Shortly after bringing my twins home from the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit), I, like millions of women found that mothering was a combination of instinct and research. As an avid reader, I found that once I had newborns I was so sleep deprived that I could barely keep my eyes open long enough to crack a book or focus on a research paper. Instead I turned to the great cheat sheet: the world wide web.
After hopping from Facebook pages to forums to blogs that focused on gentle parenting, breastfeeding, pumping, mothering boys, parenting multiples, babywearing, attachment parenting, and so forth I came to a pretty shocking conclusion:
Moms can be mean! Like really REALLY mean!
Vaccinate or don’t vaccinate – epidural vs “natural” – bottle vs. breast. Every topic was controversial. Women were telling off women in the most colourful language, in many different languages.
Here I was a new and anxious mom seeking out advice, support and encouragement but I was met with criticism, accusations and even threats. Yuck, moms were not nice.
It was during those early months with my babies that I focused on creating my own support network.
Tired of the mommy wars, I created my own blogs and Facebook groups. In my groups bullies would not be tolerated, and every mother’s parenting philosophy would be her own. I also started my studies to becoming a birth and postpartum doula. I wanted be a positive source of information, support and encouragement to mothers.
As a birth & postpartum doula, I could be a trustworthy and vital person in my client’s support network.
Since the dawn of time mothers have raised their children in groups, in tribes and villages. It wasn’t until recently in North American society that we started to break off into smaller family units until far too many women were birthing their babies into a world with little or no support systems in place. Maybe their partner would be able to take a few days or weeks off work, or perhaps mothers and mother in laws lent a helping hand and a family member or friend pitched in here and there.
The majority of the time mom is alone – healing from birth and taking on the greatest challenge in life: raising a happy, healthy, competent and moral human being.
We know deep down that we need each other. This task is too great and too important to do alone. We are raising the next generation that will care for the world, this matters.
WE matter. We need support – we deserve support.
Sarah Baker is a the co-owner of Lifetime of Love Doula Services. She has been supporting families for almost a decade as a birth doula, postpartum & infant care doula and childbirth educator. She is mom to three boys, twins and a singleton.