(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)
Parents today have often been bombarded by other parents telling them the things they need to do to improve their child’s sleep. Often these things are based on cultural norms which inform on things like sleeping location, sleep training, feeding surrounding sleep, and so on. Many families end up worried they are doing something wrong because so many others tell them they are. They hear families telling them how happy they are and how much sleep they are getting and all these behaviours that felt so normal, so instinctive, and so right suddenly seem questionable.
The problem is that there are many scientifically-backed reasons to just flat-out ignore these families. So before you let one more person worry you, let’s look at why these people’s statements mean absolutely nothing.
(Click link above to read the rest on evolutionaryparenting.com)
Ahh, new motherhood. You go from dreaming of the day your baby will arrive to holding that tiny, wriggling bundle in your arms and thinking, “What the heck do I do now?” Hang tight, mamas! We’re here to help. We asked women to tell us one thing they wish they’d known when they first became a mommy. Read on for mom wisdom on sleep, self-care, getting perspective on those intense early days, and much more.
(click link at top to continue reading on redtri.com)
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.)