The Birth of a Mother

Photography:Alexa Doula Photography

By Keturah Stoltenberg

It’s the moment that you’ve been waiting for… 

You fix your gaze on your baby for the very first time, feeling overcome with love and pride for this tiny human you have carried safely, kept warm and well fed.  
 
You can hardly believe that he (or she) is yours and the oxytocin rush is oh so sweet!  
You cannot imagine loving any human more in this moment! 

Or…. 

Maybe you DO NOT fall instantly in love.  

Perhaps you are so overwhelmed with physical and mental exhaustion that you do not feel ready to look at your baby let alone hold him.

Maybe you DO NOT fall instantly in love.  

The experience of giving birth, no matter how your baby is delivered, has been likened to multiple athletic marathons that we feel ill-prepared for, a relentless and gruelling level of energy output with no breaks, down or recovery time, and little recognition for maternal achievements that may leave you feeling vulnerable, confused, in shock, damaged or even broken. 

The feeling is real and overpowering! 

And then it sinks in… 

Who am I? Where is my place in this world now?  
I am a mother, what does that even mean for me?  
Is the woman that I was now lost to this new world of motherhood? 

Little acknowledgement is placed on the fact that with the growth and birth of this baby, or babies, another birth has taken place: the growth and Birth of a Mother. 

Who am I? Where is my place in this world now?

In many ancient cultures, motherhood is revered, not just seen as an event, but as a profound transformation. The traditions in these cultures around the world ensure that the new mother is allotted a period of confinement, not considered a luxury, but rather a necessity, in bringing that mother back to a place of recovery and wellbeing and honouring her contribution or place in the community.  

Sadly, the Western culture has long overlooked the Birth of a Mother.  

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