biologically “less prepared” for parenthood is unlikely to be true. Much of the role of parenting is not instinctual for anyone. (I remember the steep learning curve of those first days of motherhood — learning what each of my baby’s cries meant, mastering the quick diaper change and juggling the enormous amount of equipment necessary just to make it out the door.)
And while the biological changes fathers undergo are not as well understood (nor as outwardly dramatic) as those of mothers, scientists are just beginning to find that both men and women undergo hormonal and brain changes that herald this key transition in a parent’s life.
In essence, being a dad is as biological a phenomenon as being a mom.
(click link at top to read on nytimes.com)
Mama, I see you crying in the shower.
I hear your thoughts as they mislead you into believing that you’re failing.
I sense your fear. Your worries. Your uncertainty.
Your overwhelm. Your grief. Your yearning for the life you’ve left behind.⠀
And I see something else.
I see you holding your baby as your tears fall.
(Click to read post on raisedgood.com)
I love my baby. But I was unprepared for how childbirth would change my body.
I thought I was pretty well prepared for the birth of my son. I had loads of friends with kids, I was an aunt, I’d attended a prenatal course, read (bits) of the many books recommended to me. And yet I discovered afterward that I was completely unprepared for the physical changes my body went through in pregnancy and the recovery that would follow. Obviously giving birth is one of the most extreme things your body can ever go through. So why was the aftermath also such a shock?
(Click link at top to read this op ed piece on nytimes.com)
**Trigger warning. Story includes mention of a 24-week loss.
Like new mother Jennifer Talesfore so eloquently details in her essay below, surrogacy is a practice often shrouded in mystery and judgement. We hope reading her touching personal narrative of love, loss, and hope brings a better understanding to the families going through the surrogacy process and other challenges along the path to parenthood. -KHZ
(Click link above to read this beautiful essay)
Imagine sitting up in your bed nursing your babe at 3 am. Quietly looking out the window, while your partner sleeps blissfully next to you. Your baby coos and finally drifts off to sleep. You gently place your sweet little baby in the bassinet next to the bed, simultaneously saying a prayer for a successful transfer. It worked! Now your eyes close. Dreams enter. And then, not five minutes later, baby cries and you do it all over again. Sound familiar?
How about this one? Home alone with your darling baby. You offer a bottle. Baby, with a full belly, spits up between your breasts all the way down to your elastic waistband and you realize that you are desperate for the shower that feels so far away.
I could create a million of these scenarios with a million variables. Older siblings, twins, single parents, visiting family, social pressures, public places, you name it.
As a parent, doula, educator and lactation support person, I hear and see new parents regularly with their shoulders hovering somewhere around ear height. If not fully at the end of their rope, they are darn close to it. And why? My guess is because we are constantly hammered with the idea that babies are more precious than their parents are. It’s simple really. We will suffer so our children don’t have to. Makes sense, right? They are just babies after all.
But by setting ourselves up in this way, we all suffer, babies too. In the short term and the long. And, you know what, we know this. We know that if we are going to take care of others we have to take care of ourselves as well. We know this because on airplanes, every single time the flight attendant tells us we have to put our own mask on first. It’s hard though, right? I mean, how can we put our mask on when we can’t even find it?
(Click link at top to read the rest of this guest post from the amazing Samantha Huggins, Carriage House Birth co-owner and certified intuitive birth doula.)
A conversation with Erica Chidi Cohen feels like one big pep talk. A doula, author and co-founder of LOOM (a education hub for pregnancy and parenting in L.A.), Erica has attended more than 300 births. “You’d think after so many years I’ve had my fill of babies,” she says. “But I’m always overwhelmed by the pure joy that fills the room. It’s a beautiful thing to watch a mother and child take each other in for the first time.” Her guidebook, Nurture, comes out tomorrow, and here Erica shares 10 things she tells new mothers…
Solid interview with my friend Erica Chidi Cohen. Click link at top to read on cupofjo.com, and order her book Nurture on amazon.com while you’re at it! 🙂